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  1. #1
    daniel nantell's Avatar
    daniel nantell Guest

    Default basement inspections

    When you inspect a basement and it has a dehumidifier running, Is that a good sign of a water leak present. Does most inspector use a humistat to check realitive humidity in basements when they do a inspection. The reason I am asking this question, I inspected a home about 3 monts ago and it had a dehumidifer running in basement and I did not see any water damage or leaks at that time , and today after a heavy rain the customer called and said they had damage in basement due to a leaking basement.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: basement inspections

    If I saw a humidifier running in a basement in the winter, I would probably think the house had some water issues.
    IN the summer, it is not all that unusual for a basement to have a humidifier running. But we are in the very humid south.

    I do not measure humidity, nor do I know any inspectors that do.

    Just off the top of my head, I would think a leaking basement does not have a lot to do with a humidifier running or not running. There was something else going on.

    If a basement get water in it during a heavy rain, there will most likely some sign somewhere there has been water there before. Have you gone back and looked? You should.


  3. #3
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: basement inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by daniel nantell View Post
    When you inspect a basement and it has a dehumidifier running, Is that a good sign of a water leak present. Does most inspector use a humidistat to check relative humidity in basements when they do a inspection. The reason I am asking this question, I inspected a home about 3 monts ago and it had a dehumidifier running in basement and I did not see any water damage or leaks at that time , and today after a heavy rain the customer called and said they had damage in basement due to a leaking basement.
    When I lived in Mass I inspected basements. It has been a couple decades since I have but i do know that if there is a dehumidifier running there is a problem. A humidistat, never checked a basement with one. If the dehumidifier was running for a long period of time then there may not have been a high percentage.

    I you visually saw no water damage or active leaks at the time of the inspection then you can honestly state that. During your time at the inspection there appeared to be no water stains, active leaks or water damage noted.

    I am sure they are gong to come back on you about the humidifier running and "didn't that make you think there may have been a concern?"


  4. #4
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: basement inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by daniel nantell View Post
    When you inspect a basement and it has a dehumidifier running, Is that a "good sign" of a water leak present. Does most inspector use a humistat to check realitive humidity in basements when they do a inspection. The reason I am asking this question, I inspected a home about 3 monts ago and it had a dehumidifer running in basement and I did not see any water damage or leaks at that time , and today after a heavy rain the customer called and said they had damage in basement due to a leaking basement.
    I have a dehumidifier in my basement and I know for a fact there isn't a leak. So I say no, it's not a "good sign" that a water leak is present. If there were indications of moisture problems and there is two or three dehumidifiers, I would at least warn the buyers of my concerns.

    So when it comes down to it, you did your job trying to determine if there was any signs of past water leaks. If there was nothing to lead you to believe that there would be water leaks (such as improper slope of soil, downspouts terminated at foundation wall, etc), then what could you have reported?

    Now when it comes to the sellers and the disclosure, that's a different story.

    I came across this 2 1/2 years ago when we had that 100 year flood. Two people called me up informing me that I should have reported that water could enter the basement. After going back to the houses and reviewing my notes/pictures, my conclusion was - it was a 100 year flood. The one family was nice about it, the second was not. Because of my wifes legal background, I let her write the response letter and she made it a good one. Never hear back from either of them.

    Good luck on that one.

    P.S. Use spell check


  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: basement inspections

    Kevin

    Do you have heat and air in your basement??


  6. #6
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: basement inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Kevin

    Do you have heat and air in your basement??
    Around here if the basement is not finished, they install one or two heat runs. When the humidifier is set at 40% and it gets to be 0 degrees outside, the furnace runs more, as a result there is a chance the humidifier that is installed on the furnace will run more (homeowner is suppose to turn the humidistat down). Since there is no returns in the basement, the warm air cools and settles in the basement. When the humidity comes in contact with the cold cement floor and foundation wall, condensation sometimes occurs. My dehumidifier has a couple of setting so that it can take out more humidity from the basement during the summer months and less humidity during the winter months. So if a home inspector came to inspect my basement and seen the humidifier running, I hope that he wouldn't think that it was a "good sign" that moisture seepage/water leak occurs (I don't like the use of the words "good sign").

    I have seen newer houses around here where the dehumidifier was located in the utility room and it was running. When I lived in Kentucky, I didn't need a dehumidifier.

    When I see a dehumidifier running, all it means to me is that the humidity is higher at that general area than the setting on the dehumidifier. Unless there is other information that tells me different, I wouldn't report it.

    Personally I love the furnaces where the blower runs 24/7 on a very low speed until the t-stat calls for heat or cooling. The air and humidity is always getting mixed together and redistributed throughout the house.

    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 02-11-2009 at 09:59 PM. Reason: Ooops. I used the words "good indication" when it should have been "good sign". Still don't like the wording. :)

  7. #7
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: basement inspections

    With my infrared camera, my foundation wall and basement cement floor is around 58 to 59 degrees. The thermostat on the first floor is displaying 72 degrees at this time.

    Now thinking about it, the only time we get condensation on our basement walls is when we open the small windows to our basement on one of those warm, sunny days in the spring.

    Can't wait for one of those warm, sunny days.

    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 02-11-2009 at 10:31 PM. Reason: Added the last two sentences

  8. #8
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: basement inspections

    I have never inspected a basement yet that did not have some indication of a moisture problem. As inspectors you should have Some standard statement in your report about basements and moisture.

    1. They are going to leak.
    2. They are leaking.
    3. They have been leaking.

    Best

    Ron


  9. #9

    Default Re: basement inspections

    Hi Ron,

    I'm up in the wet Pacific NW, and I see basements all of the time that do not leak, have not leaked, and may never leak. Must be a California thing.....


  10. #10
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: basement inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Hi Ron,

    I'm up in the wet Pacific NW, and I see basements all of the time that do not leak, have not leaked, and may never leak. Must be a California thing.....
    Hey Brandon. I inspected homes back in 1980 in the vancover/portland area I could fine water marks on everthing inspected. up that way.

    Best

    Ron

    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 02-13-2009 at 04:30 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: basement inspections

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore
    Hi Ron,

    I'm up in the wet Pacific NW, and I see basements all of the time that do not leak, have not leaked, and may never leak. Must be a California thing.....



    Hey Brandon. I inspected home back in 1980 in the vancover/portland area I could fine water marks on everthing inspected. up that way.

    Best

    Ron

    Oh, I never said we don't have a lot of leakers. I just wanted get it out there that they aren't all problematic.


  12. #12
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: basement inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Oh, I never said we don't have a lot of leakers. I just wanted get it out there that they aren't all problematic.
    I just look at them all as problematic. If i fine anythings that looks like one drop of moisture in a basement. BINGO... I call it.

    Dang Deal Killer.

    Im just an old dog... can see very well anymore. Blind as a bat

    Best

    Ron


  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Default Re: basement inspections

    if it`s a dehumidifier installed by....an inside system water-diverting company then you can bet yer sweet bippy they did not correctly IDENTIFY where the water is first-entering,still entering.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: basement inspections

    Dehumidifiers are pretty common basement dwellers around here. I see them so much I think nothing out of the norm when a house has one. If you are looking at old houses with stacked stone foundation walls, you really need a dehumidifier to knock down the humidity levels that will build up in the basement.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: basement inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Dehumidifiers are pretty common basement dwellers around here. I see them so much I think nothing out of the norm when a house has one. If you are looking at old houses with stacked stone foundation walls, you really need a dehumidifier to knock down the humidity levels that will build up in the basement.
    What Nick said. I recommend them routinely in older homes.
    And, it doesn't just get humid in the South. Try July and August in Philadelphia some time. It's brutal.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: basement inspections

    The title of this thread caught my eye; perfect timing:

    The IRC defines a basement as 'That portion of a building that is partly or completely below grade (see "Story above grade").

    There is no 'definition' in the IRC of a crawlspace; however, Section R408 says 'the under-floor space between the bottom of the floor joists and the earth under any building (except space occupied by a basement) shall have ventilation openings....'

    The 2006 NJ Energy code defines a basement wall as 'A wall 50 percent or more below grade enclosing conditioned space.'
    While it states a crawlspace wall is 'The opaque portion of a wall that encloses a crawlspace and is partially or totally below grade.'

    So, what is a crawlspace?

    When does the area under the first floor turn from a crawlspace to a basement?

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: basement inspections

    John,
    I'll second that. I visited relatives in Oswego, NY in the summer. OMG!

    I've lived in my basement home for almost 15 years - no leaks. I used to run a de-humidifier in the summer, but since I put a heat pump down there, I don't have to use it as much. The a/c sucks most of the moisture out of the air.


  18. #18
    Lloyd Meunier's Avatar
    Lloyd Meunier Guest

    Default Re: basement inspections

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    What Nick said. I recommend them routinely in older homes.
    And, it doesn't just get humid in the South. Try July and August in Philadelphia some time. It's brutal.
    Forgive me for jumping in here, but what's the general feeling towards coating stone basement walls with a slurry made of hydraulic lime and fine sand or marble powder as a way of reducing humidity? Seems it's what they do over in France...


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