? Protect Your Gear From Basement Humidity
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Protect Your Home Theater Gear From Basement Humidity

Protect your expensive home theater gear from basement humidity with these easy tips.

Humidity can be a major problem for many home owners who decide on doing a basement remodeling project. The basement is one of the best spots to put a new home theater, but the threat from basement humidity and water seepage is too great to overlook.

Home theater or not, when researching how to finish a basement, its really a good idea to spend some time learning how humidity and water seepage can affect you.

Since most basements sit below ground level, the four concrete walls and the concrete floor are surrounded by fairly moist dirt. Concrete is porous and easily sucks in water from the surrounding soil. This usually translates to water vapor coming into your basement, or worse yet, water leaking from the walls themselves.

Humidity headaches

First, lets look at controlling humidity. If the humidity in your basement is above 65%, you run the risk of the electrical components in your home theater equipment rusting. That's right -- rust.

The outside of your equipment may look like it has a nice fit and finish, but inside is a different story. The metal stamping process to create holes and openings leaves the thin sheet metal exposed to the air in the room. Rust can form along these exposed edges.

Another side-effect of high basement humidity is the growth of molds inside your walls. Mold is a fungus that's very harmful to you and your family. Inhaling the spores can cause serious health problems like allergies and infections.

Placing a dehumidifier in your basement will help remove most of the moisture from the room. Setting the dehumidifier to leave about 45% humidity is a good start. This will eliminate the possibility of rust developing, and will prevent the growth of mold inside the walls.

Don't set the dehumidifier too low or you'll encourage the build up of static charges. Getting your fingers zapped when touching your AV receiver stings the fingers, but feels a lot worse to your gear and is something to definitely avoid.

Wet and not so wild

There are several basement waterproofing techniques available to the do-it-yourselfer. Applying a waterproofing treatment to your walls and floor before starting the construction process is definitely a good idea. This won't stop large amounts of water from coming in if it really wanted to, but it will help control water vapor and water seepage from common hairline fractures due to heavy rains, etc.

There are a few waterproofing compounds you can use; some are good while others aren't so useful. An acrylic waterproofer that just sits on top of the concrete is pretty useless because it needs to be reapplied every few years. If you're going to be putting up drywall to cover up the concrete walls, you want the waterproofing to last.

You want to use a product that actually penetrates the cement. Note that some products that call themselves "penetrating sealers" may actually just make the concrete more resistant to stains and spills and will do nothing to control water. Good products to use are UGL's DryLok or boiled lineseed oil.

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