Moisture can be an invisible and dangerous threat not just to your family, but also to your house.
So, you may ask what is an ideal humidity for a basement? You must keep a relative humidity level in your basement at 50% or lower. Usually, the best range is 30% to 50%.
Excess Humidity and Its Causes
There are many reasons why your basement has high humidity. Big differences between outdoor and indoor temperature levels and poor insulation might be obvious factors, yet there are many things you might not have considered.
Oftentimes, doing laundry can have an effect, particularly if exhaust vents leak. Gutter spouts directing water very close to the foundation and malfunctioning sump pump are also the causes of flooding and moisture.
So, make sure to check your ceiling on a regular basis for signs of some leaking pipes that don’t only add moisture to the basement, but also might be causing damage to some parts of your house.
Effects of Seasons
Everything expands once it gets warmer and it applies to air itself. As a result, it absorbs more moisture when it is warmer.
That is the reason why homeowners are plagued by humidity when the heating system is turned up in their basements, particularly in winter when doors and windows are closed tightly.
You may track humidity through buying an electronic or mechanical hygrometer, which records RH even if you need to let the instrument settle for 12 hours first.
Remember that the same absolute moisture-level would produce various relative readings at several ambient temperatures.
Humans also have a habit to change their environment everywhere they go.
Global warming and air pollution are just some of the extreme examples. It might be surprising to know that breathing affects relative humidity in homes.
Most everything people do in your home involves using energy. The energy that’s released warms the air. Warm air absorbs a lot of moisture. It’s that simple. However, people do not stop there.
Humans release moisture to the air each time you take a shower or bath, do laundry or wash dishes.
Effects of the Basement Humidity Problems
Moderation is the key factor in a lot of life aspects and humidity isn’t different. There are various associated risks with a relative humidity that is too low or high.
There are times that such symptoms are the first sign of humidity issues even if they appear only after issues have existed for quite some time once they do at all.
Keeping good relative humidity level will help get rid of an easily preventable factor in causes of such health and home problems.
Low Effects of Relative Humidity
Low levels of humidity in your basement can result in bloody noses and dried sinuses. Lots of respiratory issues like asthma can be exacerbated through a poor level of humidity. Dry air is also renowned to cause chapping as well as different skin problems.
High Effects of Relative Humidity
The main threat of a high level of humidity is mildew, mold, and some fungal infestations.
The mold may damage wood and concrete. In addition to that, spores can affect your family’s health seriously.
Other varieties including black mold have been known to cause death. But, the mold is not the only threat posed through high humidity.
The termite colonies thrive in a humid environment that can also cause the wood to rot. Condensation gives a water source, which attracts rodents and silverfish.
Such various pests bring their health threats and risks to the structural integrity of your home.
The Most Ideal Humidity Level for Basement
Generally, your basement serves one of the functions, which include recreational space, wine cellar, furnished living room, and storage.
Depending on the purpose, the humidity level should fit into various ranges.
Understanding such ranges will let you reduce the risk of structural damage and health risks.
Majority of dehumidifiers have a built-in humidistat that enables you to monitor and preset humidity levels.
You might buy a hygrometer and keep that near your own dehumidifier. This device will measure the moisture level in the air, enabling you to run dehumidifiers as required.
Unfinished and Finished Basements
Not just this range will minimize the risk of dangerous bacterial growth, but also it will prevent some health risks associated with a low level of humidity.
Limiting the level of humidity to about 30% to 40% during the winter season in colder climates would get rid of window condensation.
Wine Cellars in Your Basement
These are becoming known with homeowners of different economic backgrounds.
Regardless if you have a wine cellar or you’re planning to construct one in your basement, it’s essential to keep both humidity and temperature at particular levels so that the wine will mature properly.
Generally, such spaces are well-insulated with their humidifier units and must be kept at 60% relative humidity.
You have to be aware that the humidity of some rooms in your basement should still be kept at 30% to 50% range.
Checking for leaks in the insulation of your wine cellar is important as the difference in humidity levels might cause dehumidifiers to overwork.
What to Do If You Have Humidity Problems in Your Basement?
If you have problems with humidity in your basement, it may be controlled through either increasing it if it’s very low or minimizing it if it’s too high.
During summer, you can minimize the humidity levels of your home with the use of a dehumidifier.
During winter, your house is very humid usually has other high moisture sources before making changes in the habits of your family or install a unit to get rid of excess humidity.
Sealing your house through caulking and weather-stripping will enhance your indoor humidity condition.
You might also consider using humidifiers to boost indoor humidity levels, yet if they’re not installed, maintained, and used properly, they can be sources of the excess moisture and could cause mold growth in your house.