All homes have their quirks that require some special care and consideration, but when it comes to homes with basements, it’s a whole different ball game. Your basement is more than just a cement-lined hole in the ground, it’s a big part of your home. Although the basement, unlike many other rooms in a house, can develop problems with water, either coming in from outside or coming down from the floor above. Water in a basement can result in higher humidity levels, musty odors and the growth of mold.
Your basement isn't meant to be holding water, so if you start to see a problem its time to find the source so you can fix it for good. Even a little bit of water seeping into your basement on the regular is cause for concern. Besides the mold and foul smells mentioned above, that water helps encourage pests that live in moist environments. Don’t encourage the mold and bugs. Instead, try these easy ways to keep water out of your basement:
From year to year you can expect some erosion because the water has been flowing around your home's foundation. If you find that there is only a little bit of erosion it is usually not a big deal, but as time goes on make sure that you are monitoring it because as time goes on it is possible that it will get worse. Eventually, you may even end up with a negative grade, essentially a grade in your yard that diverts water to your house rather than away from it.
Water that spills over the sides of your gutters is water that can go anywhere it pleases. That’s why clean gutters are so important to keeping water out of your basement. Try to clean out your gutters at least twice a year, especially during the months after the leaves have fallen. If you are having trouble seeing if there are any leaks or problems, water from the garden hose can help you figure out where problems exist. Other add-ons like splash blocks and downspout extensions further redirect water once it’s on the ground.
It may be unpleasant to consider, but if that water isn’t coming from outside, then it has to be coming from inside. Leaky toilets and shower drains are always suspect, but any part of the plumbing system could have a small persistent leak. If you can find it, you can fix it and stop any potential damage that could be happening overhead, too.
When your run your air conditioner, room air is pulled into your furnace or air handler, run across something called an a-coil (due to its shape) and pushed back out much colder than when it started. In the brief moments that the room air is above the a-coil, it drops a significant amount of water into a pan below as it rapidly changes temperature. From there, the water goes away through a condensation line. This is what happens in a perfect world. However if you don't maintain your condensation line it can get plugged up causing the pan in the furnace to overflow onto the floor.
These tips should help solve your basement water problem, but if it continues to reoccur, waterproofing or installing a sump pump may be warranted. Generally, if your water issue is more than a small puddle, it’s better to just to go ahead and call in a professional rather than to continue to beat your head against the problem.