Basement Humidity: Definitive Guide January 30, 2019 – Posted in: Blog
The humidity in your basement should not be too high nor too low because both have certain consequences that may affect your health and well-being. Basically, high basement humidity levels are caused by poor insulation. If there are large differences between the outdoor and indoor temperature levels, it may also be a cause of excess humidity. A leak in exhaust vents may also be a factor as well as malfunctioning gutter spouts or a sump pump. You also have to check your ceiling every now and then to see if there are signs of leaking pipes. They can add moisture to your basement and may also cause damages to other parts of your home.
Apparently, the humidity level in the basement should always be checked and assessed to prevent possible damages. If your basement’s humidity level is too low, it may affect your health and cause bloody noses and dried sinuses. Worse, it can lead to more serious respiratory problems like asthma. Poor humidity can also cause the chapping of skin and other skin problems.
What’s most troubling about having improper basement humidity levels is the possible occurrence of mold. When your basement is damp, it will not only smell bad but it will also be prone to fungal, mildew and mold growth. Mold can damage concrete and wood which can have a serious impact on your health. A specific variety of mold which is called “black mold” may even cause death so you really have to check every corner of your house for potential damages. Apart from molds, you also have to worry about the growth of termites which can damage your properties as well as your condition. This is why the humidity level for the basement should always be included in your priorities when trying to take care of your home.
Basement Humidity Levels
“What is a good humidity level for a basement?” A lot of people ask this question as this is a serious matter that can help them prevent damages in their basement. Normally, your basement serves as storage, recreational or living space and sometimes, a wine cellar. This is why the proper humidity level for the basement will depend on the purpose of the basement. Understanding the basement humidity range will help you know the optimal basement humidity level for your home.
Ideal Humidity Level for Basement
Generally, the normal humidity level for the basement is 30-50 percent. Whether your business is finished or unfinished, it is still best to maintain this humidity range to reduce or prevent harmful bacteria from growing in your home. You can monitor and pre-set the humidity levels of your basement by using the built-in humidistat in your basement dehumidifier. It measures the amount of air moisture inside your house and you can run this device whenever you think you need it.
Nonetheless, the recommended humidity level for the basement varies in different locations. What is normal to a certain place may not be ideal for another location. In some regions, people don’t often have problems controlling their basement humidity level while other areas may suffer a lot from high humidity depending on certain weather conditions. High areas are likely to experience high humidity especially if they often get rain. This is why every homeowner should know what should the humidity level be in a basement.
Apart from dehumidifiers, you can also use a hygrometer to the measure humidity level of your basement. This device resembles a thermometer and is known as a helpful tool in controlling humidity levels and preventing damages in your basement. It can also help you determine the safe humidity level for the basement. If the humidity level in your hygrometer shows it is over 50 percent, stay calm and check for consistency. If the reading remains high, you need to take the necessary steps to prevent serious problems.
While the effect of seasons is an obvious factor that determines the good humidity level for a basement, it is also worth noting that the human factor can also cause changes in humidity. Almost everything in our home involves energy use and surprisingly, even breathing affects the humidity levels, which also changes the recommended humidity level in the basement. A lot of activities at home can affect the basement humidity level summer of our homes such as cooking, showering, doing the laundry and washing the dishes. When the air gets warm, it absorbs moisture which also increases the humidity level. This is why we always have to consider and understand what humidity level for a basement is and how important it is in protecting our homes.
Basement Humidity Level in Summer
Whatever the season is, humidity levels can increase so if you worry about controlling the humidity levels in your basement, you may use a dehumidifier. The basement humidity level in summer can be high so opening the basement windows is not ideal. It is best to set your dehumidifier to 50 percent to make sure the basement humidity level in summer is not too low or too high. It may be a little difficult to reach 50%, but with the right device, you will surely get at this number.
You may think 50% is a safe number but you can’t risk your basement from possible damages. If you set the basement humidity below 50, it can inhibit the growth of mold and mildew which can be the causes of bacteria in your home. The average basement humidity in summer is 50-65% but 50% is still the safest number to consider if you want to avoid excess moisture. If you are not using your basement, you may think of turning down the heat but it is better to keep it warm especially during the summer to maintain the 50% relative basement humidity level. Also get rid of basement carpeting as the carpet can attract not just dust but also mold, mildew and termites that you don’t want to grow inside your basement.
Basement Humidity Level to Prevent Mold
One of the most important reasons why you should control and manage the humidity levels of your basement is to prevent mold. To do this, you also have to know the ideal basement humidity level in preventing mold. Too much humidity can cause the growth of mold so you have to keep your basement humidity level below 50 percent. If you are using your basement as storage, it is very likely that you have there many items there that can attract mold and termites so you have to prevent moisture as much as possible. It will also help to properly ventilate other areas of your home that is susceptible to moisture such as the kitchen and bathroom (read full “How to Stop Mold” guide here)
Basement Humidity Control
Unsuitable basement humidity levels have a lot of negative effects so you need to know how to control your basement humidity. If you are still clueless on how you can do it, here are some helpful ways you can control the humidity of your basement.
- Control basement humidity with commercial fans
- When cooking, cover the pots to reduce steam
- If you don’t have exhaust fans, open the windows when you are cooking or having a shower
- Install a dryer vent to prevent wetness and moisture from the clothes dryer
- Don’t run humidifiers in the basement
- Use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air
- Use a hygrometer to measure humidity levels
- Clean your gutters to prevent external water
- Inspect and clean your sump pump regularly to make sure it is properly driving water away from your house
- Cover your basement floors with plastic sheets to prevent moisture from coming
- Fix cracks, holes, and openings in the foundation of your basement
- If you’re unsure of a problem in your basement, always consult an expert
- Use waterproof coatings on your basement walls such as masonry waterproof coatings
- On humid days and nights, always close your basement windows
- Use the basement humidity control system