Many of the vacation style houses we list and sell in the Deep Creek and Garrett County area have fully finished walk out basements with carpet. About half of that living space is below grade. Basements in general have more dampness and are more susceptible to mold problems as the carpet ages. Preventive maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in repair costs later. A typical mold remediation in our area is usually between $5,000-$10,000 - and I've sometimes seen them higher. Even if you aren't planning to sell, here are some easy and inexpensive things you can do now to help prevent major problems at your Deep Creek Lake vacation home.
1. Buy a new dehumidifier for the lower level. Many of the older dehumidifiers just don't do a good job. Newer dehumidifiers typically don't freeze up, can be set to a desired humidity level, are self-draining, and do a good job of removing moisture which then dereases the risk of elevated mold conditions. You can purchase a good one at Lowe's for around $200. When I meet with a potential seller for the first time this is usually the first thing I recommend - especially if I see an old dehumidifier.
2. Buy a HEPA filter for your furnace. A HEPA filter is like a normal filter but it also catches mold spores giving your house another line of defense against mold. Consult a licensed HVAC contractor before installing.
3. Always turn off the water when you leave regardless of the season. The two easiest methods to turn your water off are either shutting off the main valve - or flipping off the breaker for the pump. After that many home inspectors also recommend going to the highest level in the house and opening a bathroom sink faucet to release the line pressure. Don't forget to turn off the faucet. This does not mean your house is fully winterized at this point, but turning off the water could prevent a major disaster if the pipes freeze or the house gets a leak while you are gone for an extended period of time.
4. Set your heat to 55-60 degrees. With our colder climate and higher elevations in Garrett County we can reach freezing temperatures in the fall. Just last week we had a stretch of 2 straight days where the temperature didn't get above freezing. Freezing temperatures with low wind chills can easily result in busted pipes and water damage.
Before you list your Deep Creek house for sale, it's usually a good idea to get a pre-listing home inspection. A pre-listing home inspection will identify problems, and if repairs are made, will make the house more appealing to a potential buyer that could potentially lead to higher offers. Please contact us for a free, no obligation market evaluation of your home. We look forward to assisting with all your real estate needs!