Basement Ventilation Tips
Ventilating your basement is important because it is the only place in your house that exists literally underground. This heightens the chance of mildew, mold, bacteria, and pathogens developing, things which are well known to cause and exacerbate respiratory problems and make things like asthma, sinusitis, and allergies far worse. Any walls which look a little discolored, or perhaps the smell of a musty, foul aroma could indicate a problem with moisture, damp, and germs. It is vitally important, therefore, that you circulate the air in your basement in the right way. Here are some ways to help you do just that.
1. Portable Fans
Portable ventilation is the most cost-effective way of airing your basement; it doesn’t require any form of cutting, installing, inserting or replacing. Box fans & oscillating fans can be used to great effect, aimed towards the exit, of course, thus expelling the old air and encouraging new air to be introduced through the increased circulation. You can use just one box fan to expel the old air, and the same one to introduce new air, leaving it for a length of time pointing out, then for another length of time pointing in.
2. Portable Air Purifiers
Portable air purifiers are even better because they internally draw air inwards and channel it through a range of filters, completely capturing harmful particles. HEPA air purifiers are best because the HEPA filter will trap all kinds of microscopic particles that regular filters leave behind. Spores, mold, bacteria, allergens, dust, pet dander – gone! Then, clean air is introduced back into the atmosphere, so that your basement will be left feeling and smelling fresh.
Portable ventilation moves air throughout the space, preventing air from becoming stale and stagnant. In a basement that doesn’t have any windows this is vitally important; bear in mind, though, that you’ll have to change the air filter fairly regularly, because all of this microscopic detritus is gradually getting embedded into its filter, so it will no longer work effectively when clogged. The good news is that replacing the air filter takes less than a minute to do.
The natural method of ventilating your basement will require you to have either a window or an exterior door. Airflow can be maximized by opening all of these up so that cross-ventilation can occur. The goal is to replace existing air with air from outside and reduce the chance for moisture to form. As mentioned, a simple box fan can be used to assist and increase the amount of ventilation occurring in your basement. Moreover, if you have no windows but only an exit door leading to the main house above, then consider placing your box fan deep within the basement, pointing it towards the exit; this will expel old air from within. At the same time, a pedestal fan can be placed just outside the exit, blowing air in, from a higher plane. This will create cross ventilation or wind effect ventilation, thus increasing airflow and preventing damp air from wreaking havoc in your basement.
An exhaust fan can be installed in your basement, combined with a ventilation pipe that will effectively remove basement air and expel it into the air outside. This constant evacuation of air should prevent mold and spores from gaining the mastery of your basement. A window air conditioner (assuming your basement has a window) can be installed, or a portable air conditioner with an exhaust hose attached. This is more expensive in terms of electricity but more reliable if you want the certainty that airflow will be generated at the touch of a button. Your basement’s air will be sucked out through a vent; meanwhile, a cold evaporator coil will absorb the heat, radiating it away. It will draw in air from outside, moving over an evaporator to cool it, then dispersing it within your basement. This process will go on until the desired temperature is reached. A thermostat will ensure that it shuts down once it is achieved. Because a basement is the coolest place in your house, you don’t need to set the temperature that low; the main thing is to encourage air circulation regularly, so that new air is drawn in at the expense of old, stale air.
Overall, these steps can improve the circulation and quality of air in your basement. It can also make your basement an enjoyable place in which to socialize, to use as a spare bedroom, to have as a ‘man cave’, study, music practice room, or 101 other uses. If you reduce the air contaminants in your basement near to zero, it will pay you back. In those hottest summer months, you can even turn the tables by placing a box fan strategically at the basement’s exit in order to cool down your whole house, employing the so-called ‘chimney effect’ or ‘stack effect’. If you don’t take these steps then your basement may become a no-go area or worse still, a place which will gradually infect your whole house!