Summer is here, and that means rainstorms and hot weather. These two things generally don’t mix well when it comes to keeping your basement dry, as inconsistent humidity levels can lead to an uncomfortable, damp house and basement.
Unfortunately, a damp or wet basement is all too common, as the American Society of Home Inspectors reports that 60% of homes nationwide have wet basements. This moisture can come from a variety of sources: rain or groundwater, interior moisture sources such as showers and humidifiers, or humid outdoor air.
To prevent a humid and wet home, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends keeping a home’s indoor relative humidity between 45% and 55%. Relative humidity, also known as RH, is the amount of moisture in the air in relation to the maximum amount of vapor the air can hold at a specific temperature. For example, an RH of 100% means that the air in the home contains all the water vapor it can hold, so when the air reaches an RH above this level, moisture begins to condense from the air to create a damp environment.
Air humidity is greater in the summertime simply because warm air is able to hold more moisture than cold air. This humid indoor air increases the risk of basement water damage because a lot of finished basements use drywall. Drywall is gypsum plaster pressed between two sheets of paper, and condensation can easily soak through and saturate the walls.
Not only this, but indoor humidity also puts a greater demand on your air conditioner to level out the moisture in the air. And according to the U.S. Department of Energy, 48% of the home’s energy use goes to heating and cooling, especially in the summertime. So, waterproofing your basement will not only reduce the risk of water damage, but will also allow you to save money by cutting back on your energy usage!
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