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Is the Water in My Basement Dangerous?

You’ve probably wondered, “Is the water in my basement dangerous?” and heard horror stories online about people having problems with water leaking into their basements during rainy days, or worse, having their basements completely flooded and their belongings ruined.

Even if your basement doesn’t flood, water seeping into it can still harm you, your loved ones, and your home. Let’s answer the question of how dangerous water in your basement can be, breaking it down into health risks, structural damage, electrical problems, and property value loss.

Health Risks and Hazards

Normal basement wall cracks do not immediately threaten your foundation or home’s structural integrity, but they can allow water seepage and should be monitored for any signs of growth. “Normal,” non-structural cracks are:

  • Less than 1/8th of an inch wide (about the same width as a US nickel). 
  • Isolated to a single part of your basement wall, such as a single concrete block. 
  • Stable (do grow or widen).
  • Near typical stress points of your basement (windows, I-beams, corners, floors, longer wall sections). 

“A little bit of basement water can lead to big problems for you as the homeowner. Our customers often don’t realize it, but a persistent wet basement can lead to mold, rot, insects, rodents, and property damage. Nipping the problem in the bud is the safest, most cost-effective solution to any basement moisture.”

-Steve Karlik, Owner & Founder of Blue Umbrella Waterproofing

Types Of Normal Basement Wall Cracks

Basement Water Leads to Mold

Mold loves and needs two things to thrive: water and a dark place with dead organic matter. Unfortunately, a wet basement has both.

Mold has been around for millions of years and is vital in breaking down dead organic matter.
The problem is that mold doesn’t understand the difference between your floor joists and a dead log in a damp forest.

In addition to damaging your wooden supports, mold also releases spores as part of its reproductive process.

Anyone in the home inhales these microscopic spores, which can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Certain kinds of mold are even toxic and can be fatal. Water in your basement and the eventual mold growth it promotes pose a health risk for you and your loved ones.

Dust Mites

While dust mites may be microscopic, they can breed quickly in a wet basement and become a big problem.

Like mold spores, dust mites are inhaled by a home’s residents. The inhaled mites can trigger allergies and asthma attacks.

Fortunately, dust mites have a considerable weakness. They require moisture to survive. If you can keep your basement dry, dust mites won’t have a chance to establish a foothold.

Bacterial Growth

Organic matter is on most surfaces of your home, even if it doesn’t look like it. Whether it’s microscopic skin flakes or a crumb from a favorite snack, if it’s on the floor or walls of your wet basement, it can become the perfect spot for bacteria to grow.

With both moisture and a food source available, bacteria can begin to grow in your basement, resulting in potential illness for you and your loved ones.

Basement bugs in New Jersey

Breeding Ground for Pests

It’s not just the microscopic pests that you’ll have to worry about. A wet basement is damp, dark, and has nowhere near as much foot traffic as the rest of your home. These conditions attract larger pests:

  • Ants
  • Termites
  • Silverfish
  • Cockroaches
  • Mice and Rats

These are just some of the invasive insects and rodents that are attracted to wet basements. They bring with them disease and damage.

Termites are the most terrifying pests, responsible for over $6 billion in damage across the United States each year! You wouldn’t want those invaders in your home.

Slipping Hazards and Accidents

As if that’s not enough to worry about, there is also the general hazard of slipping on a wet surface in your basement. A fall, especially on hard concrete, can be painful and result in severe and expensive injuries.

New Jersey Damaged Foundation Wall

Structural Damage

Wood Rot

Like mold, the fungal species that cause wood rot are part of nature’s family of decomposers. Again, like mold, they only need moisture and dead wood to feed.

Unaddressed wood rot can weaken your home’s supports, eventually leading to collapse.

Cracks and Foundation Damage

When water collects against the outside of your foundation walls, the resulting hydrostatic pressure can be so great that it may crack the concrete. As water damages your foundation, it can seep through the cracks it creates and cause further damage to the foundation in the process.

Spreading Damage to Other Parts of the Home

Structural problems caused by water in the basement won’t simply stay down there. As the home’s supports, like floor joists, rot and the foundation weakens, the house’s stability can be compromised. You may discover cracks in your drywall, sinking floors, or even jamming doors. These are all symptoms of a more significant problem: your basement and foundation are in trouble because of basement water and hydrostatic pressure.

Electrical Problems

Power Loss

A short circuit caused by water making contact with a wire can result in power loss to parts or all of your home.


In a flooded basement, there’s a significant risk of electrocution as water comes into contact with electrical equipment or wiring. It’s highly advised that professionals assist you in cutting the power to your home and drying your basement out.

Fire Hazards

Despite how wet a damp basement can be, a fire can still occur. Ironically, a fire can be caused when water creates a short circuit in any wiring, equipment, or even inside the main electrical panel in your basement.

Basement Mold Prevention in New Jersey

Property Damage and Loss of Home Value

Musty Smells

As mildew and mold spread in a wet basement, the air can take on a musty smell. Savvy homebuyers will know that a musty smell means wet basement troubles, which means repairs are needed, making your property less appealing to potential buyers.

Loss of Resale Value

Having a wet basement can lower your home’s resale value. As potential buyers tour your home, they’ll likely want your wet basement fixed before they are willing to pay even close to your asking price.

Property Damage

Whether you have boxes of belongings and important memories stored in your basement or you have fully finished your basement, you wouldn’t want water to ruin it all. The repair costs for a water-damaged finished basement can be astounding. But, even worse, imagine losing something priceless, like family photo albums or precious keepsakes to a flooded basement.

Interior french drain basement waterproofing in New Jersey

Protect Your Basement From Water Problems

Interior Basement Waterproofing

An interior basement waterproofing system will ensure that water reaching your foundation is redirected away from your home. The system uses drainage channels, perforated PVC pipes, a sump pump in a sump pit, a vapor barrier, and a discharge line.

High-quality interior basement waterproofing, like that installed by Blue Umbrella Waterproofing, can keep your basement dry and protect your family and home from the dangers of basement water.

Basement Dehumidifiers

A professional-grade basement dehumidifier complements an interior waterproofing system for added protection. The waterproofing system keeps water out of your basement, and the dehumidifier keeps the basement humidity low enough to prevent mold, odors, dust mites, insects, and rot from invading the space.

Blue Umbrella uses the most reliable AprilAire basement dehumidifiers for our customer’s homes.

Call Blue Umbrella Waterproofing

To answer the question clearly, water in your basement is dangerous. Fortunately, the solution is simple.

Call Blue Umbrella Waterproofing, your trusted basement waterproofing company. We offer interior basement waterproofing solutions, including basement dehumidifiers and sump pump monitoring systems.

Don’t leave the door open for outside water to intrude. Let Blue Umbrella be your shield against all wet basement problems! Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and estimate!

Steve Karlik
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