Why is My Basement Wet? What to Look For

Cartoon of a flooded basement

The basement is the lowest point in your home and that can make it a target for moisture. With the weather so changeable here in Westchester and Putnam as we head into spring, now is a good time to take stock of the moisture levels in your basement. Too much dampness and wetness can open the door to mold, mildew, and damage.

A moderate amount of dampness is to be expected in every basement. But how much is too much? The pros at Robison want you to be aware of these warning signs including: rings of dampness/condensation on your walls and floors; damaged floorboards and carpets; the smell of rot and mildew; and humid, heavy air. Here are some of the leading causes:

What Causes Excessive Moisture in the Basement?

  1. Water heater leak: This can sometimes be overlooked but tiny drips can quickly get worse and should be immediately addressed. Help avoid this by understanding signs of trouble with water heaters.
  2. Chimney damage: Flashing and crown issues are often the culprits when it comes to water in a basement. Sloppy installation or poor-quality materials make these damages common and frequent. Water can seep through the ash door or along the outside of the chimney and enter the basement.
  3. Chimney cracks: A cracked or damaged chimney can have a dramatic and negative impact on your basement, potentially allowing water to seep into your basement. Regular chimney inspections are key to keeping your home – including your basement – safe.
  4. Misplaced or missing gutters: Gutters and downspouts direct rainwater away from your house. If those troughs leak, water could drip or fall down near the foundation of your house and slowly make its way inside. Gutters can also get clogged by leaves or debris that will lead to a buildup of water, which can eventually give way and then trickle down to the basement.
  5. Leaky pipes: Faulty plumbing is often the root cause of water damage. Pipes can leak from high water pressure, corrosion, extreme temperature changes, and faulty appliances or connections. The culprit may also be a toilet with a poor or deteriorated wax gasket seal, a tub with a defective faucet or plumbing, or aging caulk seals. Water leaks can follow a path throughout your home and ultimately get to the basement.
  6. Too much humidity: If there’s too much humidity and there’s no way for you to expel the air, it’s bound to get damp. If you don’t observe any noticeable water leakages, yet the paint is peeling off the walls and the basement smells damp, you may have a humidity problem. A robust dehumidifier installed by Robison can greatly improve the air quality in your basement and home
  7. Walls aren’t waterproof: Walls are particularly vulnerable to excess moisture in the room. And once these walls start wilting due to the moisture, it might lead to more cracks and faults, which will lead to further water seepage. Waterproofing the basement with water-resistant paint can help protect against seepage and increase the durability of your basement for many years.

Robison Is There to Answer Your Call!

When it comes to overly damp and wet basements, we’re on call for homeowners throughout Westchester and Putnam. We handle it all —leaks, drips, burst pipes, water heaters, chimney repairs — in addition to sump pump installations — to protect your property and valuable possessions.  We also offer a range of solutions to improve Indoor Air Quality. Find out more by calling us at (914) 730-5287.

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