Is Your Humid Basement an Indication of a Leak?


When you were wishing for the summer during the cold winter spells, you were ready to take high humidity over frozen pipes. But now that the summer is here, humidity, especially in your basement, is a problem. The wet, “sweaty” walls and musty odors are not exactly inviting. You may even find yourself avoiding the basement due to these factors, although it’s much cooler than the upstairs. Our Baltimore basement waterproofing contractors get regular calls about humid basements in summer. In some cases, we find that a leak is to blame for this unpleasant phenomenon.

Why Your Basement is Humid

Humidity is concentration of water vapor in the air. And because basement surfaces are typically below grade and cooler than the air temperature, the air condenses and releases moisture upon contact. Condensation is what typically causes “sweaty” basement walls and dripping pipes.

Where does this moisture come from?

High basement humidity can be attributed to several causes, including but not limited to:

  • Humid air enters from upstairs or from the outside via open doors and windows.
  • Foundation walls get saturated with the underground water and evaporate it into the air.
  • In new construction, porous concrete and masonry may release excess moisture as it cures.
  • There is a crack in the foundation wall that has led to a leak.
  • You have a dryer or another appliance venting inside your basement.

All of the above factors may contribute to high humidity in the basement. And with high humidity, you often get mold and mildew, as well as poor air quality.

There is a simple test to determine where the moisture in your basement is coming from. Tape a small piece of plastic or aluminum foil to one of your basement walls. Leave it there for a few days and then return to see whether the covered area got damp. If the square underneath the foil is damp, then you have water moving through concrete. If the surface of the foil is damp, then you have condensation issues.

How to Reduce Basement Humidity

If your basement humidity is caused by condensation, you may be able to address it with a dehumidifier or several dehumidifiers strategically placed throughout your basement. Some dehumidifiers can be hooked up to a discharge line and don’t require your involvement at all, while others will need manual emptying. It also helps to keep the air moving fans to avoid stagnation. Just be sure not to open windows when it’s hot and humid out, because you will be inviting more humidity inside.

If your basement humidity is caused by a leak or water-saturated concrete, it’s best to talk to your local Maryland basement waterproofing expert. The solution will depend on how the water is getting through and may include one or several of the following:

If basement humidity is keeping you from using your basement space, contact Basement Waterproofing Technologies today. We’ll be happy to come out and inspect your basement to determine the cause of your humidity problem. Be sure to fix all humidity issues before remodeling your basement in order to protect your investment. Call us or contact online today for a free estimate.