Humidity Control in Basements and Crawl Spaces

Humidity can wreak havoc on basements and crawl spaces

"Humidity" is a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air. Most of the time, when we talk about humidity, we're actually referring to “relative humidity,” which is expressed as a percentage. When the relative humidity is 75%, this means that the air is holding 75% of the water vapor it's capable of holding at a specific temperature. The hotter it gets, the more water vapor the air can hold.

It's important to control the humidity in your house. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that humidity levels indoors should be in the range of 30%-50%. When indoor humidity is regularly above 60%, a number of bad things begin to happen. Mold will begin to take hold on fabric, wood, paper and painted surfaces. Mold not only damages materials; it puts hazardous mold spores into the air.

Mold that forms on wood will eventually cause the wood to rot, threatening the structural integrity of your house. Finally, high humidity levels attract different insect pests. Damp wood will attract termites and carpenter ants, and high humidity levels provide ideal conditions for dust mites to inhabit bedding, carpets and furniture fabrics.

Humidity control is critical in basement and crawl space areas

On hot, humid summer days, we rely on mechanical air conditioning to remove moisture from the air and control indoor humidity levels. But if the basement and crawl space areas beneath your main living spaces are damp and full of moist air, you're certain to have persistent humidity problems. Here's how you can overcome basement and crawl space moisture problems and remove the risks associated with mold, wood rot, and insect infestation:

Seal and waterproof basements and crawl spaces. If water is leaking into your basement or crawl space, you need an active waterproofing system to reduce hydrostatic pressure on your foundation and keep floor areas free of standing water. Basements and crawl spaces can and should be sealed so that moist outside air won't leak in.

Control humidity with a dehumidifier designed for basement and crawl space environments. Standard household dehumidifiers don't have what it takes to work effectively in basements and crawl spaces. Quite simply, their components are undersized for the higher moisture levels and lower temperatures that prevail in a typical basement or crawl space. With a specially designed SaniDry™ dehumidification system, you'll be able to remove as much as 100 pints of water a day from your basement air, using the same amount of energy as a household “40-pint” dehumidifier.

Learn More: Basics of Waterproofing

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