Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 by Betsy Rathburn
Many basement problems are obvious right away. After all, it’s hard to overlook a rushing flood or a foundation wall caving in on itself. But what about the smaller — but still serious — issues that these more noticeable problems cause? More often than not, they’re overlooked by homeowners so overwhelmed by the bigger picture problem that they miss the details. Here are the three most commonly overlooked basement problems — and our solutions for them.
Your Problem: Mold
Lots of homeowners expect their troubles to be over after flood water is pumped out of their basement. Unfortunately, the water is only the tip of the iceberg for a lot of homeowners.In your happiness to be rid of basement water, you may find that all that moisture — especially in a cool, dark environment like the basement — has led to a nasty mold problem. If the thought of dealing with a flood makes you panic, you definitely don’t want to get stuck with mold. It can spread over your basement storage — not to mention floor joists above — and cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Our #1 piece of advice for anyone hoping to prevent mold from ever forming in their basement? Don’t let water enter in the first place! When you waterproof using durable materials proven to stand up to the big basement floods common across Minnesota and North Dakota — materials like the ones we use at Innovative Basement Authority — you’ll be protecting yourself from extensive damage to the structural integrity of your home.
But what if you already have a mold problem? We’ve got you covered. By controlling your basement’s humidity, you’ll be able to keep mold spores from reproducing. The best way to control your basement’s humidity is with a high-capacity dehumidifier.
Your Problem: Air Pollutants
Many indoor air pollutants rise into your living space through the lower portions of the home, usually the basement or crawl space. You’ve probably heard of dust mites and mold spores, but these are only a couple of the pollutants that may be present in your home. Another common indoor air pollutant is radon, an invisible gas that has been found in mild to high levels in every county across Minnesota and North Dakota. All of these pollutants can cause breathing problems, and radon has been found to be a leading cause of lung cancer.
The first thing you need to do when you’re ready to deal with your possible indoor air pollution problem is to test whether there is actually an issue. At Innovative, we can help you test your home for radon — and then help you get rid of it. A lot of the time, no matter what pollutant you’re dealing with, they enter your home through cracks in the foundation. Foundation cracks are often caused by settling or sinking foundations and come with a host of other problems, like threatening your home’s structural integrity and allowing water to enter.
Since foundation cracks are a threat to your home’s structural integrity anyway, dealing with it right now will help you tackle three problems in one. You’ll have a more stable home, a dry basement, and increased air quality.
Your Problem: High Energy Bills
Are your energy bills higher than you’d like them to be? Chances are, your basement is at least one of the causes. When there are cracks in your foundation — or around any doors and windows that might be present down there — there’s a good chance it’s costing you money. The stack effect causes the conditioned air in the upper levels of your home to be pushed out, forcing air from the outside to enter through the cracks in your basement. This means your furnace or air conditioner has to work harder, leading to wasted energy and money.
In addition to air sealing, one surefire way to make sure your basement is free of cracks is to deal with any foundation problems present. Settling foundations are extremely common in regions impacted by drought. Because Minnesota and North Dakota have experienced significant drought conditions in the past several years, it’s important to make sure your foundation isn’t compromised. After your settling foundation is lifted back to its original position or your bowing walls are stabilized, you’ll find that less outside air is entering your home.
Dealing with problem basements is complicated enough before throwing in all of the smaller, overlooked issues that can be the result of bigger problems. When you work with Innovative Basement Authority, our basement specialists will be able to help you deal with any problem that may arise — big or small. Better yet, we’ll help you identify problems you may have overlooked and assist you in coming up with the best solution possible for your basement.
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