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Condensation in basement windows.

The Causes & Effects of Basement Moisture

Homeowners in Pennsylvania understand basement moisture is bad, but what causes it and how does it affect your home? Keep reading to learn more.

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Moisture in your basement is bad, sure … but, not as bad as visible water, right? 

Maybe not. 

Moisture can be sneaky. Hiding behind boxes and lurking in the air. High moisture levels are easier to ignore, but that doesn’t make it okay.  

Moisture on basement walls and floor breeds mold, and high humidity causes condensation, resulting in even more problems. 

Keep reading to learn what causes basement moisture and how it affects your home.  


Basement Moisture: Causes

The clay soil and above-average rainfall in Pennsylvania contribute to the moisture in your basement. Learn the common basement moisture causes.  

Water Leaks

One of the obvious reasons for basement moisture is water leaks. Your basement is essentially a hole in the ground with loose backfilled soil surrounding it.  

This loose soil allows water to easily penetrate causing an artificial water table just outside your basement. Water pressure pushing on your wall causes cracks, allowing water and water vapor to easily enter. 

Grading Issues

When your home was initially built, crews should have graded your yard to direct water away, rather than toward your foundation.  

Over time, erosion, new construction, or general use can cause the grade to shift, directing water to pool next to your foundation. 

By hiring a landscaping company, you can correct the grade, ensuring water flows away from your home.

Broken Gutters

Your gutter system plays an important role in keeping your basement dry since its main goal is to keep water away from your foundation. A failing system can cause basement moisture very quickly. 

Homeowners should clean gutters at least once a year and inspect them regularly to make sure there aren’t any clogs. Broken or sagging gutters dump water directly next to your home, causing erosion and contributing to troublesome hydrostatic pressure.

Faulty Sump Pump

Like other appliances, a sump pump is prone to mechanical issues and has a lifespan of around 10 years. To stop basement moisture issues, be sure to inspect your sump pump regularly, flushing it with water to ensure it works properly. 

Installing a unit with multiple backup pumps, especially a dedicated pump in case of a power outage goes a long way to ensuring peace of mind.   

Faulty Sump Pump

Like other appliances, a sump pump is prone to mechanical issues and has a lifespan of around 10 years. To stop basement moisture issues, be sure to inspect your sump pump regularly, flushing it with water to ensure it works properly. 

Installing a unit with multiple backup pumps, especially a dedicated pump in case of a power outage goes a long way to ensuring peace of mind.   

High Humidity

Humidity in Pennsylvania is a real problem. Your basement is humid and often cooler than the main living area of your home. When the warm air mixes with the humid, cool air in the basement, condensation occurs.  

High humidity leading to condensation causes mold and mildew, often in areas that aren’t easily visible. 

Leaky Windows

While basement windows allow in much needed natural light, they are also a common cause of water leaks. Epoxy and caulk can help temporarily, but replacing leaking windows is the only way to stop basement moisture.

Basement Moisture: Effects

Now that you understand the common causes of basement moisture, let’s discuss how it affects your home. 

Mold

When homeowners in Pennsylvania think of basement moisture, they think of mold. 

Mold causes respiratory problems, like sneezing and coughing, and can be especially troublesome for children, the elderly, and those with asthma.

Wood Rot

Mold needs three things to survive: water, oxygen, and food. Organic material, like the wood responsible for holding your home’s weight, is the perfect food source for mold.  

Mold eats away at wood, causing the wood to rot and leaving your home’s structural integrity at risk. 

Musty Odors

What is that smell?  

Often musty odors are the first sign of a basement moisture issue. Not only does mold have a damp, earthy smell, but standing water and damp carpeting express a pungent odor to alert you to a problem. 

High Energy Bills

Humid air causes temperatures to feel warmer, resulting in homeowners cranking up the AC.  

Increased air conditioning usage leads to high energy consumption, leaving you with a big bill. 

Pests

Dark, damp areas are the ideal environment for all kinds of creepy crawlers. From ants to spiders, and even rodents, a basement with moisture issues is ideal.  

You can be sure pests won’t stay in the basement. Once they gain access, they are sure to travel throughout the living area of your home.

How Moisture Harms Your Basement

From musty smells to rotting wood, moisture in your basement is nothing to be ignored.  

DIY remedies only put a bandage on the problem, without addressing the root cause, wasting your time and money in the process.  

Waterproofing professionals use proven products and techniques to keep your basement dry permanently. It’s important to choose a company with a proven track record and years of experience working in Pennsylvania.  

Baker’s Waterproofing experts understand the wet weather and troublesome clay soil in Pennsylvania and offer industry-leading solutions backed by long-term, national warranties.  

Learn more and schedule your inspection today.  

Basement Moisture

FAQ

Unfortunately, yes, but it doesn’t mean it’s okay. Because of the clay soil in Pennsylvania, the above-average rainfall, and how basements are constructed, having damp walls is common.  

Damp means water, and water leads to mold if left untreated.  

Contacting a waterproofing specialist when you notice damp walls ensures a healthy basement. 

Vacuuming water and running fans will help to remove water temporarily, but the only way to permanently dry out your basement is through waterproofing.  

Basement waterproofing typically involves a perimeter drain, sump pump, and dehumidifier to keep basement walls, floors, and air moisture free. 

No. Any amount of water is bad for your basement. If you notice water in your basement, even a small amount, you can be sure more water will follow. 

In addition to checking your gutters, a basement waterproofing system may be needed to stop water before it causes costly problems.  

Call Baker’s for a Free Estimate!

Our expert team at Baker’s Waterproofing is happy to provide homeowners with expert repairs in locations throughout Pennsylvania, including: 

  • Johnstown 
  • Lehigh Valley 
  • Mechanicsburg  
  • Huntingdon 
  • Meadville 

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Baker's Waterproofing Service Areas

Our Locations

Central PA

3819 N Susquehanna Trail
Shamokin Dam, PA  17876

Harrisburg

922 North 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102

Hermitage

701 North Hermitage Rd, Suite 25,
Hermitage, PA 16148

Pittsburgh

5 Industrial Road, Building B
Washington, PA 15301

Wilkins Township

201 Penn Center Blvd Suite 400

Wilkins Township, PA 15235

York, PA

800 E King St, Suite 518
York, PA 17402