A crucial part of home ownership is proper maintenance, and that includes keeping your home dry and free of moisture-related problems. This is especially important if you live in an area prone to precipitation and high levels of humidity. Even if groundwater isn’t leaking into your home, having high levels of humidity can still lead to moisture-related problems. While it’s easy to monitor the living spaces of your home, it is just as important to monitor the humidity levels of your lower-level space, whether it’s a basement or a crawl space.
Fortunately, there are dehumidifiers that can help you control the humidity levels of your basement or crawl space. By keeping the air in your lower level dry, it prevents moisture from gaining a foothold in your home. And, as you’ll soon discover, this will help keep your upstairs dry and comfortable as well.
But not every dehumidifier is the same. There are factors to consider before determining which dehumidifier is right for your basement or crawl space.
Let’s explore the role that dehumidifiers play and how to best choose one for your basement or crawl space—by the end of this article, you should know how to properly select one to keep the air quality of your lower level (and upper levels) nice and dry.
How Does Moisture Get into Your Home?
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of moisture in the air that fills your home. But too much of it can lead to problems with both your home as well as your air quality—ultimately, it could even affect your health. Unless you live in a dry environment like a desert, chances are there’s moisture in the soil surrounding your foundation.
According to a study done by professors at Kansas State University, moisture can enter your home through several ways, including water “run-in from near the building, often through a window, door, or a hole or crack in the foundation”. Even if water isn’t leaking into your basement or crawl space, moist air can still infiltrate into your lower-level space where it then becomes affected by what’s called the “Stack Effect”. The Stack Effect is the way in which physics affects the air in your home, moving the air from the lowest levels upwards. As WaterproofMag.com explains, the Stack Effect “moves a significant portion of the indoor air—up to 50%—into the living space”.
Basements and crawl spaces are often overlooked, and when moisture is allowed to linger, even in the form of humid air, it can lead to problems that can affect the immediate area as well as the rest of your home.
It is also important to note, as stated in the same Kansas State University study, that “Even when a home is protected from water run-in and water vapor transmission through walls and floors, it can still be affected by moisture from humid air.” If you live in an area that has humid climate conditions, this is something to keep in mind, and another reason why you may need to consider getting a dehumidifier.
What Does a Dehumidifier Do?
A dehumidifier keeps the air in your basement or crawl space dry. This is done by drawing the air into the dehumidifier, passing the air over cooling coils, and condensing the airborne moisture into water. This water drips off the coils into a collection tray or discharge pipe.
Meanwhile, the now-dry air is then returned to the space in which the dehumidifier is situated. Ultimately, this can improve the air quality in the rest of your home due to the “Stack Effect”.
What Can Moisture Do to Your Home?
According to the EPA, your indoor humidity should be somewhere between 30 percent and 50 percent, always below 60%. When the humidity within your basement, crawl space, or any other part of your home begins to rise higher, it can lead to a variety of problems and complications for your home. Consider having a humidistat to monitor the humidity in your basement or crawl space. If your lower level’s humidity tends to reach 60% or higher, it is highly recommended that you install a dehumidifier.
Different levels of humidity can trigger different problems for your lower level. For example, the risk of mold begins at 65% humidity and the risk gets worse as the humidity rises. Especially for basements and crawl spaces, where moisture may collect and build, high levels of humidity can attract these problems:
- Mold growth
- Pests like insects and rodents
- Wood rot in the wooden structures of the house
- Rust on mechanicals and ductwork
- Other structural damage to home infrastructure
‘58 Foundations president, Todd Prosan, states that “High levels of humidity can also have an effect on your health and wellbeing. Mold and pests can agitate preexisting health problems such as asthma and allergies. If wood rot is allowed to persist, it can lead to a structurally compromised home.”
Along with other waterproofing measures, a dehumidifier will help prevent the air from being an avenue for moisture to get into your home and wreak havoc.
Choosing the Right Dehumidifier That Fits Your Needs
Not all dehumidifiers are the same. The unique situation of your basement or crawl space will determine the kind of dehumidifier that you’ll need. Here are some questions to take into account for your dehumidifier:
- How big is the space of your basement or crawl space?
- What is the average temperature of the basement or crawl space? Your dehumidifier’s efficiency can be affected.
- How energy efficient is the dehumidifier?
- How humid is the climate where you live?
By answering these questions, you can get an idea of what kind of dehumidifier you’ll need. Different dehumidifiers have varying features. Features such as their daily capacity to draw moisture from the air (which is measured in pints). Some use a water tray that needs to be emptied by hand, while others use a discharge pipe that can empty the water via gravity or a small condensation pump.
Consider these features to ensure that you have a dehumidifier that fits your needs and comfort.
Enjoy The ’58 Difference in Dehumidifiers
Whether it’s a damp crawl space or a wet and musty basement that your concerned about, choosing the right dehumidifier can help offer the protection that your lower level needs against humidity. With ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing, we offer not just our crawl space encapsulation and basement waterproofing services, but we also offer our own Energy Star rated HumidiGuard dehumidifier! The HumidiGuard can help you take control of your lower level’s moisture levels. What’s more, it can also help keep your lower level air clean with its air filtration capabilities. We also have several models, designed to fit basements and crawl spaces of different sizes.
Here are some other key features that our HumidiGuard offers for your convenience and health:
- Cleans and filters the air
- Large-capacity water removal
- Set it and forget it smart controls
- Save on energy bills
For a Safe and Dry Home, Lean on ’58!
Don’t let dampness and moisture take your basement or crawl space away from you. When coupled with crawl space encapsulation or basement waterproofing, choosing the right dehumidifier like our HumidiGuard will keep your lower level environment securely below the humidity threshold that can lead to problems like mold. ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing has over 64 years of experience in foundation repair, basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, and also mold removal. Whatever is causing your lower level moisture problems, we can design a comprehensive solution for you!
We have local offices all throughout the Eastern Seaboard. Whether you reside near Charlotte, NC, Washington, D.C., or Knoxville, TN, there’s a team of ’58 experts always ready to help!
Contact us today to schedule for a free inspection and to receive a detailed estimate! With ’58, you can say goodbye to a musty and damp lower level, and hello to a safe, dry, and healthy home!
Dry Basements and crawlspaces
The Importance of Dehumidifiers
Mold Course, Chapter 2