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Getting rid of Cellar Dampness

Discussion in 'Building' started by securitynewbie, 2 Jul 2016.

  1. securitynewbie

    securitynewbie

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    Hi guys,

    I've recently moved into a property, which has a small, but useful basement. I am currently doing some wiring for a burglar alarm and wanted to install the main control panel in the basement (hidden away).

    However, I have noticed that although the cellar seems dry, majority of the items, especially metal ones such as filing cabinets and metal shelves are pretty rusted with a hint of dampness on them.

    I also have some air vents and I read on another forum that you should block these...however I felt a bit concerned, as surely the whole purpose of air vents is to keep the place dry????

    Your advice would be most appreciated.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jul 2016
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  3. flameport

    flameport

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    If you block the air vents, it will make the problem far worse.
    More ventilation may help, but ultimately it will still be damp.
    Unless you want to spend substantial amounts of money and time, a cellar will always be like that.
     
  4. securitynewbie

    securitynewbie

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    Thank you flameport. I'm just worried that if I install a burglar alarm panel, that it will eventually start to rust and possibly malfunction. Unsure what to do or whether I should just install it in the hope it won't breakdown.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jul 2016
  5. JohnD

    JohnD

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    Space it off the wall so air can circulate behind and it is not in contact with damp brickwork (this is why electricity meters used to be mounted on boards spaced off the wall)

    An easy way is to get some plastic caps off fizzy drink bottles, drill a hole through the middle, hold them behind your item and feed the fixing screw through the hole. This will give you a 20mm gap, and the plastic cap is unaffected by damp.

    The alarm case will be ever so slightly heated above ambient by the PSU inside. I don't know if that will be enough to prevent condensation.

    Look out for any particular sources of damp, such as plumbing leaks, rainwater gullies outside, or water pooling against the house due to incorrect slope on paving. The Building section here will have more ideas.

    Maximise ventilation on both sides of the house to blow the humid air away.
     
  6. securitynewbie

    securitynewbie

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    JohnD, you are a life-saver and the idea to keep the panel off the wall is brilliant. Thanks. Condensation is still an issue, but I'm not exactly sure if I've found the source - Basically I've noticed a small central heating pipe leak in the room, with a drop of water every minute or so falling to the floor.

    Regarding maximising ventilation....could you please be a bit more specific?

    Just FYI, this room has two 3 walls under the ground, so ground soil will be touching them.
     
  7. JohnD

    JohnD

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    "two 3 walls"??

    I mean some air bricks on the west side of the house, and some on the east, will get throughflow of air when wind is blowing from west or from east. Some airbricks on north and on south will catch the other directions. You need holes on both the windward and on the lee side.

    Depending where you live, most often wind will be coming from the Southwest.
     
  8. securitynewbie

    securitynewbie

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    My apologies....I meant 2 externals and 1 internal.

    I've done a quick diagram to explain:-

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Himaginn

    Himaginn

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    I think you need a new compass.
    You need air vents, at least on opposing sides. On all four sides for maximum ventilation. But usually two suffices.
    These would be at external ground level, guarded against critters, etc.
     
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  11. Gerrydelasel

    Gerrydelasel

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    Are there any vents on the 'west' side of the diagram too, with air flow across the partition through gaps at the top?
     
    Last edited: 4 Jul 2016
  12. securitynewbie

    securitynewbie

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    Morning.

    I can assure you that I have shown and verified the direction of the house correctly. Vents can't be placed on the east, west or south side as the ground level here is much higher than the cellar ceiling.

    It's unlikely I have any vents on the west side Gerrydelasel as this is the neighbour's property (I live in a semi-detached property). There are no gaps at the top of the partition wall as this wall is solid and probably a supporting wall as it runs through to upstairs.
     
  13. TheVictorian

    TheVictorian

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    Your cellar has probably been slightly damp for over 100 years, basically you either live with it and make minor changes to make the best of what you have or spend a fortune converting it to a proper habitable room - from experience there is nothing that works in between these two options.

    Keep the floor as clean as you can, dust and dirt in act as sponges for more damp. Keep it as ventillated as you can, as already suggested, as airflow is the best thing for a healthy cellar.

    Be mindful of what you store down there, cardboard boxes are always a bad idea as they'll turn into mouldy pulp quote quickly.

    In terms of electronics down there, I have a server cabinet in my cellar containing a network switch, ariel distribution and a server. The gentle heat from this equipment keeps it all nice and dry and free of damp. It's been there 4 years now and all looks perfect still.
     
  14. securitynewbie

    securitynewbie

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    Thank you TheVictorian. I guess with your example of having a server within a cellar, I'm sure I'll be safe with the alarm panel too. In regards to ventilation, what can I actually do to improve this? For example do I drill more holes in the wall to allow more air circulation?
     
  15. endecotp

    endecotp

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    Hilarious. Have another look at your diagram.
     
  16. JohnD

    JohnD

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    we're just pulling your leg.

    Observe the relative positions of the four cardinal points.


    [​IMG]
     
  17. Himaginn

    Himaginn

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    You can insert new airbricks and using a round to square adaptor like that shown,raise the 'intake' above ground level with 100mm pipe and a couple of elbows.
    There are grills that allow fixing to round pipe, such as the one shown below.
    Alternatively there is a telescopic air duct to allow insertion into a cavity wall with the intake and outlet at different heights.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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