This guide would focus on how to keep basements dry, including ways to reduce humidity without using dehumidifiers.
When the April rains approach, most homeowners gear up to face the battle of keeping their basements dry. Going by recent research, around 60% of homes in America have damp basements.
This figure shows just how common wet basements are in this part of the world. But just because a problem is common, doesn’t mean it isn’t serious.
Besides making your basement look unpleasant, moisture can cause mold growth, which can spike already-existing health problems like asthma. Wetness can also compromise the integrity of your structure and make it unsafe to reside in.
That being said, it is without a doubt that keeping your basement dry is important. We don’t want water to stop existing because without it there would be no life. But it would be nice if it stays out of our basement.
In this article, we’ll be giving you vital tips on how to keep your basement dry. All you have to do is keep reading!
How To Get Rid Of Humidity In Basement Without Dehumidifier
Dealing with basement moisture can be really stressful for homeowners, especially for those that live in humid areas.
One of the tools that have been commonly used to handle basement humidity is a dehumidifier. It can be used to regulate indoor humidity to acceptable levels.
Typically, humidity levels above 60% are seen to be too high and can leave your basement walls and furniture damp. This in turn will lead to mold growth, which messes up your basement’s aesthetics and causes health problems.
With a dehumidifier, you can keep basement humidity levels to 50% and below. It is a known fact that this device works very well in keeping the air around the basement dry, but is that the only way?
The answer to that is no, as there are other alternatives to basement dehumidifiers. If for some reason you don’t have or plan to use a dehumidifier in your basement, then there is a section in this article for you.
Knowing The Source Of Wetness
One vital part of keeping a dry basement is identifying the sources from which water enters. Don’t assume that rain is the only cause of wet basements because there are others. Melted snow can also be held responsible.
Among other causes of wet basements are sub-surface seeping, condensation, humidity, poor ventilation, and the dreaded leaking pipes.
Musty smells usually accompany dampness in the basement, so if you perceive it then you can be sure that there’s some moisture somewhere in there. Cracks in your masonry are also a sign of unwanted water activity.
To be sure, you need to carry out some investigations to determine the true source of the water. You may not be able to do this on your own, but many professionals would be glad to help.
If you’re among the lucky 40% who don’t have wet basements, then you should take preventive measures, because water does not discriminate, and it could be your turn one day!
Let’s discuss how you can ensure your basement stays dry throughout the year.
Dry Basement Solutions
Using, several basement dry systems, you can keep your space free of water and moisture as a whole. You can carry out most of these approaches on your own, or hire a contractor to deal with flooding issues.
If you have no experience in dry basement solutions, then the second option is your best bet. You may be a DIY person, but without adequate experience, you may not get the desired results.
Follow these steps to keep your basement free of moisture.
Insulate The Water Pipes
Insulating the water pipes in your basement is a good step to take if you want to keep them dry.
If you do this with your hot water pipes, you will not only help keep the basement dry, you will also conserve some energy by taking some of the workload away from the water heater.
Insulating the cold water pipes is important too. This is because it stops it from freezing stiff when the temperatures are extremely low.
Insulation also slows down condensation along the pipes in times of high humidity. Don’t forget that the basement is probably the most humid area in your home, and cold water pipes tend to “sweat” when there is an increase in humidity.
The worst thing about such a situation isn’t just the dampness, the dark and enclosed areas are perfect for hazardous mold to grow. This is a big health concern for the residents of your home.
Ensure That Your Landscaping Isn’t Tilting Towards The Foundation
Another important aspect of keeping your basement dry is to have a leveled landscape. If your landscaping slopes towards your home’s foundation, then you can be sure there will be a build-up of water there.
Water will always flow to the deepest ends of any surface, so there would be a problem if your landscaping is tilted towards your house.
When it rains, observe the direction where water flows and lodges. If it gathers around your foundation, then you need to do some work on your landscape.
Hire a good landscaping contractor to get the job done. The slope should be tilted away from your building and not towards it. At worst it should be leveled so there will be an even distribution of water around the yard.
An extra tip is to pad the perimeter of your foundation with small rocks or pebbles as they are good moisture absorbers. This will help reduce the amount of water that eventually passes through to the basement.
Improve Ventilation Around The Basement To Reduce Humidity
When the humidity around your basement becomes excessive, that’s when you’ll find mold growth. Luckily, humidity can be easily controlled with the use of a dehumidifier.
You can as well double up with an exhaust fan to boost ventilation around the basement. You should also ensure that your clothes dryer is venting air outside effectively.
If your basement doesn’t have a window, building one would be a good idea. Open windows allow some much-needed air and sunlight to come in, hence reducing dampness.
Waterproof The Basement Walls And Floors
Looking for the best way to keep a basement dry? Waterproofing.
Some people use their basements as living space, which means there’ll be some furniture inside. If you want them to remain fresh and dry, then you should waterproof the basement floors and walls.
You can use one of several types of waterproof sealants to do this. These protective materials keep water from seeping through the surfaces and into the basement.
Use thick coats of waterproof paint on the walls to reduce condensation. Painting is something you can do all by yourself, so you can save some money on labor charges.
For minor cracks in the basement floor, there are different types of waterproof crack sealants or hydraulic cement you can use to patch up. These materials dry up very well and do a very good job of preventing water from coming through.
In a case where the cracks are heaving, you would need the help of a professional contractor. Heaves could mean serious damage to your foundation and should be treated with urgency.
Make Sure The Gutters And Downspouts Are In Good Working Condition
Your gutters and downspouts are key components of your drainage system, and they should be in prime condition at all times if you want to keep your basement dry.
A good drainage system should be able to channel water away from the foundation. Ensure you carry out regular checks on the gutters and downspouts to spot any accumulation of debris.
Keep them clean at all times so that rainwater or melted snow can freely flow away from your foundation and basement.
The downspout extensions can keep volumes of water from lodging in unwanted places and is a good backup if your landscape slopes towards your home.
Install a Sump Pump To Help Keep Your Basement Dry
A sump pump is a very common device that is used in keeping basements dry. It isn’t expensive, and it’s very easy to install.
Regardless of whether you use your basement as a living or storage space, sump pumps help to prevent basement flooding, thereby keeping your belongings safe.
The sump pump should be installed inside a sump pit or small basin. When water gathers at this low end, the sump will pump it away from your home and keep the basement dry.
With a sump pump, not only will the comfort of the basement be maximized, but the safety of your property will also be ensured. That’s not all, there will also be a reduction in the possibility of mold build-up.
Fix Leaking Pipes
Leaking pipes remain one of the most common causes of wet basements. If you notice water soaking up the walls or floors, then a wall or underground pipe may be busted.
If there is a sink in the basement, look under it to see if that’s where the leakage is coming from.
In a case where the leaking pipe is buried underneath a concrete surface, then some digging will be required to fix it.
You may need to hire some help for this, especially if you don’t have any plumbing experience. A lack of know-how could cause you to make many mistakes, including damaging more pipes and worsening the leakage.
It would be wise to replace the damaged metal pipes with the ones made of plastic. Metal can corrode, but plastic will not, which is why it is by far the better replacement option.
This is one fix on how to keep a basement dry in summer.
How To Keep Basement Dry Without Dehumidifier
Let us take a look at how to keep your basement dry without a dehumidifier.
How can I get the moisture out of my basement without a dehumidifier?
One of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to keep your basement dry without the use of a dehumidifier is to properly ventilate the area.
This is as simple as opening your basement windows and allowing fresh air to come in.
Keep in mind though – You must not ventilate with wet humid air. If you do, the wet air will condense once it enters your cool basement and turns into water droplets.
Only ventilate when the air is dry!
Use crystal salt as a desiccant to absorb moisture
There are several moisture-absorbing products out there, and crystal salt is one of them. This material can be used to suck moisture out of the air where there is no dehumidifier.
All you need to do is set the crystal salt in a bowl, then place it in the area where you want to reduce humidity. It can last for a few weeks to a few months, sucking up moisture in the process.
After it has outlived its use, you will need to throw away all the moisture that has been stored in the bowl, then replace the old crystal salt with a new batch.
Use charcoal as a desiccant to absorb moisture
Charcoal can work just like crystal salt when it comes to absorbing moisture from your basement. It works even better when the charcoal is freshly pulled out of an open kiln.
Fresh charcoal doesn’t have any moisture in it, which makes it the right candidate for moisture removal. Its lack of moisture also means it can suck up more moisture than old charcoal.
All you need to do is set a bowl filled with fresh charcoal in the areas of high humidity then let nature do the rest.
You will find this to be a very effective and inexpensive method of humidity control.
Use silica gel
Silica gel can also work wonders when it comes to moisture removal, but it can be dangerous so you have to be cautious as you use it. Be sure to keep them out of reach of kids and pets.
To use silica gel to reduce humidity, simply grab some bags of it and place them in the damp areas of your basement. It will begin to suck up the moisture immediately.
Install a fan
Ventilation is a great way to keep your basement free of moisture, but adding a fan to the mix will give you better results.
If you don’t already have a fan in your basement, then buy and install one today. You can leave it on for as long as the room is humid.
A ceiling fan mounted in the center is highly recommended in this case, as rotating standing fans cannot cover the full diameter of the basement. The ceiling fan can evenly distribute the breeze and dry every area of the basement at the same time.
Fans are not expensive and can be bought at any home improvement store.
Vent the steam to the outside
Venting the steam to the outside of the basement is another tactic you can use to keep your basement dry. Consider it a small, low-budget investment that will keep you comfortable and spare you from moisture problems in the future.
Keep in mind that if the steam is vented inside, it would mean excess condensation when it cools off. This will affect your basement walls, ceiling, and floors.
This will lead to the formation of mold and efflorescence, which you will still have to take care of sooner or later.
Spread wet clothes outside
If you do your laundry in the basement, then it would be wise to spread them out in the sun when you’re done washing.
If you leave your wet clothes to dry indoors, it means the moisture that escapes from your clothes will land on another area of the basement. It could be the walls, couch, woodwork, or carpet.
Another advantage of drying your wet clothes outside is that your dryer will not be overworked. This means you will not only be extending the lifespan of the dryer, but you’ll also be cutting down on electricity bills as well.
Lastly, drying your wet clothes in the sun is a good way to sterilize them from germs or fungi.
Always keep the air conditioning on
Once you have figured out the room temperature that is right for you, you can set your AC to that temperature and let it run for a few hours. If possible, leave it on for a whole day.
A properly sized AC will have a decent cycle time, which means it is built to be used frequently and dehumidify your basement.
Take Cool showers
If you must take a hot shower, then do so in a bathroom outside the basement. Why you may ask? I’ll tell you.
When you take a hot shower, the hot water produces steam, which will be released into the air, cool off, and fall as water droplets. If you were to take a hot shower in the basement, the steam would condense right there, and all the water droplets will fall on your carpet, basement walls, and furniture.
Obviously, this won’t keep your basement dry. But cool showers will.
There is no steamy water produced when you take a nice cold shower so there will be no condensation to worry about. If you find that the water is too cold, you can heat it slightly to a temperature that is just right for you, but it must not be hot.
If it is totally unavoidable that you take a hot shower in the basement, then make sure you do it fast. Once you’re done, ensure that you turn on the fans and open up the basement windows to dry up the soon-to-be condensed steam.
It would be nice if you set a bowl of crystal salt near the shower area to absorb moisture too.
Close the cooking pot/pan while cooking on the stove
As you prepare that special dish of yours, ensure that the cooking pot or pan is closed. If you leave it open, all the steam from the food will be released into the air, and it will eventually condense and turn into water droplets.
Steam can stay in the air, but water droplets cannot do so once they are condensed. This means the droplets will land on any part of the basement where it cools off.
If the cooking pot is closed, all the steam will be trapped inside, and all the condemnation moisture will start to appear by the underside of the lid as you open it.
You can dispose of the condensed water after you are done cooking. Simply flip the lid upside down when opening so the condensed water doesn’t spill on the floor, then carefully move towards the sink area and dump it in.
An extra tip here is to leave the vent hood on as you cook. By doing so, you are expelling any steam that is escaping from the pot.
When you keep your basement dry, it will serve its purpose a whole lot better.
If you’re using it for storage, then you can be confident that your valuables won’t be soaked by a flood. The same goes for if it serves as a living space, your furniture will be spared from getting soaked and damaged.
Basement humidity can be a recurring problem for homeowners, especially those who live in humid areas. And one of the most commonly used devices in fighting basement humidity is a dehumidifier.
However, If you’re the type that doesn’t fancy using that many gadgets, then you can follow the steps in this article to help you get rid of humidity and keep your basement dry.
Remember to ventilate with dry air only, as wet air will only condense and leave moisture all over your basement. Don’t forget to keep steam away, which means zero hot baths and sealed pots while cooking.
Adding a fan and some crystal salt (or charcoal) will also help eliminate moisture. And while all these approaches are great, it would still be a good idea to buy a dehumidifier as added support!
So, guys, that’s how to keep your basement dry without a dehumidifier.
Thanks for reading!
Follow the tips in this article to keep your basement dry, and call on a professional if you need any help.
Thanks for reading!