Unless you have a finished basement, you probably don’t spend a lot of time down there. Most likely, you use it as a storage space. Maybe you keep your washing machine and dryer down there, but overall your basement is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind part of your living space.
If this sounds like your basement, you may want to start thinking about what problems may be easily remedied before they turn into costly endeavors. Next time you’re down there, turn on all the lights or grab that flashlight and check for these common issues.
1. Check for Mold
Mold isn’t something that should be ignored. It doesn’t just look bad; it could be bad for you, especially if you have allergies or asthma. It’s possible that it can even cause new cases of asthma and allergies.
If you find mold in your house, it’s best to hire a professional to remove it. It’s not worth the risk of you getting sick or spreading it to other areas of the house unintentionally. It grows in dark, damp areas, and you probably won’t notice it until it’s already a ghastly presence.
2. Look for Cracks in the Walls
If you have cracks in your walls, it could mean there are problems with the foundation. Cracks on the surface aren’t an issue and can just be patched.
You’re looking for cracks that go deep into the wall. Problems with the walls and foundation are usually due to water damage. If you have these issues, you’ll need to take steps to waterproof your basement.
Other signs that your foundation has problems include uneven floors and cracks in the walls in the rooms above the basement. A professional basement contractor will be able to help diagnose if the problem is with your foundation.
3. Search for Signs of Pests
There are plenty of critters that can find their way into your basement. Spiders and most insects aren’t going to cause you too much trouble. Plus, spiders tend to control the population of insects. However, rodents, termites, and bats can cause serious problems in your home.
Bats and rodents will leave droppings and make noises behind the walls. However, termites are the worst pests you can have. They will slowly chew through your walls and floors until something collapses.
Termites will leave behind wood shavings and transparent insect wings. If you see any signs of obvious wood damage, check for those signs as well.
4. Fix Faulty Wiring
Old, faulty wiring is not only a fire hazard but also an electrocution hazard. If it’s very old, it likely isn’t even up to code. This can be a major problem if you decide you’d like to sell your house.
You’ll also need to check your breaker box and fuse boxes. Everything should be configured properly and safely. If you don’t know what to check for, a professional electrician can help you diagnose the state of your electrical system.
5. Make Sure You Can Escape in an Emergency
If you’re in your basement and a fire starts upstairs, the worst thing you can do is run back upstairs to get out the front door. You need a way to get outside as quickly as possible from the basement.
Check your local building codes to see if your basement has enough escape routes. The easiest way to add escape routes is to add windows to climb through. You can also add a stairway that leads directly outside and is covered by horizontal doors.
Get Prepped – Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!
Though it’s easy to ignore the problems buried under our feet, by being proactive and fixing minor problems before they become major hazards, we are ensuring our safety and reducing financial risk.
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey