FSM Service Tech

New month. New season. Use your senses to check for trouble.


A new month means a new opportunity to keep your home healthy and safe for you and your family. This fifth month of the year is a great time to use most of your five senses to check for problems in your basement.

Let’s start with sight. It’s time to carefully look around. First, look up and follow the waterlines that run across the ceiling of your basement. We’re checking for any plumbing problems that may have occurred over the winter. Nothing stresses your home like entertaining and having houseguests’ means sometimes a little accidental spill you weren’t informed of. Pay special attention to water supply lines for refrigerators and humidifiers. One loose fitting could mean major problems.

Next, look down and get to know your basement floor. Now admittedly this is more difficult if you have flooring and not the raw concrete floor, but take the time to walk around and focus on how it looks. Are there any new cracks or pitted areas where it looks like stones have been removed? Look for any stains or powder-like substances where water may have once been and dried up.

Lastly, look over at the walls. Basement walls that are constructed of blocks should be straight and even. Follow along the mortar lines and check for any cracking or white dust remnants, as this could be efflorescence or leftover soluble salts from a previous water issue.

Follow your nose, just like that breakfast cereal commercial, and really pay attention to anything you come in contact with that just doesn’t pass the smell test. Mold and mildew have their own special fragrance and it takes just a whiff of sewer gas to let you know there might be a problem with a floor drain.

When it comes to making it comfortable inside your home, it’s a delicate balance. From wet and sticky to cold and clammy, you can feel when there’s a problem with temperature and humidity, especially in a basement. Mold, rot and dust mites all have a common weakness: they all need ample moisture and humidity to survive. When humidity levels drop below 60% they will not be able to thrive. Recognizing and controlling basement humidity can go far in making it a more healthy and comfortable living space.

Did you hear that? Well, careful listening is the next sense to be exercised on our excursion. Anyone with a sump pump in their basement knows the circumstances surrounding when they can expect to hear it. Like any mechanical device, your sump pump has the potential for failure. Most times it has nothing to do with the actual pump itself. Switches that trigger the pump to start moving water can sometimes stick, jam or fail all together. Sometimes pedestal sump pumps wedge themselves up against the sump crock and jam the switch. Fully submersible sump pumps are quieter and are less likely to burn out. Plumbing leaks and faulty sprinkler systems can also send your sump pump into overdrive, along with your water bill.

So there you have it. The senses of sight, smell, sound and touch. Now that’s four out of five, but what about that final one Well, try as we might, there’s no good way to utilize your taste buds to check your foundation. Call Foundation Systems of Michigan today for a comprehensive inspection if you notice any issues.