Here in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware region, winter can really be a strange beast. The weather can swing from 10-degrees one night to nearly 60 the next day. And, these higher temperature days usually come with rain, dampness and humidity. All of this can cause your basement and crawl space to get damp and moldy, and in some cases, can lead to leaks and cracks. Once this starts, damages get worse fast.
In the North East, even when it’s quite cold out rain, colder temperatures and humidity combine with clay soil and push a ton of pressure onto your basement and foundation walls. This is how dampness and leaks in the basement or crawl space starts.Despite what many believe, dampness in your basement or crawl space is NOT ok.
In fact, no matter what region of the United States you live in, dampness in the basement is a huge red flag that there are deeper problems.
So, even when temperatures drop, there’s still a lot of humidity in the atmosphere. Humidity and rain put your foundation and basement under near constant attack.
Because the basement is under ground, it is cooler than the rest of the house but it also is surrounded by a lot of dirt…dirt that grows and expands with water and temperature changes. Once the pressure builds, the walls can crack.
Cracks lead to leaks and dampness.
How do you know if you have a damp basement?
If your basement is damp and wet, you’ll see:
- Water and moisture stains on the walls and floor of the cellar
- White Streaks on the walls
- “Sweat” on the walls and floor, especially in the spring and summer
- White Streaks on the walls- Mold and mildew on the walls (or anywhere else in the basement)
If you see these signs, you have several problems, including mold and mildew growth, possible structural problems on the inside and outside walls, and the potential for full blown flooding when it rains.
Water will get inside your walls and eat away at the cement and cinder block. So, that little bit of moisture you saw is showing you that there is much more water inside the walls and it will cause cracks and leaks.
These are expensive fixes.
How Do You Fix The Problem?
First thing to do is call a qualified basement waterproofing contractor, preferably one who can also provide a mold inspector. Once the mold is removed, the contractor can install a basement waterproofing system that will make sure the basement This will almost always include the installation of a high quality dehumidifier. It will or crawl space stays completely dry for good.
It does this by removing moisture from the equation. So, even when it is ultra humid or is raining a great deal, the basement will be able to handle the pressure from the expanded soil and keep dampness and mold at bay.