LESLIE: Jennifer in Illinois is on the line with a moist basement. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
JENNIFER: Well, an older home with a basement that is not wet. It is humid. Now, in the wintertime, like right now, it is much drier with the furnace running. But during the spring and summer, it runs 80-percent humidity down there. We have good gutters, downspouts directed away from the house but we still have this humidity problem. What could it be?
TOM: Well, if you’re having high humidity, especially in the spring and the summer, certainly surface drainage at the foundation perimeter can contribute to that. So it sounds like you understand the principles that are in play here and that your – I’m going to assume your gutter systems are properly sized and the downspouts are at least discharging 4 feet from the house. And the soil is sloping away from the building on all sides and that it’s well compact fill dirt, not a lot of topsoil or mulch or any type of stone or brick edging that’s holding water against the house. You need to first move the water against – away from the house using all of those elements at your disposal.
Now, if you’ve done all that, then it might be time to talk about dehumidification. Now, when it comes to dehumidification, certainly most of us are familiar with the portable dehumidifiers that sit in the corner of the basement and they have a bucket attached to them and they fill up, right?
TOM: Well, I mean those are OK but they’re not really totally efficient in terms of really moving a lot of moisture. There are much better-quality dehumidifiers that are out there and there are also things called “whole-home dehumidifiers.” Do you have a ducted HVAC system?
JENNIFER: We have a furnace but it does not have air conditioning in the house. We need to get that and we will. We’re fixing it up.
TOM: So you have a forced-air heating system but you just don’t have A/C yet?
TOM: Well, is that a project that you’re thinking about adding sometime in the near future?
TOM: Well, that’s going to help a lot because that’s actually going to take a lot of moisture out of the house. But one thing you might want to think about adding to that is something called a “whole-home dehumidifier.” This is an additional appliance that is mounted near the furnace, in the basement. And these whole-home dehumidifiers – you can Google them – they take out anywhere from 90 to 100 pints of water per day from the air. So they’re moisture-moving machines.
TOM: And so that’s another option for you. But you can also take a look at – if you want to go with just maybe a less expensive but good-quality dehumidifier, take a look at Therma-Stor, T-h-e-r-m-a-S-t-o-r. That’s a manufacturer of dehumidifiers: a very good-quality dehumidifier line called Ultra-Aire. I actually have one of those in my house and I’m very, very happy with it.
JENNIFER: Ultra-Aire and it’s made by Therma-Stor?
TOM: Therma-Stor. Yep, yep. Therma-Stor.
JENNIFER: Oh, thank you. I’ve learned so much. We will do that and do the dehumidifier on the A/C and then the Ultra-Aire Therma-Stor. Thank you so much.