Home Horror: Facing Common Basement Fears

scarybasement2It’s often a setting in horror movies, a place no one wants to go and when they do, something bad is bound to happen. It begins with a descent into darkness, the only hint of light coming from an exposed light bulb dangling from the ceiling, ready to extinguish at any moment. All around, it’s dark, dingy, and undeniably eerie. The basement.

What makes a basement so scary? It might be the fact that it’s underground and dark as a result of a lack of natural light. It could be the cold, damp atmosphere, or the lurking cobwebs and creepy crawlers that hide in the shadows. An unfinished basement usually seems like the enemy- haunted or not.

Homeowners’ Fears

Maybe your basement isn’t straight out of a horror film, but chances are, you share some of the same fears that other homeowners do about all of the bad things that can happen there. In honor of Halloween, here are some ways to face your fears when it comes to one source of home horror.

1.    Flooding and Water Damage

Flooding is a major threat that can destroy all of the belongings you keep in your basement, like furniture, family photos, and seasonal items. Water damage can be devastating and a hassle to deal with during cleanup and recovery.

What you can do:

Prevent water from getting inside your home by ensuring it has another way to flow. Keep gutters clear of leaves and debris, make sure downspouts extend far enough away from your home’s foundation, and consider installing a waterproofing system. An interior drainage system typically includes a sump pump that collects and removes water that seeps into your basement. Another preventative method is to keep drains and sewer lines clear to prevent backups.

2.    Mold

Mold is scary because it’s destructive and can be hazardous to your health. It has the potential to destroy your belongings and attack your immune system if there is enough of it that is left unaddressed for a long period of time. Mold grows where water and moisture are present, like in the basement where humidity is often high and water problems are common.

What you can do:

To prevent mold growth, keep water and moisture under control. This can be done by repairing water problems, using a dehumidifier, and waterproofing. Just as you can help to prevent flooding and water damage, the same applies to controlling moisture. Any water that accumulates in your basement should be cleaned up within 24-48 hours to keep mold from growing and wreaking havoc on your home.

3.    Insects

Spiders aren’t the only pests that may lurk in your basement. Many insects are drawn to damp, dark places in which they thrive. A warm, moist environment, like a humid basement or softened wood from water damage, can attract termites, beetles, and carpenter ants, to name a few.

What you can do:

The same way you can protect your home to prevent flooding, water damage, and mold growth, you can keep your basement dry to prevent insects from moving in. If any wooden furniture becomes wet in your basement, be sure to get rid of it right away to keep insects out as well to prevent dry rot.

There’s no reason to fear the basement when you know what kinds of monsters exist and how you can keep them at bay. A little attention and prevention can turn your basement from frightful to friendly in no time and make your home more comfortable overall.

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Tom Gillece Sr. is the founder and president of Gillece Services in Pittsburgh, providing residential Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Waterproofing services throughout Western Pennsylvania. Established in 1980, Gillece has helped homeowners with all of their emergency, maintenance, repair and replacement needs for more than 30 years. For the latest news and offers, Gillece can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.