High relative humidity and rain water leaks in basement spaces can lead to problems, making them damp, musty, and full of spiders. Ick. Yet the basement is where many people store their stuff–cardboard boxes filled with books, clothing, and anything else that doesn’t fit or isn’t wanted upstairs. Damp basements + stuff storage can be a recipe for mold, pests, and property damage.
As we head into the hot, humid summer months, take the time now to evaluate where and how you store your stuff.
Safer Stuff Storage
1. Manage the moisture: improve exterior drainage to prevent water from leaking into your basement. Air seal and insulate. Use a dehumidifier in the summer months.
2. Lighten the load.. Re-evaluate what you store in your basement. Do you really need it? Can it be stored somewhere else that’s warm and dry?
3. Off the floor. Never place porous materials directly on uninsulated basement floors (cardboard, paper, clothing, carpets). Place instead on a wood pallet with plastic sheeting underneath it or even better, on metal utility shelves.
4. Provide airflow. Pull pallets and shelving away from walls, and leave spaces between items to prevent moisture from getting trapped around your stuff.
5. Inspect. Inspect stored items frequently for mold or pest damage–at least every two weeks and after storm events. Discard mold or pest-damaged materials.
From EPA: Basement & Crawlspace Resources https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/seal_insulate/basement_crawlspace