What Is The Ideal Basement Humidity?

Your house's basement can be a perfect place for mold and mildew to grow if it becomes too humid. That's why you need to control its humidity. With this, you might wonder what the ideal basement humidity is and if it changes during summer and winter seasons. Don't worry, we researched this matter for you! And here is what we discovered. 

Ideally, you should maintain your basement's humidity level at 30% to 50%. Additionally, in the summer, your basement should have a 50% relative humidity level.

However, the ideal basement humidity level will be lower during the wintertime because the outside humidity level is lower. If you are in a region where winter temperatures often fall below 20 ºF, the humidity level should be between 25 and 40%.

Keep reading as we explain why it is important to control and maintain an ideal level of humidity in your basement. Moreover, we'll talk about the dangers of having too high or too low a humidity level in your basement. We'll also discuss ways to control the humidity, the factors that cause it to rise, and how to deal with them. So read on! 

Messy basement with red bricks walls in old country house, What Is The Ideal Basement Humidity? [Inc. In Summer & Winter]

Why Is Controlling And Maintaining Your Basement's Humidity Important?

Controlling moisture can improve your home's comfort, energy efficiency, cost of heating and cooling, and mold growth. Your attempts to insulate and air seal your home will be more successful if you properly manage the moisture in it, which will also aid in moisture control.

Additionally, when your basement is too humid, everything becomes a little damp. And as items continue to get damp, a musty odor may develop.

What Happens When Your Basement's Humidity Is Too Low?

Low humidity can have a negative impact on your health, increasing your susceptibility to typical winter illnesses and causing things like nosebleeds and dry skin.

Aside from those, here are some risks of having too low a humidity level:

  • Bacteria and viruses will flourish and can repeatedly harm you and your family's health.
  • Wooden furniture and floors warp, separate, and shrink when the humidity is low.
  • Your walls' wallpaper could loosen and peel at the edges, and mold could develop behind the damaged wallpaper.
  • When your humidity levels are too low, your home's environment is at risk.

What Are The Dangers Of Having A Too Humid Basement?

What Are The Dangers Of Having A Too Humid Basement - mold in abandoned house basement

Relative humidity of 60% or higher is the ideal environment for mold formation. Additionally, these scenarios can happen when your humidity is too high:

  • Unchecked basement mold could result in unclean indoor air that would make your family sick and aggravate upper respiratory conditions.
  • Additionally, mold that destroys homes may result in expensive foundation damage.
  • Excess moisture is a concern when there is a high basement humidity level. Condensation will form on your chilly appliances when warm air strikes them. Your appliances will start to rust if there is a buildup of moisture on them over time, which will cause them to become less effective.
  • Saving money will be difficult if you frequently need to fix or replace malfunctioning appliances brought on by a moist basement.

What Causes Humidity Problems In Your Basement?

The fact that your basement is below grade mainly causes it to become damp or moist. Furthermore, the following also introduces moisture to your basement: 

  • Leaking Water
  • Foundation Cracks
  • Ineffective Drainage

Leaking Water

Water Leakage - Rain water leaks on the wall causing damage

The majority of basement water leaks are caused by water seeping into pores and fissures in porous building materials like masonry blocks, concrete, or wood, or by water seeping through holes, cracks, and other discontinuities in the home's basement walls. These minuscule fissures and holes can absorb water upwards.

Foundation Cracks

Foundation Cracks - Water leaking through foundation wall in crawlspace of house

Foundations made of concrete and concrete blocks frequently experience cracking. If floor joists are not securely fastened to the foundation wall, allowing the wall to slide, the consequences could be severe. Cracking is also a result of soil settling.

Additionally, cracks frequently appear when solid objects like the fireplace and walls meet. The water in fissures is often removed via drainage, but repairs can be required.

Ineffective Subsurface Drainage

It's typical for the ground surface to not be sloped away from the foundation or for a poor gutter and downspout system to exist. Subsurface drainage systems that are missing or not working are also discovered rather regularly. 

Moreover, there is simply no subsurface drainage system in many older homes. This dates back to a time when basements were not utilized as living spaces.

In other instances, the systems fail for a variety of reasons, including:

  • pipe collapse,
  • silt and/or tree root clogging, or
  • a broken connection to the sump.

A pump intended to raise the water to the earth's surface outside the foundation wall is typically present in the sump pit. This pump might not work.

How To Control The Humidity In Your Basement?

How To Control The Humidity In Your Basement - Digital hygrometer with thermometer on wooden table in room.

To reduce moisture in your basement, you can:

Prevent Wall Condensation

Checking your basement for water leaks and sources is the best and most efficient approach to prevent condensation on the walls. Some of the main causes of the humid basement include leaky windows and stagnant water. Your basement might become humid if windows and walls have gaps or are not properly sealed.

Install A Sump Pump

This pump aids in diverting water away from the foundation of your house. To get the best results from the sump pump, you must tuckpoint the interior and external walls by removing the old mortar and installing a new one.

Install Insulation And Floor drains

The use of a paint sealer to waterproof interior walls has little effect on humidity levels. Reduce the humidity by constructing a floor drain and insulating the basement walls to stop water from leaking into the space.

Use Fans For Ventilation

Make sure to install ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathrooms to control moisture to lower the humidity levels in the basement. Make sure the HVAC system in your home has routine maintenance and inspections to make sure it is operating efficiently.

Reroute The Water

Although this activity may be straightforward, many people fail to complete it. You can clean and reattach the gutter system to maintain a continuous stream of rainwater by rerouting the flow of water. Design the landscape differently so that water runs off and away from the foundation rather than back toward it.

Repair House Leaks

One of the most frequent causes of excessive humidity levels is leaks and plumbing issues. Check for leaky pipes and fittings. If you have the necessary equipment, you can choose to handle simple repairs like changing a washer and tightening loose joints by yourself. 

Can Humidifiers And Dehumidifiers Help In Controlling The Humidity Levels?

Yes, these devices can help. Here is how they do it:

How Dehumidifiers Help Reduce The Humidity

How Dehumidifiers Help Reduce The Humidity - dehumidifier in the room close up

Your dehumidifier should be able to reduce the relative humidity of the air to between 30% and 50%. Many dehumidifiers have a meter that measures the relative humidity in the area of your home where they are installed, and you can adjust the humidity to the desired percentage.

A dehumidifier functions by using a fan to suck warm air currents into its coils. Condensation is left inside the dehumidifier as a result of the warm air condensing as it passes through the machine's refrigerated coils. One drop of water at a time, this condensation gathers and falls into a storage tank that is connected to the dehumidifier. The other side of the device then releases cooler, drier air back into your house.

However, some people may not experience the same results from a dehumidifier. The use of one in your area could have some negative repercussions. Dehumidifiers increase how dry the air is. A dehumidifier may not be necessary if you reside in a dry region or heat your home with gas or electricity.

Click here for this dehumidifier on Amazon!

How Humidifiers Help Keep Moisture In The Air

How Humidifiers Help Keep Moisture In The Air - Humidifier on the table,Fashionable home space

Moisture is added to the air using a humidifier. That can be especially useful in the winter when the cold air and inside heaters can dry up your skin, lips, nose, eyes, and other body parts.

Evaporative humidifiers are the most popular kind of humidifier. This kind of humidifier is fairly straightforward and, for the most part, self-regulating. Cold water is stored in a reservoir and released into a basin. Basin water is absorbed by a wicking filter. Then, the air is forced through the moistened filter by a fan.

Click here for this humidifier on Amazon!

Some of the water in the filter evaporates when the air flows past it. Because it is more difficult to evaporate water from the filter at increasing relative humidity levels, humidifiers naturally reduce their production of water vapor as relative humidity rises.

But, due to the risk of harm from moisture buildup, humidifiers are not advised for use in structures without adequate vapor barriers. To ascertain whether the vapor barrier in your home is adequate, speak with a building constructor. To determine the relative humidity in your home, use a humidity indicator.

Click here for this hygrometer on Amazon!

In Conclusion

Messy basement with red bricks walls in old country house, What Is The Ideal Basement Humidity? [Inc. In Summer & Winter]

To maintain a safe and comfortable environment in your basement, your humidity levels should be between 30% and 50%. Having humidity levels above or below this range can cause some serious problems not only in your house but also in your health. 

You can check out these related posts to learn more:

9 Types Of Humidifiers And Dehumidifiers

Should You Insulate Basement Walls

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