FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why should I fix this problem?

Two simple words: home value. Studies have shown that a basement water problem can reduce that value of a home 25% or more. It is economically foolish not to waterproof, because the increased value from waterproofing will definitely exceed the cost of the waterproofing. You should look at waterproofing not as an expense but as an investment in the value of your home.

How serious is my water problem?

Unfortunately, the water you see in your basement is the least of the problem. This water will evaporate into the air eventually.

The water that is not escaping through the foundation wall is the source of trouble. This water will cause lower wall deterioration, cracks or bulges in the walls, and many other concerns. A thorough inspection by a trained professional is needed to determine the extent or severity of the problem.

Why does my basement leak?

Water penetration is caused by several factors. The drain tile that is installed on most homes may become clogged with silt and settlement, either because inadequate materials were used to save money, or improper installation, causing it to fail. The original foundation coating may have deteriorated due to the use of inferior materials, and is allowing water to enter the foundation through wall cracks and/or pores. There are many places and ways in which water can enter a foundation. In simple terms, your basement leaks for one (or both) of two reasons:

1. Hydrostatic pressure — water penetration up from below your basement floor. This is the result of the groundwater table rising upward.

2. Lateral pressure — water penetration through your foundation walls. This can result from water movement through natural underground veins, from poor ground drainage or downspouts that empty too close to your foundation, or from water simply building up in the hole in which your house sits.

How is water getting under my house?

Most likely there is either poor or nonexistent perimeter and lateral drainage for the foundation. An inspection is needed to find out for sure.

How does it work in the summer and winter?

Unfortunately, the water you see in your basement is the least of the problem. This water will evaporate into the air eventually.
The water that is not escaping through the foundation wall is the source of trouble. This water will cause lower wall deterioration, cracks or bulges in the walls, and many other concerns. A thorough inspection by a trained professional is needed to determine the extent or severity of the problem.

What about energy factors – expelling air conditioned air in the summer or heated air in the winter?

If you have moisture problems, your top priority is to expel it. A conventional basement dehumidifier just won’t do it. In the summer, if the air conditioning is working upstairs; the drier replacement air that comes from upstairs, accomplishes the goal of a dehumidified basement even faster.

If the air conditioning is not working, then the air coming from the upstairs is warmer than downstairs, and will then raise the dew point and reduce the condensation. There is a negligible increase in utility costs when running the air conditioning, especially when you spread the cost over a full year. In the winter, the moist air is expelled and the warmer air replacing it is drier and a lot easier and less expensive to heat.

Humidex only uses 40 watts of electricity- similar to a light bulb! The pay back is less than two years, just in the savings from reduced electricity costs, in comparison to a dehumidifier. Overall it is less costly to heat or air condition a drier home than a damp one.

How does the unit affect airflow?

The majority of homes are not airtight. There is enough air flowing from the doors, windows and openings. Air pressure and flow can be affected by any combustible appliance (i.e. furnace, gas dryer) or ventilation unit (i.e. bathroom fan, attic fan).

We therefore recommend that the Humidex be installed at least 10 ft. away from any furnace in order not to interfere with the air flow. In an extreme airtight situation and in conjunction with other high capacity ventilation and combustion appliances, we have a passive fresh air ventilator kit ASV 90-4. It requires a 4″ outlet that delivers filtered air to a room and is equipped with a manual damper.

How quickly should I expect to see results after my HUMIDEX is installed?

The Humidex ventilation solution is a drying out process that will vary in time depending on home, environment and conditions. The majority of homeowners will see results relatively quickly ranging from within a few days to a few short weeks.

In extreme conditions and when there may be heavy moisture saturation in the structure, we recommend that you allow the unit to dry out the basement, for as long as it takes. For the home environment to improve, contributing sources of moisture from water seepage should be remedied first in order to allow for the basement to dry out. After remedying the water problems and installing the Humidex you should start to see improvement, although again, each home situation is different.

Where and how is HUMIDEX installed?

Humidex is installed professionally, as per company specifications, to maximize ventilation and moisture control. It requires a dedicated 6? vent to the outside and is located in the lowest part of the home, in an area where it will be able to draw in the most moisture and create a strong airflow over the maximum surface area.

How will HUMIDEX improve air quality and help cure Sick Home Syndrome?

The air in many homes contains harmful pollutants that are invisible, odorless and not readily detected. These substances can be more detrimental than the air outside and can cause health problems such as irritated eyes and nose, headaches, dizziness, tiredness, infections and respiratory diseases.

When windows and doors are closed, the house cannot breathe and rid itself of these elements. Moisture further aggravates the condition, by having the capacity to trap and contain these contaminants. Moisture is a source of nutrition for molds, dust mites and other infestation that are primary triggers for asthma and allergic symptoms.

Humidex provides both moisture control and improved indoor air quality on a continuous basis without any maintenance or complicated controls, thereby insuring a healthy environment. By exchanging the damp polluted air several times a day, you are transforming the home into a fresher, drier and healthier environment.

Will HUMIDEX work for the entire house?

The fan is extremely powerful and quiet. The unit’s capacity is specified in terms of the square footage at the lowest level. One unit expels 280 cu. ft. of air per minute which can reduce problems in area up to 2,100 sq. ft. The actual total living area benefiting from the Humidex is greater, as a result of the air replenished and exchanged throughout the house with fresh air from outside.

What is Humidex?

Humidex solves the century old problem of excess moisture by utilizing controlled and targeted ventilation as opposed to a conventional dehumidifier which removes moisture particles from the air by condensation and then recirculates the same stale air back into the room.

Humidex focuses in on the major source of moisture problems which is the lowest point in a house where there is the most moisture infiltration, stagnation and condensation; namely the basement and crawl space. The unit entirely expels the cool damp air out of the house and uses the warmer and fresher upstairs air to effectively lower relative humidity and dry out the structure.

It creates an air exchange in the entire house that will reduce moisture related problems such as excess humidity, a musty basement , mildew, and alleviate conditions that aggravate asthma and allergi.

Why Exterior Waterproofing?

For a basement to be absolutely waterproof, it needs to have protection against sub-surface water for all of the below grade walls, sealing a wall on the inside traps water within the wall and actually speeds up the deterioration of the wall, which could lead to foundation walls bowing and serious structural damage.

Water concealed below grade can get under the footings in a foundation, and destabilize the structural integrity of your home or business. This can lead to cracked foundation walls and footings, and very costly repairs.

Standing water and heavy moisture can lead to an infestation of mould, mildew and fungus on the joists, studs and sheetrock in the basement, not only can mould lead to wood-rot and costly repairs, it can be quite damaging to your health. A.C.C.L Waterproofing certified mould remediators will remove the mould spores, mildew, fungus, toxins and dead organic material from all surfaces, apply a superior mould-resistant coating, and install a moisture control unit to prevent any recurrent mould growth in the future.

Exterior waterproofing will prevent any water from damaging your home and save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Homeowners should use common sense when hiring a contractor to do exterior waterproofing. Safety must play an important role in this process. Improper excavation and backfill can lead to personal and/or structural damage. Contractors should be licensed, insured and follow Ontario Building Code and local regulations regarding excavation.

Looking for “Hidden Mould”?

Investigating hidden mould problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mould growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mould growing on the underside of the paper. If you believe that you may have a hidden mould problem, consider hiring an experienced professional.

How do I fix a mould problem?

The mould spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mould growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mould growth in your home, you must clean up the mould and fix the water problem.

If you clean up the mould, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mould problem will come back. Mould remediation should only be performed by an experienced contractor who understands the danger of the process. Improper containment areas and removal can result in a cross-contaminated structure with a more widespread problem than existed before the work began.

What is the cost?

With waterproofing, like anything else, you get what you pay for. You should be wary of extremely expensive proposals, but also of cut-rate “pick-up truck” contractors, as they often go out of business, which will make their warranties worthless.

At A.C.C.L Waterproofing Systems, our prices are always competitive with our reputable competitors, and cheaper than many. One thing is certain: your cost will be a lot less than the increased value in your home that comes with the A.C.C.L Waterproofing Systems Lifetime Warranty.

Can we ever finish our basement with confidence that it will stay dry?

Absolutely. We can fortify your home, permanently eliminate water intrusion or prevent basement flooding, and provide you with a total moisture control and indoor air quality solution for the life of the structure.

Will insurance cover the cost of the repairs that I need?

Not usually, unless the problems were caused by storm damage. Most insurance companies consider water intrusion a maintenance issue.

Should the previous owner have to pay for fixing the problems that I have?

You would have to prove that the previous owner knew about the problem and failed to disclose it. Legal fees could cost more than repairs and you might end up being burdened with both.

What about clay (sodium bentonite) injections?

Absolutely not! This method involves injecting a sodium bentonite mixture (a clay-like substance) into the ground around the perimeter of the foundation without excavation. The hope is that the mixture will coat the foundation walls and stop water entry.

If it sounds impossible, it’s because it is. Without excavation, there is no way to spread the mixture evenly along the walls. Even if it were spread properly, the mixture would eventually fail like other exterior treatment methods. This method was long ago de-bunked by the Ontario Department of Consumer Protection (among other agencies) and does not meet the required standards by Ontario Building Code as a legitimate waterproofing method. Many companies using this method were driven out of business, although there are a few still around.

Do we have to dig out our foundation to resolve the problem?

In some cases this can be avoided. If a truly waterproof basement is what you want, than yes the foundation must be excavated by hand or mini-excavator down to the footer, a multi-layer seal must be applied using today’s most advanced waterproofing materials, and a proper pressure relief drainage system must be engineered.

An interior drainage system can control water from flooding a basement, and is a more cost-effective method in certain situations, but does not waterproof a basement. If there are cracks in a foundation wall or floor, water will continue to enter into the basement and be collected by the water control system.

Over time, water penetration will continue to deteriorate and weaken the structure; walls subjected to high soil pressures (hydrostatic pressure) will eventually bow, bulge, lean, or completely buckle. Sealing a wall from the inside alone with interior crack patches will trap water inside the wall and actually speed up the deterioration of the wall.

What are the rust-coloured stains on my wall?

Rust-coloured stains, especially on block or poured concrete walls, are a sign of acid damage. The soil outside your home is very acidic, and when the water leaks into your basement, it draws that acidity with it. Your wall acts as a filter, holding this acid back and allowing the filtered water into your basement. Acid damage can lead to lower wall deterioration. With an average of 50 tons resting on your foundation walls, the integrity of your walls must be maintained.

What is the white chalky substance on my walls?

Efflorescence. Concrete is made of three materials: stone, lime cement, and sand. Efflorescence is the chemical breakdown of the lime cement, the bonding agent that holds your walls together. The water inside of your foundation walls is slowly bleeding the lime cement out of the wall, leaving the white, chalky substance. Over time, there will be nothing to hold the wall together, resulting in cracks and foundation deterioration.

What causes the musty smell in my basement?

Unfortunately, the musty smell you have is much more than just a bad smell. Mould and fungus spores that float in the air cause it. This will contribute to allergy and asthma problems, as well as other more serious health issues.

Mould can go unnoticed, growing behind walls and under flooring. If it is suspected that there is unseen mould growth in your home, indoor mould growth should be addressed immediately. Please contact us and we will dispatch a certified mould inspector to inspect your home.

I put up new gutters, ran extensions away from the house and re-graded, so why do I still get water in my basement?

No amount of roof water control and grading will stop the ground from getting saturated when it rains. If grading kept water from going into the ground, there wouldn’t be trees on hills or the sides of mountains. Foundation protection has to be in the ground next to the foundation.

Why do I have cracks in my foundation walls and/or floor?

There are several factors that can cause foundation walls and/or floors to crack, resulting in several different problems. A crack in a foundation wall is a sign of settling or movement. Walls that are subjected to relatively high soil pressures can crack and buckle, or bow.

Cracks can pose serious short- and long-term problems: in the short run, cracks can be an easy means for water entry into your basement. In the long run, cracks can compromise the structural integrity of your foundation.

Large cracks, cracks that have visibly grown over time, or bowed or buckling walls need immediate attention. The average house places over 50 tons of weight on its foundation walls, so the integrity of the walls must be maintained!

Cracks in your basement floor can also be caused by settling and shifting in your foundation walls, in the footer underlying your foundation, or in the floor (or “slab”) itself. However, floor cracks are more frequently caused by hydrostatic pressure.

The water pressure from below the floor must escape somewhere, so it pokes a hole or crack in your basement floor. Water penetration through a foundation wall can ultimately deteriorate the foundation wall, reducing its strength, allowing movement in the wall itself.

Why didn’t my home inspector discover the problem?

Most home inspectors are general practitioners who know the basics about all aspects of a structure plumbing, roofing, electrical, etc. If they inspect a house that doesn’t have water under it at the time of the inspection, the problem is easily overlooked.

A specialist is better equipped to detect the residual signs of water/moisture problems; even in the midst of a drought.

What if I plan to sell my home shortly?

This is all the more reason to waterproof it. If you are trying to sell a home with a leaky basement, you have two bad choices: conceal the defect and be exposed to a lawsuit when the buyer discovers his wet basement, or reveal the defect and accept a dramatically reduced price for your home.

There is a better way! Waterproof your home before putting it on the market and recoup the cost of the waterproofing when you sell it. A.C.C.L Waterproofing Systems’ transferable lifetime warranty assures the success of this strategy.

Should I use an interior sealer like Dry-Loc?

Interior sealers can be useful to address isolated damp spots, or as an extra measure of precaution. We occasionally apply sealers as a supplement to the Atlantis solution. We do not recommend interior sealers as a complete solution to a significant problem.

First, sealers are a “band aid” solution and do not address your real problem: water is penetrating through your foundation. The band aid will eventually fail and the water penetration will resume. In addition, sealers trap water within the walls, which can actually accelerate foundation deterioration. Also, like all other wall treatments, interior sealers do not solve the problem of hydrostatic water pressure from below your basement floor.

How do I begin to deal with the problem?

There are many options on the market for fixing a basement water issue. The problem is that most of them don’t work! The place to begin is with a professional inspector who will diagnose your problem and recommend the right solution.

In most situations, an interior drainage system is the best way to stop floor water or flooding. However, every basement is different, and you should beware of companies that offer a “one size fits all” solution. At A.C.C.L Waterproofing Systems, our inspectors are experts in the field, and our inspections are free. Call us at 1-866-701-8484, or make a request online for a free inspection.

How can I tell where the water is coming from?

Water can enter a foundation through several different ways. The most common is at the cove area, where the floor and the wall meet. This, simply put, is a natural seam in which the water can most easily penetrate your foundation.

Hydrostatic pressure (water does not stack very well; immense pressure builds up around the foundation when the ground is saturated) will force water through cracks in your foundation walls and/or floor. Several other sources are probable, though these are not as easily noticeable.

Our licensed inspectors are trained to determine the exact source of your problem, and advise the most effective solution for your particular situation.

How can a house so new, that passed inspections, have a water problem?

Unfortunately, building codes aren’t sufficient with regard to foundation drainage and waterproofing. Most builders are not budgeted to do more than code minimums. That’s all city/county inspectors can look for.

Will my home really be damaged if I don’t fix it?

Over time, yes. Given enough time, water can do serious structural damage to your foundation walls – not to mention make your basement a damp, unpleasant place to live. This is particularly true if you live in a climate where winter temperatures often dip below freezing. During winter, water inside your foundation walls will freeze and expand, which will only accelerate the cracking and deterioration process.

Projects that should take priority are those that will protect your home from deterioration and damage” – Consumer Reports “Making Your House Pay Off,” March, 2000

Another reason to waterproof: more space. A finished basement can make a wonderful living room, home theatre, exercise room, home office, etc. According to a Consumer Reports study, a finished basement will also significantly increase your home’s value. After all, your basement is probably one-third or more of the total square footage of your home – why waste it? But before investing in a finished basement, waterproofing is essential.

“Money spent finishing a basement will yield an average return of 119%” – Remodeling Magazine

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