What options do I have to remedy poor basement ventilation?
Ventilation is one of the most important aspects of basement construction, but for some reason, often ignored. Many people believe the existing ventilation system will cater to the basement as well. In most cases, it doesn’t. And this is where problems start.
Because of the constricted airflow, the basement can get humid, musty, and moldy within a short time.
In the section below, we’ll look at why ventilation is necessary and how you can improve airflow in your poorly ventilated basement.
Is Basement Ventilation Necessary?
Yes, it is. Basements are generally prone to high moisture levels because of their low-lying position. Left unchecked, the excess moisture can lead to mold, mildew, and pest infestation. Poor ventilation can also cause respiratory problems like allergic reactions, sinus, chronic coughs, and breathing difficulties.
Proper ventilation brings fresh air and keeps the air moving, preventing the buildup and spread of allergens and viruses. This is especially true in basements where humidity levels tend to be high, especially during summer. By conditioning your basement and ventilating it, you can prevent all these problems that make the basement unlivable.
Remember also that local codes require homeowners to ventilate basements if they intend to use them as living spaces. You have to create ventilation and add basement windows, so it’s not just a matter of enhancing airflow, but compliance.
Effects of Poor Basement Ventilation
This is a no-brainer. Poor ventilation will hurt your basement. Brace yourself for these problems.
- High humidity levels
Homes with basements are more likely to get humid than those without. A recent study showed that foundations walls absorb about 10 to 15 gallons of water vapor each day due to their porous nature, contributing to 80% of the home’s indoor humidity.
Excess moisture accelerates the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew, and attracts pests and bugs like spiders. They also contribute to condensation on floor joists, water pipes, windows, and basement floors and walls, leading to rot and water damage.
- Structural damage
Prolonged bouts of humidity due to poor ventilation can cause wood to decay. You can guess what will happen next. Your underlying wooden structure will rot, and this will lower the structural integrity of your home.
- Lingering odors
Poor ventilation also fosters bad musty smells that may diffuse throughout your home, making the air stale and unpleasant. No amount of air fresheners can mask such smells.
- Low oxygen levels
Inadequate ventilation leads to carbon dioxide buildup, meaning less oxygen in your home. This can cause you to suffer headaches, fatigue, and shortness of breath, especially during the humid summer.
Solutions for Poor Basement Ventilation
Fortunately, homeowners in Baltimore have three options for ventilating their basements.
1) Portable ventilation
If you want to get air moving throughout your finished basement without problems, use a portable ventilation system. An air purifier provides the necessary constant movement of air, ensuring it doesn’t get stagnant and stale. We recommend a dehumidifier with air purification capabilities. This unit will dry out the air during hot, humid months, and at the same time, clean the air using a series of filters that trap microscopic particles and other allergens. The result is clean and particle-free air.
Similarly, dehumidifiers are perfect to use to curb humidity and improve the overall air quality throughout your basement and home. For example, the JES dehumidifier cleans and filters the air, reduces moisture and humidity, and prevents unpleasant odors and mold growth. Our units are energy-efficient and can be ducted. They also are self-draining and can be directed to drain into your interior drainage system, sump pump, or through a condensate pump so there are no buckets or reservoirs that you have to worry about emptying.
3) Mechanical ventilation
Mechanical ventilation requires fans and exhaust systems to push stale air out and fresh air into the basement. There are two ways to implement it. You can opt to place a fan in front of your windows to push indoor air out and fresh air in or install an exhaust fan to suck basement air to the outside. This method offers more flexibility than natural ventilation as it creates its own airflow. The downside is that it increases your energy bill.
Ventilate Your Basement Today!
From fouls smells to moisture problems and mold growth, unventilated basements can turn your basement into a dungeon. Improving your basement ventilation can help alleviate these issues, making your home more habitable.
With many years serving Baltimore residents, JES Foundation Repair can help you determine the best solution to correct basement humidity levels and prevent further damage to your home.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and get a free quote.