Have you ever been in the basement and wondered why the windows and walls looked like they were sweating? Condensation in a basement is not an unusual occurrence, but it is a problem that needs to be addressed.
If you are like most homeowners, you probably use your basement as a storage room, meaning that it is filled with books, photos, old newspapers, and diaries that can quickly absorb moisture and get completely ruined. Moreover, any metal objects you have placed down there will begin to rust, while furniture, carpeting, and clothing items will become moldy when exposed to condensation.
But why does condensation occur in the first place? When moisture-laden, warm air runs into a cold surface, such as a basement wall or window, condensation appears. The same thing happens when cold water is running through copper pipes which are colder than the air that surrounds them.
Why Is Condensation a Problem?
Something that you can just remove with a dusting cloth cannot pose a huge threat to your home, right? While condensation appearing in your basement may seem completely harmless, it can create various problems for you, your home, and your family. While many issues are associated with condensation, we will take a look at the major ones.
Mold and Mildew
If condensation is forming on a window, mold and mildew can easily appear around it. They need humidity levels above 70% to thrive, and condensation is 100% humidity. Therefore, condensation creates an ideal environment for mold growth. Even if humidity levels in the rest of your basement are satisfactory, mold can still appear around windows with a lot of condensation.
Mold and mildew, apart from black mold, are not usually toxic to people. However, that doesn’t mean they cannot cause any problems. Mold spreads through airborne spores that can contaminate the air in your living area as well.
Pests and Insects
Basement condensation turns this area into a hospitable place for insects and rodents. Where there is condensation, there is mold and mildew, and where there is mold and mildew, there are insects. Since many rodents feed on insects, they can quickly find their way into your basement. Where you see a damp, moldy basement with bugs, rodents see a haven with food and water, in other words, an ideal breeding ground.
What Causes Basement Condensation?
If you have noticed condensation on your basement walls or windows, you are probably wondering how it got there. There are many potential causes for condensation. To prevent it from occurring, you need to know where it came from. Let’s take a closer look at the most common causes of basement condensation.
Non-Insulated Cold Water Pipes
If your basement is not finished, you most likely have pipes that are exposed to the air. Thereby, don’t be surprised if condensation appears in your basement. Your pipes will begin to “sweat” because cold air is not able to hold as much water vapor as warm air. Cold water running through copper pipes makes them extremely cold. When warm, moisture-laden air touches the pipes, its temperature drops, and it is cooled below the dew point. As a result, water vapor will turn into liquid and collect on the side of the pipe.
Luckily, with proper insulation, this problem can be avoided. The insulation will prevent moist air from reaching the cooler surface. Since fiberglass is not waterproof, it is not an ideal material for this job. Plastic foam pipe wrap comes in all sizes and it is easily cut with scissors, so it is convenient for pipe insulation. Secure the insulation with duct tape, paying close attention to the meeting points between insulation sections.
Cracks in the Walls
Basements mostly rest underground, which means they are surrounded by soil. Moisture from the soil can infiltrate the basement through the cracks in the walls, creating condensation. But how does moisture get into the soil? Heavy rains, snowmelt, and floods can saturate the ground around your foundation. When this happens, the water table rises and increases hydrostatic pressure around the basement walls. Since water has to go somewhere, it will look for the path of least resistance. If you have cracks in basement walls, even tiny ones, water will seep through them.
Even the smallest amount of water can increase basement humidity, which contributes to basement condensation. Unfortunately, this is not the biggest problem regarding basement wall cracks. They can be a sign that your walls are bowing due to lateral pressure, or that your foundation is settling. Either way, this is not good news for your home’s structural stability. If you notice cracks on your basement walls, contact professionals at Foundation Systems of Michigan and schedule an inspection. Our experts have the expertise necessary to solve even the most complicated foundation problems, so you will be at ease knowing that your home is in capable hands.
With a proper drainage system, your basement should remain dry at all times and humidity levels should remain under control. If condensation has appeared on your basement wall or windows, your drainage system is not working as it should.
To waterproof your basement, contact experts at Foundation Systems of Michigan. With our solutions in place, you will be able to maintain a dry basement and prevent moisture-related problems from occurring.
Understandably, most homeowners prefer to fix things around their homes on their own. However, basement waterproofing is something that should be left to professionals. After all, moisture issues and water damage can severely harm your home and even compromise its structural integrity.
Steer Clear of DIY Repairs
Most likely you can find a wide range of basement waterproofing solutions in your local home improvement store. Although at first glance they may seem like good options, they are not durable and will not solve your problem for good. Instead, you will find yourself applying the same solutions over and over again, never truly satisfied with the end result.
Calling the Basement Experts at Foundation Systems of Michigan
The specialists over at Foundation Systems of Michigan have not only years of installation and repair experience, but also the correct equipment required to properly complete the task and protect your home.
Attempting to repair your basement on your own could interfere with your house’s foundation and cost you countless dollars in the long run. To avoid damaging your home, you should always leave these repairs to seasoned professionals at Foundation Systems of Michigan.
You may be tempted to simply remove the condensation as it appears, but the reality is that this does nothing to address the underlying cause of your issue. The following methods will help you delve deep to identify your condensation problem and truly fix your issues.
Constant and consistent moisture issues and flooding in your basement can be an unbearable source of frustration. Luckily, Foundation Systems of Michigan has a wide variety of waterproofing solutions to protect your home and basement and resolve your condensation issues. For example, if your basement is prone to frequent flooding issues, our experts will recommend installing a sump pump. This device is designed to remove large volumes of water in a short amount of time. Here at Foundation Systems of Michigan, we recommend cast-iron/cast-aluminum Pro Series sump pumps to homeowners. They feature dual float switch protection, upper and lower sealed ball bearings so they are soundless and designed to run continuously. If you are worried that your pump will malfunction during a blackout, we can offer you a self-activating, backup battery system. With it, you will be at ease knowing that your basement will stay dry even during extreme rainfall.
Moisture that comes in through the walls and the cove joint can also present an issue. With an interior drainage system, you can prevent it from causing any damage. This system is installed along the perimeter of your basement and sends collected water to your sump pump. Apart from this waterproofing solution, you can opt for a vapor barrier. Since concrete is a porous material, it is always allowing moisture to pass through and infiltrate your basement. As you might know, fiberglass insulation as well as other products that are often used for basement finishing are not waterproof, which makes them prone to mold issues. This is why here at Foundation Systems of Michigan we offer the VaporLoc Elite® Basement Wall Vapor Barrier. This product not only serves as a vapor barrier but also directs any moisture that passes through your wall into your interior drainage system.
As the last step, you should consider installing a dehumidifier. After you have removed all the excess water and mold and have properly waterproofed your basement, installing a dehumidifier will be icing on the cake. This device will keep humidity levels in your basement under control, so you won’t have to worry about condensation collecting on your walls and windows.
In addition, this device can help you recover from floods, eliminate allergy triggers from the air, and improve air quality not just in your basement, but your entire home as well.
You Can’t Just Wipe It off and Forget About It
Condensation seems like an easily solvable problem since you can just wipe off water drops. However, this is a very short-term solution. In a matter of minutes, they will appear again on your windows. If you want to solve the problem permanently, you need to understand where the condensation is coming from.
Instead of wiping down condensation every time you see it, address the underlying problem, which is excess moisture in your basement. With the high-quality waterproofing solutions we offer here at Foundation Systems of Michigan, you can tackle the base condensation problem your basement is facing and solve it once and for all.
Contact Your Local Experts Today!
Condensation is a telltale sign that you have a humidity problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. It can also cause mold and mildew growth, attract pests and even damage your walls.
To fix your basement condensation problems, contacting an expert is highly recommended. Here at Foundation Systems of Michigan, we offer durable waterproofing solutions that will solve your problem for good. In a rush? Do not hesitate to call us today and schedule a no-obligation inspection! We offer our services throughout the entire Lower Peninsula and the Eastern Upper Peninsula in Michigan, as well as in Northern Ohio and Toledo.