Ways to Make a Basement Less Damp

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Basements often have a reputation for being damp, dank spaces. However, homeowners often go to the trouble of having their basement finished so it can provide additional living space. When dampness issues arise in a finished basement, they can cause a variety of problems, such as damaged flooring, peeling wallpaper and stained ceilings. Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with moisture problems in your basement so you can make the space less damp and more comfortable for your family.

Run a Dehumidifier

  • One of the simplest ways to get rid of dampness in a basement is to reduce its humidity. In particular, when the humidity rises outside during the summer months, your basement can become extremely humid, and moisture can build up. Using a dehumidifier, which removes moisture from the air, can help reduce the condensation that occurs on basement surfaces and eliminate the damp feeling in the space. Dehumidifiers vary in price, but you should be able to find a model that fits your budget at your local home goods or mass merchandise store. A dehumidifier can work even more effectively in your basement if your air ducts are properly sealed so the amount of humid air that enters the basement from outside is limited.

Repair Leaks

  • In addition to humidity, various types of water leaks can leave you with a damp basement. To reduce its dampness, find the source of any leaks and work to repair them. If you observe puddles on your basement floor after it rains, your foundation probably has a leak. Reposition your rain gutters so runoff from the roof is directed away from your home's foundation. The ground around your foundation should be sloped to produce better drainage as well, so regrade the ground to create a slope, if necessary. However, if you observe water stains on your basement ceiling and walls, you may have a plumbing leak that originates in a water pipe, shower, tub or toilet. Contact a plumber to identify the issue and repair the leak.

Protect Basement Windows

  • During heavy rainstorms, your basement window may allow water to leak in if they are not covered in some way. To prevent seepage, make sure any basement windows that are below-grade are outfitted with masonry or metal window wells. The wells should have gravel in the bottom to provide effective drainage. You can also purchase plastic domes to cover your basement window wells so water cannot leak inside.

Check Dryer Venting

  • If you have a dryer in your basement that is not properly vented, humidity can build up in the basement. The venting must be set up so it goes outside. Examine the venting duct and verify that it is securely connected to the dyer. Inspect the duct for any blockages, such as lint, and remove them if necessary. To prevent obstructions in the vent, clean it annually. Metal venting ducts are usually the most airtight, so consider replacing your vent if it is made of flexible plastic or foil.

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