This Article is About
wet basements
hurricane irene
water sensors
automation network
humidity levels
air circulation
high humidity
water pipes
Avoid Moisture Damage From Wet Basements And Crawl Spaces
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Hurricane Irene brought torrential rains up the East Cost of the U.S. Thousands of homes were flooded and damaged by storm water. Even homes that weren't flooded may have had basement and crawl space moisture that was caused by seepage or water vapor which condensed on cold water pipes and walls.

Damage from wet basements and crawl spaces

Wet basements and crawl spaces are result in high humidity levels which can produce mildew and fungi, mustiness and odors. Due the stack effect of whole house air circulation, mustiness and mildew laden air is drawn upward into the living space of the house causing further mildew and health issues. ,Basement or crawl space moisture can damage floor joists, beams, subflooring, insulation, and electrical-mechanical systems. as well as personal items stored in those spaces. Now more than ever is the time to take a fresh look at your house to avoid water damage from wet basements and crawl spaces. I suggest a four-step approach:

  1. Identify the problems
  2. Fix the problems
  3. Install a moisture and water monitor
  4. Add one or more water sensors to your home automation network

Problem: Drainage from roofs, ground surfaces and ground water (underground water)

Gutters and downspouts. Are your gutters kept clean of leaves, sticks and detritus that obstruct the flow of water along the gutters? You should have your gutters cleaned periodically -- especially if your house is located under trees. Consider installing gutter shields that prevent clogging. Are your gutters large enough to carry away roof drainage from intense storms? If you are thinking about replacing your gutters and downspouts, consider gutters with a larger capacity -- especially if you live where you can expect intense rainstorms.

Ground surface drainage. Make sure water discharged from downspouts is directed away from the foundation of your house. Better yet, pipe the discharge to underground piping that discharges to a lower point in your property farther away from your foundation. Consider a rain garden for your property and direct your roof discharge to flow into your rain garden. Don't discharge directly to a street gutter -- that exacerbates the storm water runoff pollution problem in your community.

Underground drainage. Does your foundation have a underground drainage system around the perimeter of your foundation that will carry underground water away from your basement or crawl space walls? If not, consider having underground drainage installed. At the same time that the contractor is installing that drain system, have a waterproof membrane install against the wall before backfilling.

During an intense rain storm when the ground is saturated, both ground water and surface water are moving downslope and are intercepted by your house foundation. That side of your house -- the upslope side -- is where an underground drainage system will be most effective.

Consult your contractor about the detailed specifications for your underground drainage project. Make sure the project is designed properly and the pipe will not clog up over time by mud or fine soil particles.

By following the 4 step process -- identify the problem, fix the problem, install a moisture monitor in your basement or crawl space, and add a water sensor telephone alert to your home automation network -- you can avoid water damage from wet basements and crawl spaces.


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