Beyond Basement Waterproofing – Basement Basics
At Rightway, we like to stress the importance of a good basement waterproofing regimen. But we also know that keeping your basement walls and floor from leaking is only one part of a comprehensive basement maintenance program. Installing a French drain and keeping on top of mold removal won’t keep your basement clean and uncluttered, and it won’t alert you if there’s a radon problem.
As a homeowner, you should think about going beyond basement waterproofing. Here’s a brief list of the kinds of things you should be doing.
Keep it spider-free
Most spiders are harmless, and will actually help keep your basement free of pests. But two kinds of spiders, the brown recluse and the black widow, have venomous bites that can seriously injure or kill humans and pets. Keep an eye out for these. If you regularly dust and sweep corners, you shouldn’t have a problem with spiders. But you should also keep your basement as neat and tidy as you can.
Keep those window wells clean
OK, so keeping your window wells clean is an important part of basement waterproofing. But cleaning out debris can also prevent corrosion and cracks in the glass. A window well full of leaves is also a great place for bugs and other household pests to nest.
Keep those floors clean
If your basement floor is concrete, you can keep it clean by sweeping up any debris, and then scouring it with a mixture of one cup of bleach and one gallon of water. If that seems too harsh — for instance, if you have painted or finished floors — try using dish soap instead of bleach. Mop it once to clean it, and then again to dry it off.
Check your pipes
Pipes that lose their insulation can "sweat" water into your basement, creating optimal conditions for mold growth. The same goes for pipe fittings that come loose. Every three years, you should check all the plumbing connections in your home and make sure they’re properly insulated.
Check your ducts
If your home is heated by warm air forced through ducts, you should check those ducts when you check the pipes. Ducts with loose fittings, or ducts that aren’t properly insulated, can waste energy and keep your heating bill higher than it needs to be.
Check your support beams
If your home’s support beams develop gaps or cracks, they’re not properly supporting its weight. Make sure all your beams are healthy and free of gaps; fill in any gaps with shims, or pieces of metal or wood.
Test for radon
Radon is a carcinogenic gas that you can’t see or smell. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, and can get into any kind of building. Testing is simple and cheap, and only takes a few minutes. You can buy a radon test kit it most hardware stores, or hire a qualified testing professional to do it for you.