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Avoid Water Damage From Wet Basements and Crawl Spaces

Updated on October 11, 2011
crawl space, dirt floor, damp wall | image credit: istockphoto | slobo
crawl space, dirt floor, damp wall | image credit: istockphoto | slobo

Recent storms and hurricanes caught many homeowners by surprise. Sadly many had homes that were destroyed or damaged severely. They had their lives turned upside down. My thoughts and prayers go out to them for their recovery from these costly events.

Untold thousands of homes have wet basements and crawl spaces. This dampness causes incipient damage by mildew and mold.

Even without the heavy rains of recent months, wet basements and crawl spaces were caused by high water tables and water vapor pressure that forced moisture through walls at every crack and fissure.

There are at least three things homeowners can do to reduce future damage from wet basements and crawl spaces --

Reduce further damage

Here are four things homeowners can do to reduce future damage from wet basements and crawl spaces:--

1 - know your water and moisture risks

Determine where water and moisture risk are located.

  • Do your gutters and downspouts work properly?
  • Can they handle intense storms?
  • Do your basement or crawl space walls have adequate outside surface drainage?
  • Is there a functioning underground drainage system along the outside walls?
  • Do the basement or crawl space walls have adequate outside waterproofing?
  • Does your basement or crawl space have proper ventilation?

You may want to hire a professional to help you answer these questions.

2 - Fix any problems

Once you have a better understanding of your water and moisture risks, you should plan to fix the problems. It may be tough in these hard economic times to set aside money for these jobs -- but your savings by avoiding future damage from wet basements and crawl spaces. And you'll enjoy new-found peace of mind.

Temp Minder MRI-177AN Full-Color Weather Station with Barometer
Temp Minder MRI-177AN Full-Color Weather Station with Barometer

Measures barometric pressure, inside and outside temperature, heat index, and dew point. Has an Atomic clock. Includes one wireless remote sensor with a range of 100 meters. This instrument can monitor up to three remote sensors.

 
Minotaur Engineering WSI1 INSTEON Water/ Moisture Sensor -- make this a part of an Insteon home automation netork | image credit: smarthome
Minotaur Engineering WSI1 INSTEON Water/ Moisture Sensor -- make this a part of an Insteon home automation netork | image credit: smarthome

3 - Install a water and moisture monitor

This is not as complicated as it sounds. Place a humidity, temperature and dew point sensor in your basement or crawl space and place the monitor in a convenient place where you can check it regularly.

The wireless Minder Research weather station shown to the right available from Amazon includes a sensor that you can place in the crawl space. An additional sensor can be placed outside so you can compare the crawl space dew point with the outside dew point.

The wired Extech monitor also available from Amazon it includes a dew point monitor that triggers an alert when the dew point is reached or exceeded.

Install one or more water sensors that will trigger an alarm if water is detected on the basement or crawl space floor.

The device shown on the right can easily be made part of an affordable Insteon home automation network. Read on.

I/O Linc - INSTEON Telephone Alert Kit -- Receive a Phone Call to Alert You of a Condition or Status Change on Your INSTEON Network | image credit: smarthome
I/O Linc - INSTEON Telephone Alert Kit -- Receive a Phone Call to Alert You of a Condition or Status Change on Your INSTEON Network | image credit: smarthome

4 - Consider a home automation network

This too is not as complicated as it sounds. Your setup will automatically turn on a red lamp when moisture is detected in your crawl space detected.

You can also connect your network to a telephone dialer so that your cell phone will receive a pre-recorded message whenever the a basement water sensor detects basement or crawl space moisture. Another hub provides more details on how to set up moisture alert via telephone.

This setup requires an input-output link (included with the telephone dialer), a web-enabled central controller and plug-in lamp modules. Insteon home automation is affordable. And iInsteon is the home automation network of choice among do-it-yourselfers.


Cleaning up basement or crawl space water damage is not fun

Take preventive measures like the ones suggested in this hub to avoid nasty cleanups in the future.

Do you have other suggestions for readers?

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