Basements are integral to homes, yet many homeowners fail to take the proper maintenance measures for keeping these rooms in good condition. Whether your basement is finished or not, you owe it to yourself to protect the space. Remember, a home is only as strong as its foundation!
Three things come to mind when thinking about major basement problems. We’re talking about water, mold, and radon, all of which can spell disaster for a home and its occupants. We’ll take a look at each of these issues and provide you with some simple tips to prevent them.
“Water always finds a way,” as they say. It goes without saying that flooding can destroy a home. But even small water leaks in a basement can cause major damage. Water affects floors, ceilings, and walls, along with everything that comes in contact with those spaces. It can damage and destroy water heaters, furnaces, and other mechanical system, cause wiring and electrical systems to fail, and a host of other problems. Simply put, water is one of a home’s worst enemies.
Thankfully, there are a few things a handy homeowner can do. Inspect the inside and outside of your foundation at least once a year. Outdoors, make sure gutters are clear and downspouts route water away from the home. Make sure soil grades down away from walls at ground level so that rain doesn’t pool up against the house. Back inside, seal up any cracks in the basement. Waterproof walls. Have basement plumbing, drains, and sump pumps inspected regularly. A watchful, persistent eye will be your best tool for keeping water problems away.
We know how dangerous water can be, but it also invites a whole other problem into the home. Basements are notoriously moist environments, and where there is moisture, mold tends to follow. Mold is a fungus that can damage household items like carpeting, and causes major health problems for people and pets, like asthma and respiratory problems.
If you can’t easily spot signs of mold growth, chances are good that you’ll be able to smell it. Use a dehumidifier to get basement moisture levels below 60%. Since it is attracted to moisture, many of the steps you take to keep water out of the basement will block mold, too. Have your central air system serviced regularly by a professional like Mister Quik.
It has no smell, no taste, and you can’t see it, but that doesn’t mean radon isn’t there. This radioactive gas is found naturally in soil, which puts it right at home in an underground basement. Radon causes cancer, and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is to blame for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. every year.
Because of its potentially life-threatening danger, you should test for radon in your basement. The test is simple and only takes a few minutes. Electronic radon detectors are also available, and act much like a smoke or carbon monoxide detector, alerting your family when radon levels reach dangerous levels. Even if you discover radon, you can fix the problem. Seal up cracks in walls and air vents, around plumbing pipes, and between floors. Other effective methods also exist.
Basements are great for a number of reasons, and offer families protection from severe weather. So protect this valuable asset and help safeguard your entire home. Want more ways to do it? Contact Mister Quik and learn about our many products and services specially designed to make your basement a safer, more comfortable place to call home.