When you’re in your basement, does it ever look like the walls are sweating? You might be wondering what’s causing this basement condensation and how to prevent it.
It’s actually a fairly common issue. The exposed concrete in most unfinished basements can experience condensation, which people often mistake for water seeping through the walls. The water comes from introducing warm, moist air to the earth-cooled surface of the concrete. Once that warm air cools, the moisture it holds is released, showing up as the water droplets you see on the wall.
Two ways to prevent basement condensation
So how can you stop your basement walls from sweating? There are two ways to fix this kind of moisture problem:
- Warming the concrete to the point where condensation won’t form.
- Isolating the basement’s concrete surfaces from the interior living space.
The first solution is simply a matter of looping the basement space into your home’s overall heating and cooling system. The second solution makes your basement look more like a regular room by covering up the concrete walls with a freestanding wall system. These walls may consist of traditional studs and drywall or one of the new, more breathable and moisture-proof technologies like Owens Corning’s Basement Finishing System.
Dry out the air in the basement with a dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is another way to control basement humidity. For most people this means using a portable unit that runs day and night condensing water out of the air, which collects in a tub that has to be emptied out every so often. A better way to solve the problem once and for all is to install a whole-house dehumidifier, like those from Aprilaire. Installed in your heating and cooling system, a whole-house dehumidifier works 24/7/365 to take out excess humidity. In fact, an Aprilaire model can remove over 11 gallons of water a day, leaving you cool and comfortable.
Controlling basement moisture is key to preventing mold and a necessary first step if you want to fully finish the space. Once you understand how condensation forms on the walls of your basement, it’s easy to stop it using the methods explained above.
Pamela S Oberg-Sutton
Is it possible to insulate the outside of the house? Like with a wrap or some type of foam? it seems to be the mostly on the north wall, and it’s just concrete above ground (about 2 feet) that causes the condensation?