Dangers of a Damp Basement

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 by Bix Basement Systems

Dangers of a Damp Basement

Homeowners are often concerned with preventing a flooded basement – and with good reason.  Recovering from a flooded basement is an arduous process that means finding and fixing the cause, throwing out damaged belongings, drying the basement out completely to prevent mold growth, and then replacing and putting everything back.  Even if the area is unfinished, you still have to get the water out and make sure the area is completely dry.


But it is far more common for basements to have moisture problems that are less obvious, and are therefore often ignored or overlooked. A damp basement is more than just a minor annoyance. Whether the basement is a finished living space, unfinished and used for storage, or simply a crawl space, excessive moisture canlead to mold, mildew, or other biological growth that may cause a variety of health issues.  In more severe cases, conditions can lead to rot and structural damage.  And unlike a flooded basement, the damage from moisture usually occurs over a longer period of time.


Because basements are under the ground level, they will naturally have more moisture than the upper levels of a home.   So how do you know if you have a moisture problem?  Here are some obvious signs:

  • An unpleasant, musty odor and the feeling of very damp, humid air.
  • A ring of dampness around the bottom of concrete block walls.
  • Seepage during periods of heavy rain or water that trickles out of the walls or floor.
  • Condensation on surfaces


If you suspect that you have a moisture problem, then it is imperative to solve it.


The first thing is to identify the source, which may require a bit of detective work.  Water can seep into your house from the outside through a leak in the foundation, or small gaps around windows or doors. Water can also come from inside your house from a leaking water pipe, toilet, shower or bathtub. High indoor humidity caused by normal activities such as showering, cooking, and drying clothes, can also be a source of the problem. A damp basement is commonly caused by moisture migrating through a concrete foundation. There may not be a sign of any leak or standing water, but the moisture evaporates, increasing indoor humidity.


Depending on the severity of the problem, corrective action can be as easy as using a dehumidifier, or as complex as repairing the foundation of your home.


 If you have standing water after a heavy rain then it is likely from a leak in the foundation.  To try solving this yourself, clean out gutters and redirect downspout runoff away from the foundation.  If you have a sump pump, make sure it is working properly. Water stains on the ceiling or wall could be a leak from a water pipe, toilet, bathtub or shower. Hire a professional to repair the leak and make sure that there isn’t any mold growth.


If the problem is due to indoor humidity, make sure there are adequate ventilation fans in kitchens and baths that vent directly outside. In some cases the fan may have been installed to vent into the attic or they may have become disconnected or blocked. Your clothes dryer should be vented directly to the outside and free from any obstructions or holes.  Moisture problems caused by high humidity can often be fixed by simply using a dehumidifier that is adequate for the space.


If simple remedies don’t solve the problem then it’s time to call in the pros. Snow and ice can cause damage that may not be noticed until spring. There are many different methods of  waterproofing  that will provide a permanent solution so you can be assured of staying warm and dry no matter what the season.


For more information on “All Things Basementy”, you may contact Bix Basement Systems at 309-807-4348 or visit them online at www.bixbasementssystems.com.   

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Our Locations:

Bix Basement Systems
2140 330th Avenue
Fort Madison, IA 52627

Bix Basement Systems
8910 N. Industrial Rd.
Peoria, IL 61615
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