It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

That is something I found out this week.  I told you about it being a wet year so far; we’ve got one week left to go in July, and already we have had twice the usual rainfall for the month.  I also told you about the challenge we’re having keeping water out of the basement, every time it rains.  On the first day of June, Leive and I put caulk in the south corner, where the wall meets the floor.  That stopped another problem—ants bringing in dirt—but a little water still got in after each rainstorm, requiring us to keep a few towels in that corner to catch it.  What’s more, mildew keeps appearing on the wall in that spot, and the wooden floor has warped enough to remind us that we’ll have to replace it someday.

This month hasn’t been too hot, by July standards; only eight days with a temperature of 90 degrees or more, and today it only got up to 81.  Still, I’ve been sweating indoors like we were getting last year’s triple-digit temperatures.  Now I know why.  In my basement office is a pair of gauges to give me the temperature and relative humidity around my desk.  Earlier this week while sweltering, I took a look at the gauges, and while the temperature was only 76 degrees, the humidity was 80%!  This month the basement has been a moisture trap.

The first thing I did about it was put out some chemical moisture absorbers I bought at the store; they worked, but only a little.  This morning was quite cool, so I opened the basement door for an hour or two; that brought down both the inside temperature and humidity, but of course we can’t rely on that as a long-term solution.  Then in the afternoon we had a repairman come over, and he suggested four things:

1.  Find the end of the foundation drain and extend it beyond the house.

2. Pile more rocks and dirt on the outside around the south corner (Leive’s initial solution), to help keep the water from coming in.

3. Look to see if there are any leaks above ground level, and make sure the gutters aren’t clogged.

4. Get a dehumidifier to dry out the air inside.

#4 was the only task I had time to do this evening, so I went to Home Depot, bought a small dehumidifier (guaranteed to remove 30 pints of moisture at a time), and set that up in the basement.  It’s running now, so we’ll see how it works over the next few days, while we implement the other suggestions.

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