Why Keep your Basement Dry

Not every basement is the most pleasant place to be but we can take steps to try and keep it a clean and dry.  Keeping a basement dry is important because if it becomes damp from flooding or moisture in the air, mold might develop that can potentially be dangerous for your families health.

The question is, “why else should I take the time keeping my basement dry?”

Here are some extra reasons on why you should keep your basement dry even if you don’t spend much time in your basement.

  • Your basement supports your home’s foundation.  A wet basement can form cracks and weaken the structure of your home.
  • Keeps your belongings safe. If you are like many people, you might use your basement to store some of your belongings, a wet basement that is prone to mold can make your things smell damp and “mildewy”.
  • A dry/clean basement increases the value of your home. A home inspector might see a damp basement as a “red flag” and might undervalue your home due to potential foundation damage from leaks or mold/mildew issues.

Some basements can be connected to the rest of the house through ductwork and other openings.  Depending on when your home was built, there are different systems contractors have used to keep a basement functional. Older homes built between 1920 and 1950 use Palmer valves (a one-way check valve), if your home has one of these, be sure to make sure the valve can open and close so that it can properly discharge water if your basement were to flood.  Homes built after 1950 use Sump Pumps which is a system that pumps water during heavy rainfalls to an underground sewer line or to the surface soil.

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Man working on a sump pump

Tips to keep your basement dry:

  • Check for water accumulating/pooling up around the foundation of your home, this water might end up leaking into the basement of your home.
  • Insulate cold water pipes to avoid condensation.
  • Install metal window wells covered with pebbles or gravel to prevent water retention and water leaking through the window frames.
    • Use high-quality water-resistant paint to prevent moisture/condensation on the walls of your basement.
  • Make sure your gutters are clean and the downspouts flow the excess water a safe distance away from your home.
  • If you have a bathroom in your basement, use an exhaust fan for better ventilation.
  • Run a dehumidifier to absorb excess moisture in the air, make sure that you empty the water reservoir on a regular basis for the best results.
  • If you have your washer and dryer in the basement, ensure the that the dryer vents the air outside and that there are no leaks in the washer.  If you air dry some of your clothes, it is best to air them in well-ventilated areas of your home or outside instead of your basement.
  • Seal concrete floors to create a moisture barrier between your basement and the elements.
  • Address any cracks in the basement walls as soon as possible.

Remember that, if you have a basement, it is an important part of your home to keep dry and crack free.