Dealing with dampness in a cellar

22 posts in this topic

I have a Kellerabteil (cellar area) where like everyone else I dump the rubbish that I don't have the heart to throw away. I had a rucksack down there and it's now covered in mould, possibly because it was lying on the floor. I put a thermometer down there to measure the temperature and relative humidity, and found that the Relative Humidity ranges between 68 and 74%, compared to around 58% in my living room. The temperature is around 18.5°C.

 

What is the practical outcome of this high humidity? Is it a bad idea to store bags, blankets and the like down there? I notice that my neighbours do store bags and whatnot down there. What are your experiences with damp cellars?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we own our own house and dampness in our cellar is usually a bad sign. We noticed that in the last 2 months, things seemed more damp than usual. Sure enough, we tested and the humidity levels were around 80%. We are having someone come to look at it, but probably we have a lead in one of the pipes that goes from either the toilet, shower or sink that we have down there that is causing this. We have a de-humindifier running 24/7 to help until we have it fixed and it has brought the humidity levels down to a more normal 50%.

 

There's not much you can do in a shared cellar in an apartment building to change the dampness levels. Maybe store your stuff in airtight boxes.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It also helps to open the window from time to time, but only when the outside temperature is lower than the temperature in the cellar. If warmer air flows in, there is a condensation effect, hence more dampness. This happens especially in summer, of course: "Warme Sommerluft ...", Stern, 12 June 2006

 

It is quite normal that cellars in old houses are always a little damp, because the walls are not sealed. So it is not advisable to store any fabric or leather items there, also no books.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, thanks for the responses. The building is fairly modern, but it's directly at the foot of a steep hill, so I guess there's a lot of water floating around that's drained off the hill. Airtight boxes sound like a good idea.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Similar vein but with a bit of crazy with it:

Summary is: Are there any rules about firedoors in basements (chapter & verse German style would be nice)

 

We live a in a house of 6 families, I've read multiple topics on how to handle damp and even printed out the recommended link on Toytown that was in German and made sense. (ie. twice a day in summer morning/evening 20-30 minutes)

Anyway we have the problem that our 'lovely' neighbours want all doors and windows open in the cellar, all year around.

This means high humidity on warm days, we have all been lucky so far as the house in a new build & this summer has been strange in Munich so no mold yet.

In winter this means, bleedlin' cold, as we have a room both in and above the cellar. You may say turn the heating up but the drawback of the modern underfloor heating is it gets warm but never hot and also when fighting the cold from the other side, not very warm. :huh:

Yes, I have tried talking to our neighbours, showing them sound advice, but they just say it makes sense to leave it all open and our landlord says we should sort it internally (ie. not fecked).

Our doors in the cellar were initially plastered with 'close the doors quietly' from the first neurotic housewife and now 'leave the doors open due to extreme humidity' from another. My feeling in the motivation is more they hate opening the door to get their washing through & secondly 2 families dry their washing down there giving the rest of us little room to swing a cat.

My thought is maybe some kind of German ordinance exists that I can print out, that says fire-doors should be kept closed at least they usually don't argue with such logic. :ph34r:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mandatory fire doors may not be kept open, but the question is, is it a mandatory fire door, or did they just put in a steel door because steel doors are cheap?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might also want to hang chalk in the keller somewhere. It will help draw out the wetness and humidity. Works a lot like damp-x in the states. (I use this in our closets because Florida is a state with 80% or higher humidity all the time!) Anyway its a cheap fix if it works here and not much money if it doesn't. Good Luck.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Might also want to hang chalk in the keller somewhere ...

 

I doubt such devices are worth employing in a damp cellar, being far too small in volume compared with the several cubic metres of a typical cellar. Even if they do help by drawing a little moisture from the air, they would soon become saturated and cease to work and must be dried out again (by baking?). Seems hardly worth the time, trouble and effort.

The only real solution is to install a proper dehumidifier over a long period of time.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone,

I have a similar issue. The recent summer rains led to quite a lot of rainwater in the floor of the cellar of my Altbau. Additionally, it seems like some pipes (now fixed) have been leaking, with the ceiling of my Kellarabteil showing clear signs of damp. 

Unsurprisingly, all of this has resulted in mould growing throughout the space. The Hausverwaltung has said this is normal and due to the heavy rains, but they are not responsible for taking care of the mould/damp.

My understanding is that they should be responsible for ensuring that the building is correctly water-proofed and should thus be liable for any damage caused by this. Is it worth pressing them on this, or should I just don some marigolds and get to work myself?

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I deal everyday in water mitigation or as it is known in Germany, Wasserschaden Sanierung. Call your Gebäude Versicherung and inform them of the damage, if you are unsure of the cause or believe there is multiple causes request that they send a Leckorter aka Messtechniker who can verify the problem. Most policies are covered for both rain water-flooding and leitungsbruch. If any of your furniture/belongings are damaged take photos and inform your Hausrat Versicherung.  If the mold is sever I would let it be dealt with by a professional, some molds can cause sickness. Don't set up a dehumidifier when there is mold visible as the air circulation will spread the spores everywhere.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Crossman said:

I deal everyday in water mitigation or as it is known in Germany, Wasserschaden Sanierung. Call your Gebäude Versicherung and inform them of the damage, if you are unsure of the cause or believe there is multiple causes request that they send a Leckorter aka Messtechniker who can verify the problem. Most policies are covered for both rain water-flooding and leitungsbruch. If any of your furniture/belongings are damaged take photos and inform your Hausrat Versicherung.  If the mold is sever I would let it be dealt with by a professional, some molds can cause sickness. Don't set up a dehumidifier when there is mold visible as the air circulation will spread the spores everywhere.

I wish that I could give more than just one green for that post !!!

 

 

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, moltenretriever said:

Hi everyone,

I have a similar issue. The recent summer rains led to quite a lot of rainwater in the floor of the cellar of my Altbau. Additionally, it seems like some pipes (now fixed) have been leaking, with the ceiling of my Kellarabteil showing clear signs of damp. 

Unsurprisingly, all of this has resulted in mould growing throughout the space. The Hausverwaltung has said this is normal and due to the heavy rains, but they are not responsible for taking care of the mould/damp.

My understanding is that they should be responsible for ensuring that the building is correctly water-proofed and should thus be liable for any damage caused by this. Is it worth pressing them on this, or should I just don some marigolds and get to work myself?

 

 

Some houses have what they call here a "Naturkeller".  Meaning, its not really a "part" of the actual house.  So no, as long as theres a door between it and the rest of the house, they aren't really responsible for water proofing it.  If it was meant to be livable space, then yes they are.

 

We have a Naturkeller in our house, which we own.  Nothing gets stored down there, except for wine and jarred food maybe.  That's just the nature of it (pardon the pun).  There's a pump in case water levels rise above the basement floor.  

 

In our old house, which was rented, we had a "abteil" as well, and it was again more like a Naturkeller.  But the landlord warned us against storing anything down there that could be damaged by dampness.  In the end, this pretty much turned out to be everything. 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

I wish that I could give more than just one green for that post !!!

 

 

For once perhaps I can be useful on this forum...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As we are on topic and you seem to be "the man"...

 

3 weeks ago, My ground floor was flooded...   As the council had not cleared the water gullies, the rain water just swamped over them... the one that was clear as it didnt have the "Bucket" in there, could not handle the volume of water and it then flooded over the footpath and into my house...  

 

So.. Should my insurance pay for this or should the council pay?

 

If I claim on my nsurance, then my premiums will increase!!  ( even if my insurance are sucsessful in claiming against the council)

 

SP

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, speaking from personal experience (had my own water damage in my house end bill 40k€ all paid by insurance, no premium hike) just because you claim on insurance doesn't mean they will increase your payment rates. Usually, a hike will only occur if you are in someway responsible, for example you noticed damage but did not inform insurance or owner of possible damage and then the damage is compounded due to time transpired.

I would inform my insurance how the damage occurred, and let them sort it out with city hall. They would have to prove the case and most of the times they hate the hassle and would just pay out, no expense on you.

It is very important to inform your insurance and have a professional come and inspect the damage. Often the damage is not visible, and must be measured with the correct tools to verify the damage severity.

If anyone needs more in depth information pm me and I will give you my phone number and you can call me.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe the hike comes after 2 or 3 incidents? Happened with my family regarding umbrella insurance in Germany, we had a few this or that incidents over the years, nothing at all big but still got a letter about a hike. Was not a huge hike.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, sonazeit said:

Maybe the hike comes after 2 or 3 incidents? Happened with my family regarding umbrella insurance in Germany, we had a few this or that incidents over the years, nothing at all big but still got a letter about a hike. Was not a huge hike.

There may have been hikes even if you had no claim. Inflation and all that.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one other thing that I forgot to mention. The problem with most water damage in the building is that often the water damage is not visible.  Often times the water runs between the wall and the screed and infiltrates the insulation between the screed and concrete flooring.  With time the humidic build up start to show on the walls as the water looks for the easiest way out.  Mold is sometimes a good surface indication if there is water damage, or if the paint is starting to flake, the tiles or wall paper start to come off, etc.
In the future even if you have to pay out of pocket it is always better to get a professional to come and verify that there is no lingering water damage in the apartment.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That wont apply at my place...  B)  Its an old Fachwerke haus with very little or no additional insulation... Just good old horse shite, mud and straw!..

 

 

Just what foundations it was built upon, no one knows...    :(

 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slightly related question... I recently had a bit of a disaster at my flat where water poured through the ceiling from the neighbours flat upstairs. The Gebaudeversicherung has hired a wasserschadensanierungs (?) company to install driers, and they have been running for a while. Now I have the opportunity to a) sign a Vollmacht agreement to let the insurer take care of the repairs using this same company or b.) get my own quotes.

 

I think I want to get my own, as I don't trust this company to do a proper job (lift the dielenboden floorboards, open up the ceiling etc. and check properly for mold, etc). So far they have only done a very limited inspection. 

 

Should I use a specialist wasserschaden company, or can I use a normal innesausbau/sanierungs firma? Anyone had experience with a company they can recommend? One caveat is that they have to speak English!

 

Thanks folks

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now