Water intrusion and damage can be detrimental to your home for a variety of reasons. Along with ruining any stored belongings, leaking water can lead to mold growth and unpleasant odors, and even result in flooding conditions.
These issues also result in unhealthy conditions that affect the rest of your home. Because of the stack effect, air circulates through your home from top to bottom, like a chimney. So, whatever is in your basement and/or crawl space (mold, moisture, odors) is in the rest of your house.
While building code calls for vented crawl spaces for air drying purposes, this is harmful to the home. Hot and humid air enters the crawl space during the summer, which contributes to high levels of moisture and humidity in the crawl space and home. This can lead to sagging, soft, buckling floors above, and result in problems to hardwood floors. Similarly, cold air is vented in during the winter, making the above floors feel chilly and overtaxing your furnace. (Additional resource: Liabilities of Vented Crawl Spaces, Their Impacts on Indoor Air Quality in Southeastern U.S. Homes and One Intervention Strategy)
Leaking water also affects your home’s structural integrity. If you have block foundation walls, water can easily saturate and seep through the porous material and find its way inside through any crack or gap. If water has nowhere to go, it starts building up inside the walls. Coupled with hydrostatic pressure, this results in an unsafe mess for your foundation walls and basement floor.
Your home is a significant investment, and it is important to ensure its health and safety today and for the future. The longer you neglect these issues, the more costly future repairs will be. A wet, nasty basement also affects the value of and ability to sell a home.