how to keep basement dry without dehumidifier

9 Ways on How to Keep Basement Dry Without Dehumidifier

Can’t afford a dehumidifier yet? The good news is that there are ways how to keep basement dry without dehumidifier efficiently and easily. We discuss the hacks here, so you can keep excess moisture from causing molds in your basement.

Of all rooms in your home, the basement is the hardest to keep dry. It’s usually recessed into the ground, which allows moisture to seep through anytime.

Most of the time, homeowners will have a staple dehumidifier in their basements. But if you don’t have one or your unit is out of service, there are other methods you can do to avoid excessive moisture.

Causes of moisture in basements

There’s a long list of possible culprits as to why your basement has excessive moisture. The following are some of them:

  • Indoor water leak. A leak in an indoor pipe can easily spread moisture all over your basement. And since basements are often secluded and not checked, even a small leak can cause moisture to accumulate within weeks.
  • Condensation. Condensation in basements occurs when moist air gets in contact with a cool surface like the floor or wall. The airborne water molecule will then cling to the surface, making it damp. This can be a major problem in areas with consistently high humidity levels.
  • Foundation cracks. Once your foundation cracks, it will give way for water to enter the basement. A foundation that’s been soaked in water for too long will crack and make the basement wet.
  • Poor downspout location. A downspout that drains directly into the edge of your house is a source of moisture in the basement. The water will then get absorbed by the soil and seep into the walls.
  • Holes and leaks on the walls. A basement that’s not sealed and insulated properly will allow water to flow inside. The small holes will become larger as water gushes into them.
  • Plants. Growing plants in your basement will cause unnecessary moisture to transfer into the air. Worse, your potted plants will also become the breeding ground of molds. Still, this is a double-edged sword as succulents can actually be helpful in keeping the room dry.

How to keep basement dry without dehumidifier

Here’s what you can do to keep your basement dry without using a dehumidifier:

1.    Open windows

how to keep basement dry without dehumidifier

First, you should open your basement windows if there are any. This will allow stagnant air inside the basement to circulate and the moisture to disperse.

It’s also more beneficial if your basement’s window is facing south. This way, it will be soaked in sunlight, which will help keep your basement dry without using a dehumidifier.

However, if the outdoor humidity is higher than that of your basement, this method wouldn’t be suitable. Instead, you can proceed with the other solutions below.

2.    Use multiple fans

Electric fans are an excellent way to keep air moving in and out of your basement. It’s cheaper than dehumidifiers and will consume less electricity.

You should install a ceiling fan to ventilate the floors and make the air move. Next, place a stand fan facing the basement’s exit point. This way, the air will be expelled out together with the moisture.

If possible, you should also install an exhaust fan. This will keep your basement ventilated all the time. It will also help dissipate odors that build up inside your home. 

3.    Insulate your basement

Insulating your basement walls and floors will prevent condensation from forming. This will also block moisture outside from seeping through. You can do this on your own or hire a professional insulating service.

Make sure that you invest in vapor barriers. These are water retarders, which means they won’t absorb or allow water to permeate your basement walls.

Vapor barriers can be layered with other insulation materials to repel moisture. This will also keep your basement warm during winter even if you’re not using a dehumidifier.

If your basement has insulation that’s more than 15 years old, you should have it replaced for new material. This is much so if the old material is asbestos, which is very harmful to one’s health.

4.    Check and fix leaks

how to keep basement dry without dehumidifier

You should also inspect your pipes and make sure that the ones running through your basement have no leaks. Take note that pipe leaks are one of the most common sources of moisture in basements, which can be left unnoticed until visible damages occur.

Aside from that, you should protect your pipes from condensation. You should fit it with pipe sleeves or insulation that will prevent moisture from clinging to the metal. This will also prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting during winter.

You can hire a professional plumber to have your pipes checked. Plumbers have advanced tools that allow them to spot leaks without having to peel your walls or flooring.

5.    Modify your downspout

Downspouts that drain right next to your basement wall can cause flooding inside. In this case, you need to direct the drain far from the walls.

Overall, you don’t need to relocate your downspouts. You can use a downspout extender to keep the water flow a few feet away from the walls. If you don’t want to purchase an expensive extender, you can make your own using an old PVC pipe or iron sheet.

The goal is to eliminate any water that will pool on the exterior walls of your house. Although it may appear to have dried, it actually seeped through your basement. This is a problem, especially if you don’t have a dehumidifier.

6.    Avoid building a bathroom above the basement

If you’re having your house built, you should avoid placing a bathroom right above the basement if possible. Even with sealing and insulation, bathroom tile may crack and leak water into your basement.

Take note that such leaks are difficult to notice as they may start very small. It can be a few drops that you’ll barely notice until someone is actually taking a shower while you’re underneath.

However, if a bathroom is already built above your basement, just make sure that you have it inspected for leaks regularly.

7.    Use desiccants

Desiccants will also help in keeping your basement dry together with other methods discussed here. Even if your basement is dry, you can keep using desiccants as preventive moisture.

Basically, desiccants bags are made of different moisture-absorbing materials. Silica gel is the widely used type. You can get this in bags and boxes, so you can place multiple units around your basement.

Take note that desiccant bags need to be replaced or dried under the sun once it’s loaded with moisture.

Also, desiccants are only complementary solutions and not the sole answer to the wetness in your basement.

8.    Grow succulents in your basement

Plants in a basement? This may sound counterintuitive since potted plants are known to cause molds. But some types like succulents can help in keeping the basement dry.

It’s because the likes of cacti draw water wherever they can. They can take moisture in the air to sustain growth. This is an ability that allows cacti to survive in arid desserts for long.

And unlike other potted plants, succulents don’t have to be watered daily. This reduces the risk of introducing moisture into your basement.

9.    Use DampRid buckets

DampRid is also a good solution to keep your basement dry without using a dehumidifier. These buckets contain calcium chloride crystals which act as a desiccant. You can get it in 4-pound tubs, which can collect more water than the small tub version.

Still, DampRid will only remove moisture from the air that touches the crystals. This means that you need to use fans to circulate the air and propel it towards the bucket. Overall, DampRid acts like a dehumidifier but without using electricity.

Lastly, you should never touch the crystals with bare hands as it can cause severe irritations. If you need to replace the crystals with a new batch, wear thick gloves, eye protection, and a face mask.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I dry my basement fast?

A: If you want the fastest way to dry your basement, you should invest in a dehumidifier. This can draw pints of moisture from the air within a day. Overall, dehumidifiers can dry your basement many times faster than manual ventilation or desiccants. The only downside with dehumidifiers is their high upfront cost.

Q: Will a fan dry out a basement?

A: While a fan can help dry basements, it’s not the sole solution to the problem. You also have to pair it with other methods like desiccants, baking soda, charcoal, and more. As much as possible, you should also use a dehumidifier. This device will remove moisture in the air faster than manual solutions.

Q: Will sump pumps keep a basement dry?

A: Sump pumps are an effective way to keep your basement dry. Aside from that, this pump will also retain the strength of your foundation and prevent the formation of molds. This is indispensable if your place is prone to flooding. Just make sure that the sump pump is maintained properly, so it will function efficiently.

Q: Why is water coming up my basement floor?

A: If water is welling from your basement floor, you should check for a cracked foundation, collapsed drains, clogged gutters, or leaking pipes. You should address this right away to prevent water damage from causing mold and other problems in your house. It’s best that you call a professional water damage service to fix whatever is causing the problem.

Q: Is it okay to have a wet basement?

A: It’s not okay to have a wet basement. Over time, your wet basement will become the breeding ground of molds and pests. This will yield problems in your household, including recurring irritations with your family members. It will also impact the air quality of your home as various smells can form in a waterlogged basement.

Final words

Knowing how to keep basement dry without a dehumidifier will save you from the risk of molds, pests, and bad odors. The methods above will greatly help if you don’t have access to a dehumidifier at the moment. It may take more effort than having a moisture-removing device, but it works just the same.