Friday, July 2, 2010

New homes and dehumidifiers

I'm curious to know how many of you run a dehumidifier in your basement? We recently ran into some issues, which I'm still trying to grasp, and it has to do with our new basement and running a dehumidifier.

The first couple of months we had no issues in our basement. During the last week or so, our basement has gone from cool and dry to humid and musty smelling. Our project manager said we need to run a dehumidifier. He said he still runs his in his basement and his house is 7 years old. We've been running one for the last few days and are dumping lots of water out of it. The trouble spot seems to be the extra closet I have under the basement stairs. If you remember in my earlier posts, this was an upgrade we did. This area is quite damp and even has some mold because we didn't catch this issue early enough. We have since removed all items from this closet and are running the dehumidifier day and night. I've talked to some other home owners here and have gotten mixed comments - some say they were told to do this from the time they moved in and others look quite surprised.

I do know that some of this is to be expected - the house is still settling and going through all of the various temperature levels and humidity levels inside and out. But I am concerned. This dehumidifier thing is new to me. Our previous house was a 30yr. old bi-level and we never ran a dehumidifier. The last thing I want is for a musty smelling basement and problems with using my storage space.

**And before you ask - no this is not black mold. This was mold that was easily wiped off the dry wall and some of our personal belongings.

8 comments:

bdeandel said...

Is your basement climate controlled? I run a humidifier in my basement year round, but I do not have heat and AC down there. Held off doing that when we finished the basement because typically the temp down there is pretty stable. Anyway, I asked because I assumed that if the basement was climate controlled you wouldn't need to run a humidifier, but maybe it is still a good idea in unfinished areas of the basement.

ThriftyAmy said...

We do have heat & AC down there. And I'm still dumping water out. Sometimes I go down there and it's cool and back to normal, other times I go down and it's warm. I'm getting ready to turn our AC back on because we've got super hot weather coming.

bdeandel said...

So you may have just hit on your problem. If you turn your AC off you loose the dehumidifying effect that comes along with it. While your basement may be "dry" all basements will get water vapor coming in...especially a new house as water evaporates out of the concrete. Anyway, if you are not running your AC all the time you definitely need to consider a full time humidifier in the basement...maybe a couple of them.

ThriftyAmy said...

bdeandel - this is great info. I really appreciate you taking the time to post. The AC is back on and won't be off for a while according to the long range forecast.

Megan Balaban said...

Amy - At our old house we ran a dehumidifier every day, year round and plan to do the same once we get into the new house. And this is something our project mgr brought up to us from the get-go, that one would be necessary. Hope your musty smell disappears soon! (And thanks for specifying the closet under the stairs - I'll make sure to keep an eye on that area in ours as well!

Anonymous said...

Ryan told us several times to get a dehumidifier down there, at first we were thinking it was a stupid idea. The day we moved in we realized how humid it was down there! We went straight to the store and purchased on. Since then we've had a nice dry, cool basement....I guess they knew what they were talking about lol

Anonymous said...

Our new house has the same problem- we were told by our builder to expect to draw a couple thousand gallons of water out the first year as the concrete dries out. Definitely not fun hauling all of those buckets of water up the stairs! Good luck!

ThriftyAmy said...

@Anonymous - lucky for us we had Ryan install a utility tub in the basement so we're dumping in there or the bathroom sink down there.