Your Wet Basement May Be Costing You More Money Than You Would Pay to Have it Fixed
Your basement is unsightly, unpleasant, and uncomfortable. It is dark, dingy and smells horribly. However, since you only use it to store some items or as a laundry room, you don’t really care much about how your
basement looks and feels like. You only go there when strictly necessary and rarely spend more than a few minutes in it.
Truth is that your cave-like basement is more than just an eye sore. It might be costing you a lot of money as well, and in more than one way.
Wet Basements Increase Heating and Cooling Costs
Humid air costs much more to both heat and cool and, if you think that it is only a problem if you want to cool or heat the basement, think twice.
Due to a physics phenomenon known as “stack effect” – which refers to the way the air moves in a building – 1/3 of the air you breathe on the upper floors of your home is coming straight from your basement. That means that the moisture in that basement air is consistently being carried upstairs, making your whole house more difficult to cool and heat.
How difficult? According to a U.S. Department of Energy’s Report, an insulated basement can save homeowners across the U.S. anywhere between $250 and $450 dollars a year in energy bills. Therefore, keeping your basement humid and not providing any kind of moisture or thermal protection is costing you at least that much.
Wet Basements Ruin your Indoor Air Quality
Moisture is not the only undesirable thing being carried from the basement into the above floors. Mold and dust mites thrive in wet basements, therefore mold spores and dust mite pellets, the two main triggers of most indoor allergies, are also finding their way into your home.
Your wet basement is not only costing you more money in utilities; it is ruining your indoor air quality. It might even be making someone in your family sick or uncomfortable. That alone can be burden on your budget in times of soaring healthcare costs.
Wet Basements Decrease Property Value and Make a Home Hard to Sell
No one likes a wet basement and home buyers know that if they buy a home with one such basement, the seller’s problem will become their own. The water stains, puddles, wall cracks or even mold smells can render a home very difficult, if not impossible to sell.
According to Builder Magazine 19% of home buyers won’t even consider a fixer-upper.
In addition, a wet basement is counted within the 12 Red Flags, Realty Times recommend home buyers to watch out for,and About.com counts wet basements among the top ten reasons buyers will hate your home.
Anyone willing to buy a home with a leaky basement will probably expect a substantial discount. A wet basement decreases property value by 10 to 25% and there is no way to cover it up. In most states, sellers are required to disclose basement water problems and can be held liable if they don’t, even after the property is sold.
Even if you are going to sell your home in the near future, having the basement waterproofed is the best course of action. Not only you can ask for full price on your property, but good waterproofing companies will offer a Transferable Lifetime Warranty that will cover the buyer. That alone is a great selling point for your home.
Wet Basement = Flood Prone Basement
When it comes to basements, today’s water stains are tomorrow’s flood. During heavy rains the faulty ground drainage that is now causing the water to seep through the wall and floors will cause your basement to flood. It is not a matter of if, but when and how much.
Experience shows that one can never be prepared enough for a basement flood. Even if you only use it for storage, laundry or to house utilities. Even if you have all your appliances and belongings raised from the floor to minimize damage, a basement flood is always a hassle, and a costly one most of the time. According to Floodsmart.gov, 2 inches of flood water can cost you around $7,800 USD.
There is the messy cleanup, the damaged property, the common hazards (electricity, fire, contamination), the potential for mold growth in the aftermath. If you don’t have flood insurance, none of the damage is covered. Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.
In addition, according to FEMA and Floodsmart.gov, even if you do have flood insurance, not every flood qualifies for coverage under these policies. The flooded area must be of at least 2 acres or at least a couple of your neighbors must have been affected as well, for your claim to be considered.
Also, in these policies, the coverage is very limited when it comes to basements. Some finishing material and some of your property may not be covered at all.
Affordable Basement Flood Prevention Technologies
For much less than you might think, you can get all these problems solved for good. Modern internal basement drainage systems, and state-of-the-art sump pump systems – which include battery operated back up pump, alarm, and an automatic switch that will cause another pump to kick in when the main pump is having problems – will reduce the odds of a basement flood to statistical insignificance. Powerful and energy efficient basement dehumidifiers will reduce RH levels to prevent mold problems.
These can be installed in a couple of days, with minimal disruption, for a fraction of the cost of a conventional drainage system or external french drain.
Unlike external french drains which are buried by the footing and can only be fixed by digging out the foundation, good internal drainage systems remain serviceable throughout the years. They can be fitted with service ports that allow them to be examined and flushed as needed. Which is why they are usually backed by a Transferable Lifetime Warranty, by the companies that install them.
Having your basement protected is one of the the best investments you can make on your home. The energy savings alone will pay for the cost of the repairs, overtime.
As an extra incentive, if you decide to insulate or finish your basement after waterproofing it, you might qualify for one or more of the federal government loans or tax incentive programs, recently made available to homeowners seeking to improve their home’s energy efficiency.
So as you consider home maintenance and repairs priorities and try to budget accordingly, consider this: can you really afford to keep that basement wet?
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