A comfortable and healthy basement humidity level generally falls between 30-50% though it can vary depending on climate and whether the area is finished.
If you don’t know what your basement humidity is or why it matters, we’ve compiled this guide for you. There are many potential problems you may face if there’s too much moisture in that part of your home. You may even face some health complications.
Keep reading to find out why basement humidity level matters (and how to adjust it.)
Why Basements Are So Humid
Basements are prone to developing high levels of humidity because they’re underground and most don’t have great ventilation. Water can seep into this part of your home from the soil. Cracks in the foundation can cause even bigger problems, such as structural water damage.
Old and drafty windows in the basement can let humid air from outside into the area. Plus, moisture moves through porous surfaces like walls and floors and often gets trapped.
Homeowners with laundry rooms or bathrooms down there also face increased humidity levels from moisture accumulation.
If you’ve ever been in a basement that smells musty or moldy, it’s usually due to these problems.
Humidity in the Basement Causes Mold Growth
One of the biggest issues of a damp basement is that moisture can cause mildew and mold. High levels of humidity make the perfect breeding ground.
Some people may not be bothered by musty environments, while others will develop symptoms such as itchy eyes or difficulty breathing.
Sensitive individuals, such as those with allergies and asthma, have to be especially careful. They may experience more extreme reactions to mold and mildew.
Other people that might have to watch basement humidity levels more closely include those with suppressed immune systems, anyone susceptible to fungal infections, and those with respiratory or lung diseases.
It’s not safe or healthy to allow your family or guests into a musty basement. It’s also likely they won’t enjoy it! The smell alone is enough to cause people to turn away.
High Humidity Can Cause Structural Issues
High humidity levels can actually cause structural damage as well. For example, moisture rots wood, and it can cause your support beams and floor joists to become weaker.
Water can also cause cracks in your concrete, ruining your foundation wall.
Another problem with excess moisture in the basement is that it might damage your electrical system, HVAC unit, and your water heater.
As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, moisture in the basement can attract insects such as termites, which can cause significant damage.
Musty Basements Mean You Lose Valuable Living Space
When you have a musty basement that no one wants to use, you’re wasting potential living space. Even if you only use the area to store belongings, it’s a large area that has many practical uses.
If you finish the basement, you might use it for entertainment purposes or even as an extra bedroom. If your basement meets certain criteria, you can even increase the official square footage of your house.
However, you can only make use of the space when you keep humidity at a comfortable level.
Water Damage Might Ruin Your Belongings
Not only can water damage cause structural issues, but it can also destroy your personal possessions. For instance, if you store family photographs, paper documents, children’s toys, or even clothing, they can get ruined by being exposed to mold.
If you don’t keep a humid basement in check, you may have to throw away important mementos and parts of your life. If you spend time downstairs and use the area like a rec room, you may have to remove mold from fabric furniture.
Cleanup or remediation is a costly and time-consuming process that you can avoid by preventing a wet basement.
Maintaining Low Humidity Levels
So now you know why you want to avoid it, but how do you keep those humidity levels under control?
Mold is a part of life and exists both inside and outside the home. However, there are steps you can take to decrease moisture, mildew, and mold.
The first step is to assess your current basement and address issues such as leaky pipes and drafty windows. You also want to ensure that the area has adequate ventilation, especially if you have a shower or washing machine and dryer down there.
Exhaust fans and dryer vents leading outside the home help prevent moisture accumulation. It’s also a good idea to invest in a dehumidifier for the space so you can see the humidity level on a screen.
You might also want to consider getting a whole-house dehumidifier that works with your HVAC system.
If you buy a dehumidifier, make sure you get one that’s powerful enough for the size of the basement you have. If your unit is too small, it may have to work overtime or you might need to empty it more frequently.
Consider your climate and the season as well. Areas that are particularly humid or get a lot of rain may require extra preventive measures.
Avoid carpets in the basement since the area has so much moisture. Check your gutters and downspouts to make sure the water isn’t being emptied too close to the foundation. You may also need to seal cracks around the foundation if you spot any.
Keep Your Basement Humidity Level Low
Making sure you keep your basement humidity level between 30-50% is key to creating a dry and comfortable environment. Not only does it help you to prevent mold, but it also creates extra living space and protects your belongings.
Read some of our other posts to find new ways to keep your family and your home safe and healthy.
Unveiling Codependency Its Connection With Substance Use Disorder
Codependency is a complex and often misunderstood concept that has profound implications for individuals and their relationships. It is frequently associated with substance use disorder (SUD), forming a complicated web that can hinder recovery and exacerbate the challenges faced by those affected. This article aims to shed light on the intricate nature of codependency, its relation to SUD, and the pathways toward healthier, more balanced relationships and recovery.
Codependency is a relational pattern characterized by excessive reliance on another person, often to the detriment of one’s own needs, well-being, and self-esteem. It typically involves a one-sided, unhealthy emotional or psychological dependence on a partner, family member, or friend. Codependent individuals often prioritize others’ needs, emotions, and desires over their own, often to an extreme degree.
The link between codependency and SUD is intricate and often reciprocal. While not all codependent individuals develop SUD, and not all individuals with SUD are codependent, there are several ways in which these two issues can interconnect:
1. Enabling Behavior: Codependents often engage in enabling behaviors, such as covering up for the addicted individual’s actions, making excuses, or providing financial support. These actions inadvertently perpetuate the addiction.
2. Emotional Dependence: Individuals with SUD may become emotionally dependent on their codependent partners or family members for support, both financially and emotionally.
3. Shared Trauma: Codependency and addiction can have shared roots in trauma or dysfunctional family dynamics, creating a cycle of dependency and addiction within families.
4. Relief from Codependent Stress: Some individuals with codependent tendencies may turn to substances as a coping mechanism to alleviate the stress and emotional turmoil caused by their codependency.
5. Mutual Isolation: Both codependent individuals and those with SUD may become socially isolated as their behaviors and relationships become increasingly focused on the codependent dynamic.
6. Rescue Fantasy: Codependent individuals may hold a “rescue fantasy,” believing that their love and support can save the addicted individual from their substance abuse. This fantasy can lead to disappointment and further enabling.
Recognizing codependency is the first step toward breaking the cycle and promoting healthier relationships, whether they are with individuals struggling with SUD or others. Here are some strategies for addressing codependency:
1. Self-Awareness: Begin by examining your own behaviors and patterns in relationships. Are you excessively focused on someone else’s needs to the detriment of your own? Do you struggle with setting and maintaining boundaries?
2. Seek Professional Help: Codependency can be challenging to address on your own. Consider seeking therapy or counseling to explore the root causes of codependency and develop healthier relationship skills.
3. Support Groups: Support groups for codependency, such as Codependents Anonymous (CoDA), provide a safe space to share experiences and gain insight from others who have faced similar challenges.
4. Develop Boundaries: Learning to establish and maintain healthy boundaries is crucial. This includes recognizing your own limits and communicating them assertively.
5. Self-Care: Prioritize self-care practices that nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This may involve hobbies, exercise, relaxation techniques, and mindfulness.
6. Challenge Negative Self-Talk: Work on improving your self-esteem by challenging negative self-talk and building self-compassion. You are deserving of love and respect.
7. Learn Healthy Relationship Skills: Develop healthier relationship skills, such as effective communication, active listening, and conflict resolution. These skills are essential for building balanced, supportive relationships.
For those who have loved ones with SUD and recognize codependent tendencies within themselves, it is possible to navigate the path of recovery together. Here are some strategies for providing support while maintaining your own well-being:
1. Educate Yourself: Learn about SUD, its effects, and available treatment options. Understanding the nature of addiction can reduce feelings of confusion and helplessness.
2. Set Boundaries: Establish clear and healthy boundaries with your loved one. Communicate your limits and expectations, and be prepared to enforce them consistently.
3. Encourage Treatment: Encourage your loved one to seek professional treatment for their SUD. Offer support and assistance in finding appropriate resources.
4. Attend Support Groups: Consider attending support groups for family members of individuals with SUD, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. These groups provide valuable insights and guidance from others who have faced similar challenges.
5. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care and maintain your own well-being. Caring for yourself ensures that you have the emotional and physical resources to support your loved one effectively.
6. Avoid Enabling: Refrain from engaging in enabling behaviors that inadvertently support your loved one’s addiction. Instead, focus on supporting their recovery efforts.
7. Seek Professional Guidance: Consult with a therapist or counselor experienced in addiction and family dynamics. They can provide personalized guidance and strategies for navigating the complexities of codependency and addiction within a family.
Codependency and SUD are complex issues that can intertwine and exacerbate each other’s challenges. Recognizing codependent behaviors and seeking help are crucial steps in breaking the cycle and promoting healthier relationships. Whether you are personally grappling with codependency or supporting a loved one with SUD, remember that recovery is possible, and there are resources and strategies available to navigate these intricate and often emotionally charged situations. By fostering self-awareness, setting boundaries, and seeking professional guidance, individuals can begin the journey toward healthier, more balanced relationships and recovery.