Keeping Your Basement Dry In The Summer

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Our home basement is finished, and have no leaks.  But, even though there are no visible leaks we still have a humidifier in the basement to keep the humidity low.  The air seems cleaner, and the water collected every day reminds us that having a humidifier in the basement is a good thing. Keeping your basement dry and your humidifier working can ensure that your family will enjoy a dry basement where the children can play, and you will have no worries about the accumulation of mold or the humidity levels.

For more about tips to keep your basement dry, follow the links below.


To prevent rot and mold behind your home’s brick walls, make sure the weep holes are not blocked

I live in a brick townhouse. In the back, there is a patio door leading to a concrete deck. The patio door sits on top of some brickwork. I’m trying to make sure the patio door is all sealed up, keeping out any and all moisture. I’ve noticed what seem to be round weep holes along the very bottom of the brickwork. I would like to plug them with some mortar to keep the moisture level down. Will this do any harm? What purpose do the weep holes serve?— Todd J., Newport News, Va.

Whatever you do, do not fill those weep holes. They’re an integral part of the drainage system to keep water from building up behind the brick. If allowed to contact any untreated lumber, this water will cause serious wood rot, mold and, eventually, structural problems with your home.

Allow me to explain the dynamics of brick walls, brick veneer and rain, and you’ll be able to do a fantastic job of protecting everything behind the brick.

Brick walls leak water. They have always leaked water. Builders and masons from hundreds of years ago knew this and developed a set of best practices to ensure that their brick buildings did not fall apart.

Sadly, for years, lots of this information was handed down by word of mouth. To add insult to injury, not all brick masons today are required to learn all the history about brick construction. If they had a better understanding of what’s going on, they’d be able to do a better job of preventing water infiltration.


Drain in slab floor might be salvageable without breaking concrete

Q. Our house has concrete slab floors, no basement or crawl. Our air conditioner and water softener used to drain to an opening in the floor in the utility closet, but the drain is stopped up. I was told I would have to break the concrete floor to fix the drain and am hoping you might be able to give me some ideas to fix this without taking out the floor.

A. A stopped-up drain can often be cleaned using a plumber’s snake. The drainpipe may have a simple 90-degree bend or there may be a P-trap under the floor if the drain is connected to a sanitary sewer system. It takes a little more shoving and turning if there is a P-trap. If there is a blockage in the pipe, the plumber’s snake will either break up the blockage or push it past the bends in the drainpipe and into the main sewer or drain line. When you remove the plumber’s snake there may be debris attached to the snake, so have a waste can or newspapers handy to clean the snake.

I strongly recommend using rubber gloves and eye protection. In older homes with cast-iron drains, the drainpipe may have collapsed and can no longer be used. If this happens you can use a lift pump to drain the condensate from the air conditioner. The pump has a small reservoir and a float switch that comes on when the reservoir is full. The pump can be drained to a washing machine drain, a sink in the laundry or directly to the yard.


7 Signs You Need a Dehumidifier

If you have a home that seems to have a dampness problem, it might be time to look for a dehumidifier. When excess moisture is detected in your home, first you should figure out the cause, then take steps to remedy the problem. Here, we’ll look at seven signs that indicate you might need a dehumidifier.

1. Mold spots on the ceiling or corners

If you notice mold anywhere in your house, it is generally a sign of excess humidity and time to get the best dehumidifier you can find. Bathrooms can’t air out steam and excess humidity, making them prime areas for mold to grow. It can grow on walls, ceilings, or around toilets and showers. For mold to affect your breathing you don’t even have to see it — it just has to be in your house. Try running the fan in your bathroom after each shower and work on keeping your ventilation system clean.

Small mold patches are a problem because they can quickly spread. They usually appear in clusters of small black spots but can also be gray brown or green in color. Mycotoxins, which come from toxic molds, can actually cause respiratory problems, inflammation, and mental impairment.


 

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