ideal basement humidity

Ideal Basement Humidity: What You Need to Know

Having a hot, sticky, humid basement doesn’t sound ideal to anyone. It isn’t safe for anyone either. Here are several things you need to know about the ideal basement humidity and how to prevent it with or without a dehumidifier.

What Causes Humidity in a Basement?

If you live in a place where it’s warm all year round or if you experience a summer full of heat, you may have noticed condensation in places like your basement. Thanks to science, we know that Relative Humidity in the air rises 2.2% for every degree you cool your home. Basements tend to be the coldest parts of houses because they’re below ground and often unfinished.

During those warmer months when it’s hot and humid outside, your basement will get humid due to the temperature difference between outside and the coolness of the basement. If you live in a cooler climate or have dry summers, you may not see as much condensation or humidity in your basement.

Ideal Basement Humidity

The ideal humidity in your basement can differ based on if it’s finished or not. No matter if it is unfinished or not, it should fall between 30% to 50% humidity. When it’s humid outside or really rainy, moisture can enter into your basement walls and windows making the humidity rise all the way up to 65% to 70%! Having a finished basement does tend to result in it being less humid since it’s less drafty but it can still pose a concern to many, especially if you’re sleeping in the basement.

If you just use your basement as storage and aren’t down there much, you don’t need to worry about the ideal basement humidity as much but it can pose some health issues and damage to your property if left completely unattended to.

How to Remove Humidity From a Basement

There are plenty of different ways to remove the humidity from your basement. Below you can read about a few of the more common ways to keep your basement dry during those warm summer months!

1

​Check For Air Leaks

A lot of the time, moisture comes in through areas that aren’t sealed properly. This can happen in places that are often forgotten about like the vent your dryer exhaust comes out of and windows. You can easily buy a sealer or plug at your local store to get rid of any unwanted leaks. It's a small step but will help get you to a place where you can maintain the ideal basement humidity for your home.

2

​Moving Wet Items in Your Basement

If you have wet items in your basement whether their from a floor or you’re hanging up some damp laundry, it’s adding into the humidity in your basement. If you use other methods to take away humidity, this can slow down that process. Having wet areas of your basement can also be a breeding ground for things like mold or mildew. Air things out outside or in your garage if possible.

Moving Wet Items in Your Basement
3

Reseal Concrete

If you have an older house or your house has exposed concrete, consider having it resealed. If you don’t, condensation can build up between your walls and on the floor. This can cause things like mold. You can by a paint-and-sealer combo to add to your walls and floors to avoid moisture build-up. There are plenty of different colors to choose from so you won’t have to give up the color of your walls to get the protection sealers provide.

4

​Get a Dehumidifier

Probably the easiest way to remove humidity from your basement is by investing in a dehumidifier. They can make a world of difference in homes that have humid basements. You can buy units specifically to use in the basement that work great, otherwise there are some that help keep humidity out of your entire house! These usually won’t cost you more than $200 which is well worth the price for most people.

Dehumidifiers take the moisture out of the air which helps stop the growth of mold and can improve your sleep. Most of them are easy to set up and just require plugging in and adjusting the settings to your liking. You will need to dump out the water bin every few hours or so. You’d be surprised how much water it will collect in a short period of time!

What Humidity Should I Set My Dehumidifier to in the Basement?

Set My Dehumidifier to in the Basement

Depending on the time of year, you want your dehumidifier set to different percentages. People who experience winter in colder states, won’t even need a dehumidifier in their basement, because from them heating their home, the basement is generally dry enough. If you do use one during the winter, set it between 30% and 40% to keep things like mold and dust mites away.

Humans tend to feel comfortable with humidity between 30% and 60%. In the summer, it depends on what the air is like outside, but most people feel comfortable about 55%. If you have a temperature outdoors around 80 degrees and humidity is near 60%, that would make a basement that’s 60 degrees have a humidity of 75% which is too humid. Start out with setting it around 55% and adjust as necessary.

How to Get Rid of Humidity in a Basement Without a Dehumidifier

How to Get Rid of Humidity

Earlier you read about different ways to get humidity out of the basement, you know you don’t need to invest in a dehumidifier to get the job done. Below is a list of ways you can maintain the ideal basement humidity without using a dehumidifier to get the job done!

  • ​Dry the air with a heater or wood stove
  • ​Place containers of desiccant around the basement
  • ​Run a fan in places that get more damp than others
  • ​Keep the windows closed during the summer
  • ​Insulate the pipes in the ceiling
  • ​Insulate the walls if they aren’t already
  • ​Plug holes and cracks in the foundation with cement
  • ​Waterproof the walls with a sealer or paint
  • ​Check vents, windows and sliding glass door frames for leaks

Conclusion

Hopefully now you have a better understanding and know-how when it comes to humidity and your basement. Feel free to use any or all of the tips and tricks above to keep your basement dry and comfortable all year round!


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