If you've been using the basement for storage because it always feels humid, transform it into living space by drying it out. There are a variety of things you can do to keep moisture from entering the basement and to quickly manage what does. Using a few of these tips, you'll have a lot of extra space to use as living area in your comfortable and dry basement.

Keep Water Away from the House

During rainstorms and melting snow, you want the water to run away from your foundation. Walk the perimeter of your house and look for landscaped areas that may direct water toward your foundation. Redesign those areas to slope away from the house. You may need to add rock and soil to low areas that have settled since the house was built. Water can pool in those places, allowing it to seep into the ground and toward the foundation.

Replace or repair any gutters and downspouts so water from the roof is taken far away from the house. If the downspouts are directed into in-ground drainage pipes that empty into the city sewer system, make sure each drain is clear and the water does not get backed up into the yard.

Keep Water from Rising into the Basement

If your foundation was dug near to or below the top of your local water table, you risk getting water into the basement each time it rains and the water table rises. Have a local plumber install a sump pump in your basement to prevent that water from coming into the basement.

A small opening is cut into the floor of your basement to create a well. As the water table rises, water collects in that well. A sump pump is placed in the well to pump the water into the sewer system before it rises into the basement. A float switch is used to automatically turn the pump on and off depending on the water level in the well. When working correctly, this will keep water from pooling on your basement floor.

Insulate Water Pipes Running Through the Basement

Copper water pipes can develop condensation on the outside of the pipe. This will make the basement feel more humid. Wrap insulation around all of the pipes to keep them dry year round.

Vent Humid Air Out of the Basement

If your laundry room is in the basement, make sure the dryer is vented to the outside of the house and there are no leaks in the vent tubing. If you have a bathroom in the basement, have a vent from the room to the outside to carry the moist air from your tub or shower. Both of these areas add moisture to your basement if they are not vented properly and completely.

Use Dehumidifiers Sparingly

It's tempting to put a couple of dehumidifiers in the basement to keep it dry. This can actually make things worse, though. You can dry out a basement too much, causing moisture from the ground to penetrate the walls and come into the basement. Turn on a dehumidifier when you'll be in a room in the basement but leave it off when you're away. Don't let them run all of the time.

Focus first on preventing water from entering the basement, then deal with the small amount of moisture that occurs from humidity and condensation. You'll soon have additional space in which to relax, entertain, or have guests stay overnight. Consider calling a professional plumber for leaks and other larger problems.