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If your basement has flooded or acquired moisture from the environment, here are some tips for drying it out and restoring order.
A wet basement can be a disaster, especially if your basement includes finished living space. From moldy drywall to ruined furniture, rainfall and melting snow can cause expensive damage. However, very wet basements aren't without hope. Follow these steps to eliminate wetness in your basement.
First, determine which problem is plaguing your basement: condensation or runoff.
If you don’t have flows of water after rain or snowfall, but you keep finding damp spots in your basement, the problem is condensation. Condensation collects in your basement as droplets on any surface when humid air is in contact with it.
Condensation problems are usually easier to fix than leaks. One common basement culprit is a clothes dryer. If your dryer is causing the condensation in your basement, make sure the dryer vent doesn't leak and that it's set to vent outdoors.
Also check the drain line that removes water from the indoor part of a central air conditioning system or high-efficiency furnace. If these lines are clogged, they might cause condensation.
You can air out the basement by opening windows and running fans to circulate the air. You can also try turning up the heat in the basement, as warmer air will prevent moisture from condensing on cool surfaces. Another solution is to use a dehumidifier in your basement. These are affordable, easy to use and can help you dry out moist air with minimal effort on your part.
If your basement is wettest after a rain or snowfall, chances are you’re dealing with runoff. Runoff happens when water comes through cracks in walls or porous stone.
To rectify runoff issues in your basement, look for places around your foundation where runoff can enter. Your landscape should slope away from the house. If there are places where it slopes toward your home, consider having it graded away. Also look for unsealed cracks on the driveway, which can direct water below the grade of your landscaping.
To fix runoff problems, try patching cracks in the foundation and sealing basement walls using masonry caulk. Patch cracks in the driveway using a patching compound, and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure gutters are clean and properly draining to prevent overflow, and take care of any landscaping grade issues.
If you realize that neither condensation nor runoff is responsible for moisture in your basement, consider calling a professional for help or installing an interior gutter to collect water and route it to a floor drain or sump pump.