LESLIE: Next up, we’re going to talk to Heather in Connecticut who seems to be having a humidity problem at home.
What’s going on, Heather?
HEATHER: We have a problem. We can smell mold and my husband has heard of a system called Humidex.
LESLIE: Well, what is your current humidity management system at your home?
HEATHER: A dehumidifier.
LESLIE: So strictly one down in the basement and nowhere else in the house.
TOM: Well, I think the system you’re talking about is just another type of dehumidifier. The problem with all of those particular systems is just that they work just in that one, particular space. They don’t really treat the house as a whole. A better option is something called a whole-house dehumidifier, a whole-home dehumidifier.
Do you have a ducted heating and air conditioning system in your house?
HEATHER: No, we have baseboard.
TOM: Ah, you have baseboard. Yeah, that makes it hard because you don’t – see, a whole-house dehumidifier – there’s one out there by Aprilaire that works really well but it’s mounted into your HVAC system and this way it dehumidifies the whole house.
So let’s kind of go back to the basics here and talk about some other things that you can do to reduce moisture in that basement area.
Leslie, let’s start outside.
LESLIE: Alright, well first there’s a couple of things you want to check. You want to make sure that the grading, which is how the ground goes away from your house or towards your house – well, what you want to do is make sure that it’s going away from your house; all of your landscaping, any sort of things that you might have right on the side of your house goes away so that you’re not depositing water right into the foundation.
Also, you want to check your gutters and your downspouts. You want to make sure that your gutters are always clean. Keep them as clean as you can because if they’re too full, they’re not doing their job properly. Water’s just going to spill out and get right into the foundation. And also, check the location of your downspouts. You want to make sure that they’re not depositing any water that’s coming down from the roof right back into your foundation. You want to make sure that it’s going about at least 3 feet away from the foundation of your house to keep it away from the walls.
TOM: Yeah, Heather, if you manage that water on the outside, you’re going to have far less humidity on the inside and then whatever is left will probably – the dehumidifier will probably handle that.
Now this area of your house, of your basement, that’s finished, does it have carpet on the floor?
HEATHER: No. We’ve removed all the carpeting.
TOM: Good for you because that’s a big mistake. You never want to carpet a basement floor because that is throwing mold food to the mold.
HEATHER: Right, exactly.
TOM: Alright, well take a look outside. See if you can reduce the moisture on the outside of your house. That really is the best way. Managing that moisture will go a long way towards keeping that mold from building up. OK?
HEATHER: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.