Pro Tips if your basement is excessively humid Basements tend to keep more humidity than other areas of the house, making them damp, stinky, and mold-infested. However, what is humidity, why is it important, and what should you do if your basement is too humid?
Pro Tips if your basement is excessively humid
Humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapour in the air; the higher the humidity, the more moisture. If your basement is excessively humid, the air will feel heavier and the walls will feel damp to the touch.
Basement humidity is often the result of poor ventilation, with the outside temperature and humidity influencing the internal temperature and humidity. But why is this significant? According to the World Health Organization, between 10% and 50% of indoor spaces where people live and work are damp. This can promote the formation of mould, mildew, and other bacteria, causing health issues in children, the elderly, and people who already have respiratory disorders such as asthma.
So, what should you do if your basement is very humid? Investing in a dehumidifier to remove moisture and keeping excellent basement hygiene can both help.
So, you suspect your basement has a humidity problem, but how can you be sure? You could buy a combination thermometer with a humidity dial, but this will only give you a rough estimate. You’ll need a humidity sensor, which you can obtain at any hardware shop or online, to get reliable humidity measurements in your basement.
Hygrometers evaluate how comfortable a room is by measuring the relative humidity in the air – the amount of water in the atmosphere and the temperature. They provide a simple display of whether humidity levels are within a comfortable range, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is between 30 and 50 per cent, but this varies throughout the day and depending on the season and where you reside.
It’s critical to check and monitor humidity levels on a frequent basis; in the summer, the outside air is hotter and more humid, which can raise humidity levels to approximately 60%, but in the winter, the cold air outside can reduce humidity levels to between 25% and 40%. According to the International Journal of Biometeorology, this could have negative health consequences such as dry skin and greater susceptibility to respiratory illness.
Humidity has an impact on the health of the property and the people who live there, so investing in a dehumidifier can help you keep your basement at a comfortable and safe temperature.
“Professor Rajat Gupta, Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Climate Change at Oxford Brookes University, told Live Science that humidity in basements can be a problem for the building’s and residents’ health.
“Inadequate ventilation can produce high relative humidity, which can lead to moisture and mould, which is bad for the building fabric as well as the occupants.” Dehumidifiers can assist reduce relative humidity, but what’s really needed is adequate ventilation, preferably cross-ventilation.”
There are two primary types of dehumidifiers: refrigerant and desiccant. A refrigerant dehumidifier, which uses a fan to drive moisture-laden air across chilly evaporator coils to condense the moisture, is certainly something you’ve seen. The moisture is then channelled into an associated tank or down the drain. They’re great for homeowners because they work at room temperature, but they must be emptied on a regular basis.
Desiccant dehumidifiers circulate air through a chamber filled with water-absorbing gel packs, similar to the packets found in shoe boxes or damp traps. These dehumidifiers are often quieter and use less energy than refrigerant dehumidifiers, and its gel pack only needs to be replaced once it has become saturated.
Damp basement solutions
Clean and sanitize the basement
What else can you do if your basement is too humid? A dehumidifier is only one part of the solution. Because high humidity in basements is generally the consequence of poor insulation and inadequate ventilation, crack open those windows to allow fresh air to circulate and minimise humidity, as well as the risk of mould and mildew forming. If you notice any evidence of mould or mildew in your basement, it’s time to clean it thoroughly.
Fungus is likely to be the most common issue; the fungus will develop on anything that has been exposed to moisture. According to the CDC, it emits microscopic spores into the air that can cause sneezing, coughing, allergic reactions including itching eyes or skin, wheezing, and respiratory infections. If you’re exposed to it for a long time, it can cause serious health problems including asthma and allergies, as well as a weaker immune system.
Mold spores and bacteria can be a concern as well; dust mites cannot survive in low humidity, whereas bacteria flourish in damp environments. Spiders, insects, rodents, and snakes also enjoy wet environments, so keep your basement clean to avoid unwanted visitors and infection in your home.
You have the option of hiring professionals or tackling the problem yourself if you have a visible mould infestation. Wearing a protective mask that covers your nose and mouth, goggles, and rubber gloves are recommended by the WHO to avoid human exposure to minute mould spores. Chemical disinfectants and biocides should be avoided because they will not solve the problem and may cause more harm than good because of their toxicity.
So, if you fear your basement is excessively damp, get a hygrometer to track moisture levels in the air and a dehumidifier to dry it out. A thorough cleaning and frequent maintenance of your basement will help to prevent mould growth and unwanted guests.