Basements tend to have a reputation for being musty and dank, especially if they are unfinished. But, this isn’t a good sign. Musty smells can be a sign of a leak or too much moisture in your basement. Here are a few more signs your basement has excess moisture:
1. High Humidistat Readings
A humidistat is a small device you can use to measure the level of humidity in your basement or other areas. It works like a thermostat, but measures the level of moisture in the air instead of temperature.
You can get a humidistat by itself. It’s also often built into portable humidifiers or air purifier/humidifier combination units. So, if you have a humidifier, you likely already have a humidistat. These devices tend to measure the air around them and may not necessarily represent the humidity level of the entire room, but they can be useful for getting an idea of how humid your basement is.
High humidistat readings can be one of the signs your basement has excess moisture. The recommended average humidity level within a home is ideally 30-50% and kept below 60%. A basement will likely be a little higher on that range naturally. However, if you start getting readings above that range, it’s a sign you may have excess moisture and is worth getting checked out to avoid bigger issues.
2. Signs of Mold
Where there is consistent moisture, there is often mold. One of the biggest signs your basement has excess moisture is visible mold or signs that you have mold behind the walls. If your basement has a musty or damp smell, this can be a sign that you have moisture damage, and potentially mold.
Visible signs of leaks or water damage along the walls and ceiling are more signs of excess moisture. Ignoring excess moisture or leaks is one of the ways you may be encouraging mold growth in your home. These visible signs of water damage or leaks are also warning signs of mold even if you don’t see visible spores yet. Peeling paint or wallpaper can indicate excess moisture.
In the basement, you may also see damp patches that start low on the wall and rise upwards. Wet spots on the floor or areas of tile, carpet, or vinyl that are loose or starting to lift up are also signs of moisture damage in your basement and can be signs that you have a mold problem or are starting to have a mold problem.
3. Too Much Condensation
Condensation usually shows up on windows. Some causes of window condensation are normal while others can be signs your basement has excess moisture. Usually, if you see a lot of condensation on the interior of your basement windows, it’s a sign that your basement has excess moisture. You may even have condensation on the walls of your basement.
This could be caused by poor insulation in your basement or poor installation of the window. It can also be a warning sign of a leak around the window or somewhere else in your basement. Either way, it’s a warning sign you should take seriously, and is one of the things homeowners should not delay fixing.
Efflorescence refers to salt deposits that form on the surface of a porous material like concrete, brick, stone, and more. It usually appears as dried white salt stains or lighter streaking along these materials and is a sign of excess moisture.
The salt deposits come from water that soaks through the materials, evaporates from the surface, and leaves the salt behind. Efflorescence can occur both outside and inside. If you see it in your basement, there are leaks and excess moisture somewhere.
5. Wood Rot
Another one of the big signs your basement has excess moisture and an urgent sign that you have a problem you need to get repaired is visible rot on any wood in your basement. Not only is wood rot a sign of water damage in your basement and a sign of a bigger problem, but it also often leads to structural issues if it’s not addressed.
These are some signs that your basement has excess moisture, and can indicate your basement is one of the ways you might be losing money on your energy bills. If you see them, it’s important to address the issues before they cause further damage to your home. If your basement is unfinished, you will want to address these issues regardless and especially before starting a basement remodeling project.
Although basements can have a dark, cold look and feel, they don’t have to. A properly finished basement can be a bright, warm space in your home and can help protect your home from water damage. If you have issues with your basement or want to have a finished basement in your home, contact Zephyr Thomas at 717-399-4708 to start your free quote!
Take a look at this timelapse video of the Zephyr Thomas team remodeling a basement!