Basement humidity level / percentage ?

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,296
Philadelphia
Thank you thank you thank you :) Glad to hear there is hope. I will follow your plan to a T (other than slab floor. That will never happen until the house is paid. Or if I get ambitious with a cement mixer and 800 bags of concrete. >.<)

1. Gutters and downspouts are almost complete. I was afraid of the PVC pipes freezing underground. How far down you put them?
2 & 3. Little bit of mortar work at ground level to do and then grading is next.
4 Already did the perimeter drain inside. It's gonna have to be 6mil plastic for now.
5. Bought Dehumidifer early 2017. Just waiting till I finish the work above to install.
6. This is an old root cellar. no access from inside the house. You open a trap door at ground level, then walk down very steep steps to a door into the cellar under the main living area. Almost done sealing the old window areas.
7. I air condition in the summer. But the temperature in cellar never exceeds 16 degrees and I have AC set to 21. I still want to install Reflectix between the joists just for a little added comfort in the winter from the FREEZING floor. If I install Rockwool batts, afraid the mice will get into it.
Sounds like you're on the right track. I've never had any issues with the drainage piping freezing, because the only time there's ever water in it is when it's already warm enough for your downspouts to be carrying water. Also, it's usually always continuously-sloped, so there's no water staying in the piping. I have these done in three different materials, sch.20 PVC drain pipe near the house, transitioning to 6" corrugated black drain pipe or sch.35 sewer pipe, and no freezing issues with any of these. Depth varies from 1 to 4 feet, to maintain continuous downward slope, across my undulating yard. As long as there's no "belly" in the slope of the pipe, it will always stay dry when not doing it's thing.

In the current house, which was built adjacent to a spring (1730's), the prior owner put about a mile of perf pipe under the basement floor before pouring the slab. This is connected into a drain that runs to the storm basin, which seems to be carrying water most of the year, even when it hasn't rained for a week. No issues with this one freezing, even though it's penetrating the storm basin only 24" below grade.

Plastic on the floor? That would probably keep humidity down at least as well as a slab, but there's the obvious durability concerns. Trying to dehumidify with a dirt floor and no barrier might be pretty darn tough, though.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,669
Eastern Central PA
Cant stress enough that keeping water out in the first place pays years of dividends. Running a dehumidifier can add a lot of dollars to your electric bill. As much as $30 monthly. Which is more than i spend to make hot water. Although even with a dry basement when its 90% humidity outside some of that finds its way in with air infiltration.
 

Kiotick4010

New Member
Jan 5, 2019
13
UP
Best thing we did was to install a hybrid heat pump water heater to replace our old electric water heater.

It allowed us to get rid of the dehumidifier. The basement air is dry, with no musty smell.

Best of all, it cost only $50 after all of the utility rebates were factored in.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,709
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
after monitoring humidity all winter at 30-35% we have decided to purchase a dehumidifier to lower humidity in the home from 60 to about 40 through the summer. I hung all of the doors in the winter and that 20% makes a couple of them too tight! Dust mites, mildew, and odors seem to like 50%
 
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zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
781
bc
Most off the shelf dehumidifiers only do 45%.... in the summer if u have windows open or air conditioning running then u will never achieve that. Adjust your doors so they have about 3/16th and u will never have issues..

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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,669
Eastern Central PA
40 to 60 seems to be the sweet spot. Below 40 can cause dry air problems. Iv had furniture crack in winter and wife gets nose bleeds. Above 65-70 can cause dampness problems also. I keep the basement below 65 in summer but it dont have to be too far below that.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,296
Philadelphia
My house runs 19% - 23% all winter. Your wife would die here, Oak. [emoji1]

We have been keeping our basement dehumidifiers at 50%, the last several years. Going down to 40% really jacks up the electric bill, to the tune of a few hundred $$ per month, when running multiple dehumidifiers. Going up to 60%, we start to notice things getting just a little musty. At least in our house, 50% seems to be the sweet spot.
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,669
Eastern Central PA
Going down to 40% really jacks up the electric bill, to the tune of a few hundred $$ per month, when running multiple dehumidifiers. .
I dont see any reason to try to go lower than 50% Waste of power. Too low humidity fosters illness as does too high humidity.
 
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mass_burner

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2013
2,646
SE Mass
sweet spot here is 55%. but there are so many variables. my basement at primary home is 2x bigger and unfinished, but dehumidifier works less than house on cape which is finished. both homes are the same distance to ocean. also cape house is colder, neither basement is heated.

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WiscWoody

Minister of Fire
I shoot for 55-58% in my full basement during the summer which is short up here. Between that dehumidifier and the AC my electric bill goes from $33 in the winter to $55-60 in the summer. Not bad in my opinion. The charge to be hooked up is $12 of that.
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,204
Michigan
after monitoring humidity all winter at 30-35% we have decided to purchase a dehumidifier to lower humidity in the home from 60 to about 40 through the summer. I hung all of the doors in the winter and that 20% makes a couple of them too tight! Dust mites, mildew, and odors seem to like 50%
Good luck finding one that works. I have 2 Frigidaire's' that are 3 years old, and they keep blowing codes and stop running the unit. If I unplug them and then plug them in again, they will run for a while then blow another code and crap out on me. They also also make many other brands under private labels.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,296
Philadelphia
Good luck finding one that works. I have 2 Frigidaire's' that are 3 years old, and they keep blowing codes and stop running the unit. If I unplug them and then plug them in again, they will run for a while then blow another code and crap out on me. They also also make many other brands under private labels.
Three years in a cool basement is not out of the ordinary for dehumidifier lifetime, today. They put such a small amount of refrigerant in them now, thanks to the EPA. It’s also why refrigerators no longer work in a cold garage, the refrigerant condenses and gathers in the coolest part of the system, and the compressor being much warmer doesn’t get any refrigerant, if there is so little in the loop. This leads to inevitable compressor failure.

I’ve always wondered about the environmental impact of throwing away entire refrigerators and dehumidifiers 4x more frequently than our parents, versus an extra few ounces of r438a, the majority of which will be reclaimed at end of product life.
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,390
WI, Leroy
Three years in a cool basement is not out of the ordinary for dehumidifier lifetime, today. They put such a small amount of refrigerant in them now, thanks to the EPA. It’s also why refrigerators no longer work in a cold garage, the refrigerant condenses and gathers in the coolest part of the system, and the compressor being much warmer doesn’t get any refrigerant, if there is so little in the loop. This leads to inevitable compressor failure.

I’ve always wondered about the environmental impact of throwing away entire refrigerators and dehumidifiers 4x more frequently than our parents, versus an extra few ounces of r438a, the majority of which will be reclaimed at end of product life.
yep just like the desiel fiasco take a unit doing 55-60 mpg add emmision equipment now gets 20-25 mpg. so you burn twice as much fuel or more Plus the blue stuff and spend twice as much time in the repair shop for emmisons related flaws , bottom line is same amount of emissions for either.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,669
Eastern Central PA
I have had good luck with the better GE model dehumidifier. The one that pumps the water up into an overhead drainpipe if needed. I have 2 of these in 2 different locations both work very well. One 2yrs old and one about 5 yrs or more old. I like it around 55 to 60% . Only need to run it in the summer.
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,204
Michigan
Three years in a cool basement is not out of the ordinary for dehumidifier lifetime, today. They put such a small amount of refrigerant in them now, thanks to the EPA. It’s also why refrigerators no longer work in a cold garage, the refrigerant condenses and gathers in the coolest part of the system, and the compressor being much warmer doesn’t get any refrigerant, if there is so little in the loop. This leads to inevitable compressor failure.

I’ve always wondered about the environmental impact of throwing away entire refrigerators and dehumidifiers 4x more frequently than our parents, versus an extra few ounces of r438a, the majority of which will be reclaimed at end of product life.
My parents have a dehumidifier that is 20 years old and still plugging away. I purposely bought models that were designed for cold environments, down to 45 degrees. I can't spend $400 on dehumidifiers every 3 years, you are right engineers just build crap given the design parameters they are given. I'm temped to look for an older one at a garage and have my buddy fix it for me if it breaks. Or I'll see if he can rig these two to run all the time, and I'll connect them to timers.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,296
Philadelphia
My parents have a dehumidifier that is 20 years old and still plugging away. I purposely bought models that were designed for cold environments, down to 45 degrees. I can't spend $400 on dehumidifiers every 3 years, you are right engineers just build crap given the design parameters they are given. I'm temped to look for an older one at a garage and have my buddy fix it for me if it breaks. Or I'll see if he can rig these two to run all the time, and I'll connect them to timers.
The cold weather models will definitely do better, if the issue I’ve described above is your cause of death. But no engineer wants to design crap, we all want to design Ferrari’s, that’s why we got into this business. But the market won’t let us, there are 10,000+ customers who will only buy the cheapest crap available, for every one Ferrari customer. The free market is a cruel mistress.
 
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Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,204
Michigan
The cold weather models will definitely do better, if the issue I’ve described above is your cause of death. But no engineer wants to design crap, we all want to design Ferrari’s, that’s why we got into this business. But the market won’t let us, there are 10,000+ customers who will only buy the cheapest crap available, for every one Ferrari customer. The free market is a cruel mistress.
I'm not blaming the engineers, I am blaming the bean counters, upper management, and the EPA. I'm am positive that the engineers shake their head when asked to make product cheaper, knowing full well that the product will fail just beyond warranty. If they were given free reign to build a dehumidifier, using all of their preferred components, including refrigerant, they could and I doubt it would cost that much more. It might be a we bit less efficient, but that's for the consumer to decide.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,669
Eastern Central PA
Im happy with my 2 GEs . Paid $199 @ for 70 pint per day model with pump feature.
In general i have to say iv been very pleased with every GE appliance iv ever owned. Our family top of the line GE washer goes through a punishing daily schedule and is still plugging away after about 6 yrs. More and more of my appliance choices are GE but now that they have sold their appliance division all bets are off.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,028
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Im happy with my 2 GEs . Paid $199 @ for 70 pint per day model with pump feature.
In general i have to say iv been very pleased with every GE appliance iv ever owned. Our family top of the line GE washer goes through a punishing daily schedule and is still plugging away after about 6 yrs. More and more of my appliance choices are GE but now that they have sold their appliance division all bets are off.
After buying a replacement GE microwave which was an updated version of the microwave we bought a few years back and going through the hassle of the overly complicated installation I doubt I will ever buy another GE appliance. The microwave itself has been fine --both the old and new model. My real issue was that it was an updated version of an under-cabinet mount (well actually over the stove) and the old bracket did not line up to the bolt holes for the new model which meant drilling three new holes in my cabinets -- two of which were very close to the old holes. Add in a missing screw, a template which did not line up to anything and a few other issues which turned a potential half hour job into a half day job . . . I was not a satisfied customer.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,647
NE Ohio
Best thing we did was to install a hybrid heat pump water heater to replace our old electric water heater.

It allowed us to get rid of the dehumidifier. The basement air is dry, with no musty smell.
Getting ready to do this myself...have the HPWH already, just need a spare minute to install it! ;hm
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,669
Eastern Central PA
After buying a replacement GE microwave which was an updated version of the microwave we bought a few years back and going through the hassle of the overly complicated installation I doubt I will ever buy another GE appliance. .
And i was thinking of GE for my over the range Micro hood. The cheap ones wear out in 2 to 4 yrs. Im on my 3rd over the range micro already. Didnt try a GE there yet . My service guy will only work on GE and Whirlpool and other american brand appliances.
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
2,664
Massachusetts
randy i can tell you from experience ge is the way to go. all the others are made by whirlpool they don't last more than 5 or 6 years. ge microwaves last with any of my customers that have them and mine is 13 years old and going strong. used daily. my last was a ge and the only reason i got rid of it was the door handle broke and i couldn't figure out how to remove it and that was running on 12 years old
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,669
Eastern Central PA
randy i can tell you from experience ge is the way to go.
I have a top line GE washer and it has been great. As are 2 GE dehumidifiers. My best Experience with appliances have been GE, Kenmore & Maytag . Have a Maytag dryer for 20 yrs and still going strong. Worst experience has been Frigidaire and LG.
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,204
Michigan
I have a top line GE washer and it has been great. As are 2 GE dehumidifiers. My best Experience with appliances have been GE, Kenmore & Maytag . Have a Maytag dryer for 20 yrs and still going strong. Worst experience has been Frigidaire and LG.
I have 2 frigidare dehumidifiers that are complete garbage, inside of two years.. I bought one for my main basement and another for a small room in my basement. They both stopped running and showed an error code, in two years time. I think my parents still have the same dehumidifiers from when I was a kid. Isn't being green great?? They use a lot less energy when their not working properly. That's $400 right down the crapper.