Leaky And Wet Basements: A Disaster In The Making

leaky basementLeaky and wet basements pose a threat to home and health. A source of perpetual moisture just beneath your living spaces, a chronically wet basement creates issues that—unfortunately—don’t stay down in the basement. Deterioration from chronic basement moisture compromises the structural integrity of the house. Critical whole-house systems such as HVAC and electrical located in the basement are also vulnerable to water damage. Leaky and wet basements provide an ideal environment for toxic mold growth that spreads contamination throughout the entire home.

Moisture accumulation in a basement generally results from one or more of these sources:

  • Ground water rising or outdoor rainwater seeping downward into the basement.
  • High levels of indoor water vapor caused by an unvented clothes dryer, a bathroom and/or kitchen added to the basement and even residual moisture contained within the concrete foundation and walls that gradually weeps into the basement.
  • Dripping condensation as humid air condenses on cooler basement fixtures, particularly plumbing pipes typically routed there.

To mitigate basement moisture sources, several alternatives—often in combination—must be considered:

  • Where a high water table is pushing water up through the foundation, install a sump pump in the basement floor. If soaking outdoor rain is penetrating basement walls, verify that the landscape gradient diverts water away from the home. Make sure roof gutters aren’t clogged and downspouts discharge water at least four feet from the house. Installation of a french drain in the ground around the perimeter of the foundation also conveys soaking water away from the house.
  • Remove accumulating water vapor from the basement by installing exhaust fans that move moist air outdoors. Vent any appliances such as dryers or stoves.
  • Reduce basement condensation by installing slip-on foam pipe insulation on exposed water lines. Consider using a dehumidifier to continuously dry basement air.
  • Where toxic mold growth is suspected, get an inspection by a certified mold remediation professional to verify the presence of mold and specialized treatment to locate and neutralize active growing mold.

For more information about dealing with the causes and consequences of leaky and wet basements, contact Rytech, Inc.


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