This August was the warmest on record in Massachusetts. My basement was cool and dry, though, and another important way to protect your investment is to make sure that yours is, too.
Even if you don’t have living space in your basement, dampness means mold (which can ruin anything stored there) and it also invites wood-destroying insects, like powder-post beetles. Evidently, they won’t touch dry wood, which is why some even antique basements seem immune and others destroyed.
Some homes have water penetration, and that requires real changes to the drainage of/around the house, and no amount of dehumidifier action is going to remedy that. Most basements, though, whether your basement is living space or not, need simple but constant dehumidification to avoid larger problems down the road.
A very simple, inexpensive dehumidifier with a moisture sensor and display can easily be transformed (using the little tube that comes with it) from having to be emptied, to running automatically with a very simple, inexpensive ejection condensate pump. This is a total do-it-yourself project, with nothing but plastic hose and some fasteners. If you don’t have any drain pipe at all that you can stick the hose into or a way to sneak it up into a drain or sink, you may need to get a plumber to add a simple PVC drain pipe.
Plug one end of the little hose that came with your dehumidifier (or a short length of clear plastic hose cut to 8-12”) into the outlet on the back or side of the dehumidifier to bypass the tank. Put the other end into the condensate pump. Run a length of clear plastic hose from the pump to wherever your outlet drain is. It can go up through the ceiling, around any way, and into a drain. Set your dehumidifier to less than 60, and test to make sure the pump connections work and the pump is pushing the condensate out towards the drain. That’s it!
Lincolntalk, the local Lincoln listserv had lots of action this summer about this issue, hopefully everyone will have a dry basement. Future home inspectors and buyers will be so pleased!