You Asked, He Answered: Part II

Ameri-Dry Guy Returns to Answer Your Commonly Asked Questions

There’s no doubt that the weather has been pretty crazy in some parts of the country lately -- who would expect a snowstorm in Maryland the middle of March?!?! All of this strange weather has led to all sorts of strange issues that have been making an impact on homeowners’ basements, crawl spaces, and foundations. But never fear; Ameri-Dry Guy is here to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. Take it away Ameri-Dry Guy . . . Q. I recently bought a home that was originally built in 1920. The home has been added onto over time with the most recent addition in 2007. But no matter what I do, my basement is constantly cold and damp, and the crazy weather isn’t helping. Do you know of any possible causes and solutions? Well, it seems like it’s time for a little home history lesson -- I promise it will be quick! Before 1945, there were very few, if any, homebuilding codes in place. This means that much of the work done before then would not be up to today’s code standards. It also means that any windows, walls, or pipe openings were not sealed and waterproofed to prevent moist air from entering. It appears that your walls may be the biggest culprit here. I suggest contacting a licensed waterproofing contractor like Ameri-Dry to seal the walls from the inside. It is also important to install drain tile and in-ground air flow systems to remove any additional moisture. Q. I have been getting water in my basement quite a bit lately, and someone told me that it could be a result of ‘hyperbarric pressure’, which can be a leading cause of water in basements. Can you explain what that is in layman’s terms? I think what you are talking about is ‘hydrostatic pressure’, and you’re right, it can be a leading cause of basement and foundation problems. Hydrostatic pressure occurs when the soil around your home becomes swollen with excess water. This swelling creates pressure in two ways: first, it takes up space and creates added pressure on your foundation and basement walls, and, secondly, if you have clay soil around your home, it can actually absorb the water and eventually push your basement wall inward. Q. Spring is here! I was so happy when thinking about how the weather was going to warm up, but then I realized that all of the melting snow began to find its way into my basement. A section of wall behind a set of concrete cellar stairs is soaked as well as two of the stairs. What should I do? Q. My sump pump is turning on almost every four hours like clockwork. There hasn’t been any significant rain fall, so needless to say, I’m a little confused. Do you have any suggestions on what may be going on? Wow, that does seem a bit strange. My first thought is to call your city or county and have them come out to test your water main. They can see if the cause is the water main by testing the water in your sump pump for fluoride. If the water main is not the problem, then it is likely that you have ground water leaking around your foundation. Thankfully, your sump pump is doing its job. However, I would suggest in investing in a battery backup system for your sump pump in case the power ever goes out. If it does, you may be in a world of wet basement trouble. To see more of Ameri-Dry Guy's advice for homeowners' questions, click here here. With over 30 years of basement waterproofing experience, Ameri-Dry offers patented, permanently dry systems that are backed by a full lifetime warranty. For more information about Ameri-Dry and Ameri-Dry Guy, visit (, follow Ameri-Dry on Facebook or Twitter.