Don’t Let your Baltimore Basement Get Caught in the Rain! 5 Steps to a Dry Basement.

Don’t Let your Baltimore Basement Get Caught in the Rain! 5 Steps to a Dry Basement.

Flooded BasementWhen it rains it pours in Baltimore! Are you loosing sleep with the recent heavy rains, afraid you might wake up to a flooded or wet basement?

Here’s some handy tips from Mr. Basement, Baltimore’s  authority on basement and crawl space environments for a dry, worry free basement!

1- Correct drainage
Ensure roof water disperses properly.
Run discharge lines to storm sewer (code in many areas)
No negative grades (aka the ground shouldn’t slope towards your home!) 

2 – Seal any openings that may allow water intrusion
Window wells should be sealed and free of debris like leaves, trash and sticks
Door ‘trench’ floor drains should flow freely

3 – Mind the sump pump
Your sump pump should have the correct pumping capacity for your home.
It should be checked by our service department once per year – we service all brands of waterproofing pumps.
The sump pit should have a secure cover to keep out kids, their toys and pets

4 – Install a dependable battery back-up for the sump pump.
Keep in mind that ll brands are NOT equal.Our UltraSumps have a state of the art charging system + high pumping capacity

5 – Don’t waste money on consumer grade dehumidifiers
Energy grade dehumidifiers are not the most cost-effectice choice for your basement. 
Their energy efficiency is sub-standard, and running one to dry a basement can become very expensive.
Instead, consider the Basement Doctor’s SaniDry professional grade dehumidifier and air filtration miracle machine.
It removes 4 times more water than consumer grade dehumidifiers for a fraction of the cost.
It filters your home’s air and connects to your home’s HVAC system.
It’s like a dehumidifier on steroids!

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Old Houses #1: New Waterproofing Technologies to Help Old House Basements – by CyFree | HomeRefurbers.com :: home improvement, remodeling and building community

Photo by Flickr user Jimmy_Joe

There is something about old houses that fascinates people. They have an almost inexplicable charm of their own, that we can’t help but fall in love with.

Ask anyone who ever bought a distressed old house to restore and they will try to explain their investment by pointing to the richness of architectural details, the sturdiness of the construction, its historical value. Some will happily tell you about how they were on a budget, and what a great deal it was buying such a gem so cheap. They will happily tell you that when they put some work to it, the property value will soar.

But the truth is that buying an old house is, for the most part, an emotional choice and, restoring it is a labor of love.

One of the main problems homeowners face when restoring old houses, are the chronically wet basements.

Since basements are buried in wet ground, with materials that are porous (concrete, bricks, stone), the soil around the foundation walls needs to be kept as dry as possible, year round, to prevent basement leaks, basement floods and wet basement problems.

If you are restoring an old house, there are several steps you need to take to accomplish that, including:

– Keep gutters clean and in good working conditions. Install them if you don’t have any or upgrade old, rusty ones.
– Extend downspouts to discharge as far from the house as possible
– Grade the terrain as to slope away from the house
– Improve foundation drainage.

Modern houses are built with french drains, which are perforated pipes buried by the footing, to provide adequate drainage. Old houses, on the other hand, may not have such systems in place. Because builders didn’t know back then what we know now, many of these houses have improper foundation drainage, and some have no drainage system in place at all.

In addition, because conventional french drains tend to fail overtime, some houses have them but they are now clogged or collapsed.

Installing or replacing a conventional french drain in an old house can be a hassle. You will need to dig out foundations, disturb the landscape and, if the house has a deck or a porch, it will need to be completely removed so that the french drain can be buried by the footing. In an old house, that can be specially challenging: the great wood used to build it as well as priceless antique embellishments can be damaged in the process.

There are, however, modern alternatives to conventional french drains that can be installed with much less disruption and for a fraction of the cost: internal perimeter drainage systems.

For the past 20 years, internal drainage systems have been using with success to stop basement leaks. They are installed by jack hammering a few inches of the basement floor, close to the wall and installing a drain tile that will intercept the ground water and divert it to a sump pump.

Besides the easier installation, these systems can be fitted with service ports and will remain serviceable for the life of the structure, unlike conventional french drains. That is why good basement waterproofing companies offer Transferable Lifetime Warranties on their internal perimeter drainage systems.

Working Sump Pump in a Leaky Basement: What is Wrong? : Basement Files

Working Sump Pump in a Leaky Basement: What is Wrong?

leaky basement

I am frequently approached by customers puzzled by the fact that their basements, despite having a good working sump pump and sometimes even a backup, still leaks.

Aren’t sump pumps supposed to prevent leaks?
Yes they are, in part.
The truth is that, the sump pump alone, in one corner of the basement will not keep it dry if there is nothing to divert the water to that sump pit.
To keep your basement dry, all the water around the foundation needs to be intercepted and collected by a good, working drainage system.  Water is pretty tricky, If you don’t intercept it and divert properly, it will follow the path of least resistance and find its way into the basement.
If your house is not too old, chances are that you have a french drain or weeping tile buried by the foundation footing to collect the water. However, if the sump pump and backup system are working and you are still getting water in the basement, your french drain is clearly not working.
It is clogged, improperly installed or simply collapsed.
When that happens, a lot of homeowners are told by contractors to install additional pumps in the leaky corners of the basement. In our experience, only homes set in specially high water tables or built over underground springs really need more that one sump pit and sump pump system.
The vast majority of basement leaks can be solved with a good drainage system and a powerfull sump pump system.
In other words, until you get that drainage problem fixed, no amount of sump pumps will give you a guaranteed dry basement.
The good news is that, thanks to new basement waterproofing technologies, a new drainage system can be installed without digging out the foundations
Modern internal perimeter drainage systems can be installed inside the basement, along the internal perimeter of the basement walls, with much less disruption and for about half of the cost of conventional french drains.

Crawl Space Vents in TN: Common “Non-Sense”?

Rotten, moldy floor joist

Rotten floor joists, one of the disastrous effects of crawl space vents

After many years in denial, trying to go on with your life without thinking too much about it, one day you decide to finally do something about that wet, moldy, scary crawlspace under your house.

Maybe because you’re tired or hearing the buckled floors creaking under your feet, or you might have had enough of the drafts during the winter causing your heating bill to soar.
It might be because you can no longer living with chronic flu-like symptoms, triggered by the mold in the crawl space or because you swore that you would never again go through the process of crawling on filth to remove a wild critter (dead or alive) from under your house.
When you start to shop around for ways to deal with the problem, you are very likely to find two mainstream “solutions” being offered.
1 – Adding more vents to the crawl space
2 – “Improving” the air flow within the crawl space, by installing fans on the vents.
The “logic” behind this concept is that air is know to dry things therefore the more air you allow in, the more the chances that the crawl space will dry. It is only common sense, right?
Wrong!
Truth is that, if these fans are being used to bring air from the outside, into your crawl space, I have a serious piece of advice: Don’t do it.
Crawl spaces are like no other structure in the house. Because of that, the air already coming from the outside, combined with evaporating ground moisture, is actually the reason why your crawl space is wet right now.
Puzzled? Allow me to explain.
Crawl Spaces are Different!

Scientific fallacy behind the crawl space venting concept

Crawl spaces have a pretty steady temperature year round (around 68 degrees) and, during summer, they are naturally cooler than the outside: usually 10 to 20 degrees. So, let’s say we have a nice day outside, with 77 degrees and an average 80% relative humidity. Your crawl space temperature is 20 degrees cooler. When that air from outside comes in, it will cool down too.

When that happens, the relative humidity in the air will increase about 2.2% for each degree the air is cooled.
That added to that 80% that was already in the outside air will result in 98.8% RH. Can you guess what happens then?
That moisture will cause condensation to form all over and your crawl space will get more wet, causing your floor joists to grow mold and rot.
The best, and U.S. Department of Energy recommended way to treat a crawl space is to encapsulate it. That means, line the whole space with a vapor barrier, seal it to keep ground moisture and outside air from getting in, then run a dehumidifier or a crawl space conditioner to keep it dry and conditioned year round.
This procedure. will solve crawl space moisture problems once and for all and protect your floor joists and hardwood from rot and buckling. It will also make your whole house an average of 18% more energy efficient, by cutting energy losses which can be as high as 50% if you have ducts running through the crawl space.
It will make your home easier to cool and heat, and will eliminating problems such as cold floors and clod drafts from the crawl space during winter.
There are tons of scientific studies on the matter, conducted by reputable independent organizations, to prove that, when it comes to crawl spaces, common sense is sometimes just a collective misconception.
If you live in Tennesee, there are two dealer who are Basement Systems Certified crawl space moisture control professionals and can help you with your crawl space moisture problem:
Master Dry Basement and Crawl Space Systems provides crawl space encapsulation services in Knoxville and surrounding areas.

Basement Redeemers moldy crawl space solutions in the greater Memphis area.

Don’t postpone it any longer, give them a call today!