The fun part about the house we just moved into is that there are a ton of small improvements that need to be made. Many of the improvements have to do with either temperature, moisture or both. I’d say that at least 50% of the serious projects I need to tackle are in the basement, with the other 50% scattered around the entire house. Good thing I enjoy using my brain to figure these types of things out and that I have years of experience in such areas. The Pine Bush house. Think Pine Bush. I spend three years of my life fixing that house up from top to bottom and walked away with the know-how to pretty much handle any situation that arises here.
Okay, let’s start off by saying that this basement needs work. It’s a crawl space with a wet dirt floor. I’m not going to get into what exactly I’m going to do to remedy first in this area, but I will tell you that I’ve had friends with similar issues and it cost them thousands of dollars to take care of. Luckily, I’ve been blessed to have been confronted with exactly the same situations in the past and have first hand experience with their solutions. All it takes is some rental equipment, a lot of work and a very sore back. But (there is a bright side here), if handled correctly, there is an overwhelming sense of pride when things are all said and done. Oh yeah – it also makes for some great blogging in the home improvement arena. Believe it or not, I really miss home repair.
Anyway, let’s get to today’s topic. You’ll actually see some of what I’m talking about above in the photos below.
One of the first things I noticed in this house is that the dryer vents straight into the basement. Like I said above, the basement is wet and has no moisture barrier over the exposed earth. A one foot long dryer vent tube doesn’t help that situation. I’m not saying that it necessarily does all that much harm in the grand scheme of things, but if a whole bunch of things need to be fixed, I’m going to start with the small stuff and then go one by one.
I’m going to go chronologically here, because this little dryer issue led to another issue, which led to another issue and so on.
First, I noticed that the dryer vented into the crawl space under the house. That is wrong. It’s not supposed to be like that. It’s supposed to vent outside, so I bought a sweet new twenty foot long foil dryer vent pipe along with a galvanized dryer vent. The vent is the mac daddy of all dryer vents. Let’s just say that it’s not one of those cheap plastic jobbers. It’s solid and constructed very well.
To begin the project, I pulled the washer and dryer out of their respective places, cleaned under them and disconnected the dryer vent pipe. I then went downstairs, waddled across the dirt and pulled the pipe. It didn’t budge. I quickly realized that the vent pipe was somehow squeezed into the hole in the floor and was quite tight. I pulled and ripped the pipe from the floor. Example number one. I now had to change the vent pipe and cut a larger hole in the floor. I did that.
Once I was done with the cutting, I hooked the new vent pipe to the dryer and snaked the remaining pipe into the basement. I pushed the dryer back in place and headed and headed outside.
Part of the foundation of this house is made of twelve inch cement block. And I must say, it’s constructed very well. I spent some time inspecting it from the inside and I can tell that whoever did this job did a good one. I can see no evidence of cracking or settling.
There is one cement block missing in the foundation. Actually, I wouldn’t say it’s missing – I would say it’s not there – on purpose. The area where the cement block isn’t can be used for a number of things, such as moving supplies or equipment into or out of the basement. It can also be used as a great place for a dryer to vent.
I knew there was a piece of wood outside covering the hole in the foundation. I just didn’t know what condition it was in. When I went outside with my marker, drill and saw, I quickly learned that the wood was junk. It was cracked down the middle and wasn’t attached to the house in any way. The way it sat, it was letting a fairly good amount of cold outside air into the basement, causing moisture mayhem in the way of condensation. Future endeavors in the basement will deal with the moisture problem, as I mentioned above.
Example number two. I now needed to cut a new piece of wood, drill holes in the concrete foundation, place plastic anchors in the concrete and fasten the wood to the wall. I would later caulk the wood to the cement to stop any draft. I did all that.
Really, that was the hard part. Running the tube from the dryer to the dryer vent and fastening it to the floor joists above wasn’t very difficult. I simply put one screw in each joist and then used mechanic’s wire to twist around the screw, wrap around the pipe and then twist around the screw again.
The problem is, the dirt floor in this basement puts out a lot of moisture. Since fixing the drafty piece of wood that covers the hole in the foundation, I stopped all ventilation. That’s a good thing, as there’s not supposed to be any ventilation in a basement. But here’s the thing – all the moisture that escapes the ground is now condensing on the colder material above, such as the foundation, pipes, dryer vent pipe, etc…One issue has led to another. Well, the second issue was always there.
Look, you can see how the caulk I applied yesterday is now running today.
What needs to be done here, and what will be the content of another blog post, is that the entire dirt floor has to be covered with plastic. A vapor barrier if you will. I did this job once before and it worked wonders. In one of our previous houses, as well as this house, condensation was forming on the windows upstairs. The condensation was caused by the moisture that had escaped the basement floor. Crazy but true. In our Pine Bush house, once I covered all exposed dirt in the basement, the condensation disappeared within days. It was amazing.
Okay, one last thing. From what I hear, come Spring, this basement is going to get wet. Standing water wet. So what I’m going to do down there to avoid the potential of my freshly laid plastic from floating away is create some sort of moat around the perimeter of the basement and install and sump pump. I already have one in the other basement section, but we’re going to need one here as well. I’ve done it all before and believe it or not, it’s actually pretty fun to think about, as long as you’re not in the middle of an April rain storm. More on that later.
Okay, if you have any questions on my installation of the new dryer vent and vent pipe, please leave them in the comment section below.