Basement Condensation: Causes, Solutions & Prevention

In this article, we’ll be discussing basement condensation solutions, as well as the causes and prevention.

Mold can grow in your basement if the environment is damp or retains excess moisture. And there are many means by which that could happen.

Among the many causes of basement moisture, includes hydrostatic pressure from groundwater and leaking pipes. But there’s one more reason, and that’s condensation!

Keep reading!

What Causes Condensation In Basement?

There are more than enough causes of condensation in a basement. But you may find yourself confused if you’ve never had to deal with it before.

It is important to know what causes the condensation in the first place, as this will help you figure out how to stop it from happening again.

That being said, let us take a look at some of the major reasons why you’re experiencing basement condensation.

  1. Non-Insulated Cold Water Pipes

One of the most common reasons for basement condensation in American homes is the exposure of cold water pipes to the air.

The problem with having uninsulated cold water pipes is that they can freeze the air in the room, hence increasing room humidity.

If the humidity levels in the room get to a100%, the excess moisture will transform into water droplets on the pipes.

The good news is that proper insulation can keep this from happening. This is because the insulation will absorb all the chilly air, and reduce the humidity problems in the room.

Once there is limited moisture in the air, condensation into water droplets cannot take place.

With this in mind, it should come as a no-brainer that using a dehumidifier to reduce room humidity is a great step to take.

Insulating your water pipes is also a step in the right direction, as this would ensure that the outer parts of your cold water pipes do not condense.

  1. Cracks in the Walls or Windows

Since your basement is positioned below the ground, it means it will attract a lot of groundwater. These waters can come as a result of heavy rainfall or melted snow.

As we all know, water is always flowing in sloppy directions, and this means groundwater can move towards your basement walls and windows.

If there are cracks in your windows, then water can pass through and settle inside the basement.

You may think small cracks aren’t spacious enough for water to pass through, but you’re wrong. Water can pass through even the tiniest cracks, it doesn’t matter how small. As long as there is a space, then water will pass.

The same can be said of the cracks and leaks in your basement walls. Water can also seep through and rest in the basement.

Where there are cracks, there will be water seepage, and when there is water seepage, there will be moisture, which can also lead to condensation.

  1. Ventilating With Humid Air

Another reason there is condensation in your basement is ventilating with “wet” air.

Don’t get it twisted, ventilation is good for keeping moisture out of your basement, but only when you’re ventilating with dry air.

When humid air comes into a cool basement, the moisture will turn into droplets and settle on the basement walls, floors, and furniture.

Always keep your basement windows closed if you notice that the air outside is too humid.

  1. Poor Drainage

Without moisture, there won’t be any condensation. And one of the factors that can keep your basement constantly moist is a poor drainage system.

A perfectly working drainage system should channel water away from unwanted areas, the drain, and the main sewer system.

On the flip side, a poor drainage system does not channel water to the main sewer system. This could mainly be attributed to clogs, which won’t allow water to flow away smoothly.

If water cannot pass through the drains, it will flow out and begin to find other areas to flow to. One of those areas in your basement.

Once again, condensation is only possible where there is moisture. So if your drains cannot keep the water out of your basement, then you’ll surely experience some condensation.

  1. You Don’t Have A Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are built to control humidity levels in a room or space. With this device, you can keep humidity levels low enough so there’d be no chance of condensation.

The recommended levels are just below 60%.

If you don’t have a dehumidifier, then you can visit a home improvement store near you and buy one.

Why Is Basement Condensation A Problem?

Condensation doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, and that’s why so many homeowners don’t feel bothered by it. However, it can cause you serious headaches in the short and long term.

Below are some of the major reasons why basement condensation is a problem.

  • Mold and mildew
  • An incentive for pests
  • Bad smells
  • Rotting woodwork

Let’s expand more on these problems.

Mold and mildew: Mold thrives in moist or damp environments, and a basement that experiences regular condensation will be a good fit.

The problem with mold is that they are harmful to human health. Toxigenic and allergenic mold can lead to lung infections and allergic irritations.

Don’t forget that mold spores are flying around everywhere, and if they find your basement ideal for breeding, they will keep growing their colonies there.

Besides being a health hazard, mold growth makes your basement look ugly. They also carry a terrible musty smell which will make the basement less attractive to stay.

However, a basement that is free of condensation will not have

An incentive for pests: When there is condensation in your basement, there will be mold, and when there is mold, there will be an ideal environment for small pest animals to invade and feel at home.

Insect bugs like cockroaches are also attracted to moisture, so they would be more than happy to visit if your basement offers them the kind of moist living conditions they love.

Other insect pests that love damp environments include –

  • Spiders
  • Water bugs
  • Ants
  • Mosquitoes

You don’t want pests like these crawling all over your basement, do you?

Bad smells: This may not be as serious as the toxins produced by mold, or the invasion of pest insects, but still, no one wants to be in a room that smells awful.

When there is condensation in your basement, the water droplets will settle on your woodwork, clothes, cushions, and carpet.

Of course, when these items are damp, they produce an unattractive odor. And this will make living in the basement less enjoyable.

Rotting woodwork: Another problem you could face as a result of basement condensation is deteriorating woodwork.

When water constantly soaks up your wooden doorposts, window frames, shelves, and cupboards, then they will begin to rot over time.

The damage may happen slowly but will become very obvious in less than a year.

Another problem with damp furniture is the growth of mold. Don’t assume mold only grows on basement walls, floors, and ceilings. They can grow on woodwork too!

In fact, too much condensation can cause mold to grow on other items, especially the ones that have cellulose in them. These could be your clothes, shoes, carpets, bags, and leather jackets.

With all the reasons listed above, you would surely agree that basement condensation is indeed a problem!

How To Prevent Basement Condensation

Fixing basement condensation goes beyond using a dry cloth and wiping off the moisture. You need to take more thorough steps to fix the problem.

Here are a few things you can do to prevent basement condensation.

  1. Don’t ventilate with humid air

You don’t want air coming into your basement when it is humid. This is because humid air carries moisture, and when it comes into your basement it will condense and the water droplets will settle right inside.

If you notice the air outside is humid, shut the windows to keep the humid air from coming in.

  1. Buy a dehumidifier

With your dehumidifier keeping humidity levels at 50% or less, there will be fewer condensation chances.

You don’t have a dehumidifier? Simply visit the local home improvement store and buy one.

  1. Insulate your water pipes and HVAC ducts

Looking for how to prevent condensation on basement walls? Insulate your water drainage.

Your pipes and HVAC system can contribute greatly to condensation if they aren’t well insulated.

You can hire a plumber to come over and insulate them for you.

  1. Fix all water problems at home

One of the best ways to stop condensation in your basement is to tackle all the existing water problems you have at home.

Ensure that your pipes aren’t busted and that your drains are flowing smoothly. You can also redo your landscape if it is tilted towards your home.

Ensure the slope helps to guide water away from the foundation and into the main sewer system.

Conclusion

There you have it guys, all you need to know about basement condensation.

Be sure to follow the steps above to fix condensation problems and stop them from reoccurring.

Thanks for reading!

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