Last year, we bought a house in the suburbs, and we’ve
decided that we’ll need to refinish part of the
basement. The basement is very humid in the summer, and
the dehumidifier we have isn’t up to the job. The
excessive moisture is creating mold problems, attracting
bugs, and causing water stains on walls.
don’t want to spend a lot of money to fix this
problem. It is not water intrusion during heavy rains,
but dampness. We have been told by some people we have
brought in that we need a new heating/cooling system.
Others suggest really expensive work to create drainage
along the walls to reduce the humidity, and thus the
water stains. Is there another option?
The folks offering these suggestions, while they are
looking for work, also have seen the situation
first-hand, and I have not.
basement is the lowest point of a house, and you have to
expect moisture intrusion. The trick is finding ways to
manage the moisture so it doesn’t run wild and do
all four sides of my basement, perimeter drains have
been cut so that any moisture from the outdoors behind
the walls, and any droplets appearing on the interior of
the walls, is carried to a central French drain that
leads to a sump. That system is designed to manage rain,
as well as a rising water table. It does not cut
is handled by a properly sized dehumidifier that drains
automatically into the sump and keeps the basement at a
recommended 40 percent relative humidity during the
summer.As the humidity is removed from the air, more
moisture is drawn in to replace it, so on very humid
days, the dehumidifier works nonstop, even on its
ask the contractors how French drains are supposed to
help in removing moisture from the air. As I said, I
have them, and I still need a dehumidifier big enough to
handle the space. I’d also look a little further into
the heating/air system situation.
you buy an older house and the basement hasn’t been
touched — especially given that basements are the
typical way people expand their living space — you
might find there was a good reason.