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Basment Dehumidifer: do you run it all year?

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Hey folks,

I live in south eatern PA. My house sits low w/ some underground water issues.

I have french drains & two sump pumps which run when it is wet. I've never had a flooded basement. The drians & pumps do what they should.

I have a small stucco over cinder block Cape Cod in a Levittown style neighborhood. I have insufficient closet space. I store a good deal of stuff in the basement including clothing. In the past I had a little issue w/ mildew. I started running a dehumidifier and haven't had any issues since.

Unless I'm mistaken, humididty levels are highest in the summer and lowest in the winter.

Here's my question, should I run it all year or can I turn it off in in late Autum (i.e. now)?

It's noisey and uses a good bit of electricity.

What do you folks think?

JD

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Call me Captain Obvious, however, the dehumidifier is treating symptoms of the problem, not the problem itself. You mention that the walls are cinder block.....have you tried painting them with Drylok? How about the floor? A surprising about of humidity can leach up through bare concrete. Gray Drylock on the floor can help there too. A couple of photos of the "dampest" area would be helpful. I had similar issues in my rec room and had to go a much different route to fix the problem. The rocket surgeon who built the house (Larry Cutcorners) merely attached furring strips to the cinder block and then installed drywall over the strips with no vapor barrier or sheet foam insulation. We tore all the drywall and furring strips off, painted the cinder block with drylock, laid a continuous vapor barrier on the floor and up the walls, attached furring strips, installed sheet foam between the strips and then drywall on furring strips. We put down foam padding and then installed laminate on the floor. The rec room went from being ice-cold in the winter and dank humid in the summer to comfortable all year long. Not easy or cheap but it got the job done.

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I did like HardyG did when we bought our house but also dry loked the walls before insl. and rocking. I still run the dehumidifier all year but it only goes when the humidity reaches above 55%.

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1 hour ago, HardyG said:

Call me Captain Obvious, however, the dehumidifier is treating symptoms of the problem, not the problem itself. You mention that the walls are cinder block.....have you tried painting them with Drylok? How about the floor? A surprising about of humidity can leach up through bare concrete. Gray Drylock on the floor can help there too. A couple of photos of the "dampest" area would be helpful. I had similar issues in my rec room and had to go a much different route to fix the problem. The rocket surgeon who built the house (Larry Cutcorners) merely attached furring strips to the cinder block and then installed drywall over the strips with no vapor barrier or sheet foam insulation. We tore all the drywall and furring strips off, painted the cinder block with drylock, laid a continuous vapor barrier on the floor and up the walls, attached furring strips, installed sheet foam between the strips and then drywall on furring strips. We put down foam padding and then installed laminate on the floor. The rec room went from being ice-cold in the winter and dank humid in the summer to comfortable all year long. Not easy or cheap but it got the job done.

Yes this house was certianly built as cheaply as possible. Also, we bought it from original owners about 20 yrs ago. They were very old and hadn't done much other than put up layer ofter layer of the ugliest wall paper you have ever seen. We've put a good bit of work into it & it's pretty comfortable and funtional now.

The basement isn't finished, i.e. no drywall. 

This comming summer I do intended to paint walls and floor w/ drylock for sure.

There are no obvious damp spots, the floor or walls have never been obvioulsy damp. 

I just want the basement to be storage. It's also where I store & work with my fishing gear.  I'm currently rigging seabass and cod gear as well as adjusting my striped bass surf gear. The noise of the dehumidifier wears on my nerves after a while. 

I have always run the dehumidifer pegged, I'll turn it down to 55% & see what happens. 

Thanks.

JD

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My last house had a moist basement and I ran my dehumidifier all year long. Drained it directly into the washer drain and set the humidity level to 45% so the machine only ran when it needed to. Worth the few bucks in electricity. I second the DryLok idea....the stuff helps for sure.

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Unless it's an old relic, your dehumidifier should have adjustable settings. Set it at 55%ish and it'll only run when needed. If the only options are on or off, buy a new one. Will be quieter too.

 

I've got a woodstove in the cellar and have to run a humidifier in the winter.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I thorosealed my walls when i moved in over 20 years ago.  I run a dehumidifier constantly set at 45 percent.  I let it drain into the sump pit and clean out the hoses two or three times a year.   I probably replace a dehumidifier every 4 or 5 years.

 

I also run a portable ac unit for my wine room. That runs most of the year until the temps drop.

Edited by Baccigalup

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55% will still allow mold and mildew to grow.

area must be below 50% to prevent it, I would set for 45% just to play it safe.

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Great info in this thread.

In basement of previous home, we ran dehumidifier in the summer only to keep humidity at 50% or lower.

 

Home we purchased a few years ago has finished basement. No issues with humidity except 1 room. Always wondered why 1 room in basement was ALL concrete and cinder block. Even the ceiling is cement and has a metal H beam in that room only.

 

We don't have sump pump or "water" issues in that room (or basement), however there are times during the summer that the 2 outer walls (corner of house) in that room appear to "sweat"in certain areas, especially after continuous heavy rainfall.


We've had 2 trusted contractors at the house and both have mentioned it was lack of ventilation / air movement, not a structural issue.

 

Earlier this summer, after doing some more research, I discovered that this room is a "cold room / root cellar" which apparently was a popular thing in older homes. House was built in late 40's, early 50's.

We keep liquor, water, tools, etc. in this room. Room has always had a stagnant / musty smell since we've owned the house.

This room has a "cut out" on 1 wall. This summer I installed a dual fan vent with built in humidistat, after 2 days, room was very dry, stagnant smell was gone and still gone to this day.

 

The walls have dry lock on them, but we'd still see the walls sweating at times during the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

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simple :

if you have a heating system , just set your thermostat say at 68 degrees all year =  will have a dry basement 

No hearing system get one , only the humid summer days I need a dehumidifier 

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HardyG what did you use as a vapor barrier? Have same question as OP and also read on the web, but can’t remember reference, that basement ventilation is as good as a dehumidifier which is what a “wave” unit is. Such ventilators are constructed of a six inch ventilation duct about a foot off the floor with air flowing out a window powered by a industrial strength exhaust fan. It has been suggested to me to get a humidity meter and monitor your basement humidity year round especially during the winter to see if it’s significantly lower. Lower temperatures during winter hold significantly less moisture than summer temperatures even in a basement. Damn dehumidifier is noisy but foam blocks secured around drawer with bungee cord helps a bit.

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On 11/6/2018 at 10:36 PM, layer8 said:

Great info in this thread.

In basement of previous home, we ran dehumidifier in the summer only to keep humidity at 50% or lower.

 

Home we purchased a few years ago has finished basement. No issues with humidity except 1 room. Always wondered why 1 room in basement was ALL concrete and cinder block. Even the ceiling is cement and has a metal H beam in that room only.

 

We don't have sump pump or "water" issues in that room (or basement), however there are times during the summer that the 2 outer walls (corner of house) in that room appear to "sweat"in certain areas, especially after continuous heavy rainfall.


We've had 2 trusted contractors at the house and both have mentioned it was lack of ventilation / air movement, not a structural issue.

 

Earlier this summer, after doing some more research, I discovered that this room is a "cold room / root cellar" which apparently was a popular thing in older homes. House was built in late 40's, early 50's.

We keep liquor, water, tools, etc. in this room. Room has always had a stagnant / musty smell since we've owned the house.

This room has a "cut out" on 1 wall. This summer I installed a dual fan vent with built in humidistat, after 2 days, room was very dry, stagnant smell was gone and still gone to this day.

 

The walls have dry lock on them, but we'd still see the walls sweating at times during the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

Cold room translates to wine room for me.   Get some barrels and start stomping some grapes

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Just built a new house with a walkout basement but still as part of it is underground, get dampness in the summer. I drylocked the walls with 2 coats and still in the summer need to empty the dehumidifier bucket every day. Come wintertime (like now), it never kicks on so I just pull the plug. if it starts smelling musty in the winter I'll turn it on but frankly with forced hot air heat it gets so dry in the house I don't think I need it. Usually set it at 55% RH. So long as my tools don't rust that setting seems to work fine, and it keeps the well tank from sweating. 

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18 hours ago, flyrad10 said:

HardyG what did you use as a vapor barrier?

Howdy: we used thick poly sheet and taped the seams. The poly, sheet foam and under-laminate padding have made a world of difference in the room.

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