Dehumidification Learning Center
Overview: Dehumidification in the Basement or Crawl Space
Why is moisture control important?
One way moisture enters basements and crawl spaces is through block walls.
Without water, life cannot exist. But that doesn’t mean it’s always welcome, especially in our homes. Excess moisture, whether in the form of water or high relative humidity, is typically the number one enemy of buildings and their contents. It can wreak all sorts of havoc:
- Moisture causes dry rot, or decay, which weakens structural components.
- Moisture invites structure-damaging insects, such as termites and carpenter ants.
- Moisture causes metals to corrode, including valve handles, ducts, HVAC equipment, and tools.
- Stored paper goods and clothing can become mildewed and stained when the relative humidity rises above 60 percent.
- In summer, excess relative humidity (RH) causes your AC to work harder than needed.
- When there's high RH, siding and other building materials soak up higher-than-normal moisture, causing the paint to peel from siding and exterior trim.
- High relative humidity allows mold and dust mites to thrive, which can worsen respiratory problems, such as asthma and allergies.
Sources of water vapor in the home
Moisture from surrounding soil can enter a crawl space or basement as water or water vapor and from there, water vapor can migrate throughout the house. In addition, below-grade spaces are like condensation machines. Warm, moist air comes in contact with cool surfaces and creates condensation. Other sources of moisture include:
- Breathing: 2.88 lb/day per person
- Laundry (if not vented to the outside): 1 lb for each 1 lb. of clothes
- Bath: 0.12lb/each per bath and 0.5 lb/each per shower
- Kitchen: 3 lb. from floor mopping; 4.7 lb. per day when cooking with gas, 2 lb/day when cooking with electric, 1 lb for dishwashing
- Pets, aquariums, houseplants, humidifiers, unvented space heaters, plumbing and roof leaks, open sump basins, and new construction materials can also raise moisture levels in the home.
Source: Michigan State University Extension
Dehumidification: The Anti-Mold. Besides fixing a water leak, which is imperative to preventing the growth of mold in your home, removing moisture from the air is necessary to make your home mold and mildew free.
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