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Basement Maintenance: Simple Steps You Can Take

Interior Design / October 16, 2018 / Alexis Dent.

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Whether you’re about to buy a new home or have owned one for years, this brief but informative article about caring for your basement offers a few simple tasks you can perform to keep your basement in ship-shape condition.

Finished basements can be a welcome addition and a high selling point for many homes. They can offer homeowners hundreds of extra square feet of recreational space without costing them a second mortgage. Bear in mind, though, that regular maintenance is crucial to making this underground space safe and healthy for you and your family.

First, test your basement for the presence of radon gas. You can easily do this by purchasing a simple detector at a local hardware store. If it does test positive, don’t be alarmed. Radon only collects in poorly ventilated areas. Open a window and turn on a fan, and your home will be free of radon in minutes. (Note: if it does test positive, you may need to improve the ventilation system in the basement, and recheck it from time to time.)

Consider investing in a backup sump pump, if you don’t already own one. Especially advisable if you live in a flood plain or an area that gets much rain. This way, if your primary pump stops working, the backup will kick in and keep your basement from getting flooded.

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Inspect your basement regularly for moisture. If the basement is waterproofed and you are experiencing moisture problems, you may need to install a dehumidifier. Will help to keep you from developing a problem with mold growing in your basement.

Means that the ground immediately around the sides of your house should slope downward for eight to twelve inches in the distance from the walls and foundation. Prevents moisture from pooling around the walls. (Keeping your gutters clean and in good repair will help with this also.)

Inspect regularly for mold. Mold can spread quickly and can cause allergic responses and breathing problems for many people. If you do detect or suspect mold, don’t panic. Don’t ignore it, either. Call in an expert, such as a building contractor or inspector, who can offer advice about treating the problem before it gets out of control.

If you find only one or two spots, you may try cleaning with a solution of ½ cup bleach per quart of warm water. Discard the cloth or sponge you use after you wash the area. If you do try to resolve the problem this way, keep monitoring the location closest to make sure the mold doesn’t return. Also, find and eliminate the source of moisture that caused the fungus to grow.

Finally, consider waterproofing your basement, if you haven’t already done so. Although you can do this yourself, it may be much easier to hire a professional contractor who guarantees their work. Spending a little extra time and money can ensure a comfortable environment that both you and your family will enjoy for years to come!

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