Woman coughing having gotten sick from bacteria growing in wet basement

Health Hazards of a Wet Basement

Your basement is located below your home. With a focus on main and upper floors where most of your living space may be, maintenance and care for your basement can more easily be put on the back burner.


This can create a problem, however. Although a basement is closed in and can easily resemble other living areas in your home, it is much more susceptible to certain problems. One such problem is water intrusion, as moisture that collects in your wet basement can cause some real problems.

The moisture in a wet basement can provide an ideal growth environment for various types of bacteria. These bacteria can have a variety of health impacts on those exposed to them. Cleaning and disinfecting is not sufficient for resolving this issue. You must address the source of the issue. Preventing the moisture intrusion or managing the moisture once it enters the space will help to eliminate this issue. A health hazard that typically comes to most people’s minds in association with water issues is mold.

Mold is a fungus that grows under the conditions provided in a damp basement. In addition to mold, other fungi will grow as well. In many cases fungi are misidentified as mold. Remember, all mold is fungus, but not all fungus is mold. Fungi come in a variety of colors and will grow on any food source. This includes dust on materials that would not normally be a growth media. Fungi release spores into the air. When exposed to these spores, some individuals will experience a variety of reactions. Most common reactions include headaches, respiratory illnesses, asthma, and eye infections.


A wet basement can also attract a variety of pests, including (but not limited to!) ants, termites, spiders, snakes, cockroaches, mice, and dust mites. They can cause musty smells and an unpleasant environment, whether it be for a bedroom or for storage! Some water intrusion can become so great that it will cause damage to materials like drywall or flooring materials.


Barrier Waterproofing Systems can resolve your moisture intrusion issues with a custom-designed system for your specific situation. Our systems will keep your basement dry and help to eliminate these health issues. Give us a call at (615) 257-1060 to schedule an evaluation of your home and check for the presence of moisture intrusion in your basement.

This post was originally published on 4/24/2020 and updated on 1/26/2021 for accuracy and a larger scope of information.

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