Estimates claim more than 60 percent of all homes in the United States have a wet basement; so if yours is, you are certainly not alone. If your basement has finished living space you are dealing with more than just dampness since moisture will can ruin carpet, drywall and framing and also causes mold to grow. In houses with extreme moisture problems in the basement, hardwood flooring in the living space above can also absorb the moisture and buckle.
Water drops, spots or puddles on the basement floor are a good indication of condensation in your basement. When warm air hits the cold, or even cool, foundation walls or cold-water pipes that are not insulated, condensation forms and the water collects. The musty odor found in some basements is often a result of condensation but in crawl spaces, the damage is typically more severe than an odor, as condensation promotes wood rot, increases the presence of insects and may cause wood floor structures to buckle and rot.
If you think the moisture in your basement is from condensation, a simple test with aluminum foil will help you find out. Tape a piece of aluminum foil over the spots where the condensation may be occurring. Leave the foil in place overnight and if when you return the following day there is moisture on the top side of the foil, it is indeed condensation. If however, the topside of the foil is dry but water is underneath, then the water is coming in from the ground rather than from the air.
Drying out a basement is not always simple; it may require professional assistance, but you can try these tips before calling in the experts. Open the windows and run fans in the basement to keep air circulating which will dry it out faster. If you do not already have a dehumidifier operating in the basement, purchase one. A heavy-duty dehumidifier removes up to 50 pints of water from the air in a 24-hour period; some skeptics claim a dehumidifier only makes the problem worse. Moisture is transferred from areas of high humidity to those of low humidity, so in theory a dehumidifier would only make a moisture problem worse. However, in reality, even if the moisture content increases by 20 percent the dehumidifier will remove it without problem.
For more information or assistance with reducing the moisture in your basement, contact Basement Waterproofing Nationwide. BWN has been helping residential and commercial customers in Maryland, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware solve their wet basement problems for nearly 20 years.