We can all agree that the basement is a room that we rarely think of. Because it’s often used merely as a storage space, we only go there if we need something. And let’s face it - basements can be dank and dusty, so going there can be quite unpleasant. But by simply knowing how to improve basement ventilation, we can instantly give it a new life.
The reason why basements are musty is their lack of air circulation. By implementing either of the three ventilation systems in this article, a dank basement will be a thing of the past. Read on to learn more about these basement ventilation systems.
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Why You Should Ventilate Your Basement
We understand that some of you may still be skeptical about these ventilation systems. So before we discuss them with you, we believe it’s best to show you the reasons why you need to have a properly-ventilated basement. Here are just some of them.
Related article: Best air purifier for basement
Believe it or not, a poorly-ventilated basement is more prone to structural damage. In most cases, poor air circulation can cause moisture levels to rise. As a result, this can cause severe structural damage to the floor, walls, and ceiling. And this is especially true if your basement is made of wooden structures.
Another reason why you need a well-ventilated basement is that it helps maintain the right humidity levels inside a room. Without proper air circulation, humidity levels can instantly rise, and this can easily be a health and safety hazard.
Bear in mind that some bacteria and microorganisms thrive in humid environments, which is why you should maintain ideal room humidity levels at all times. Also, the high moisture content in the air can lead to unsightly discoloration on the basement walls or ceiling.
Mold growth can also be associated with poor ventilation inside the basement. Again, poor air circulation leaves a room with high moisture content, and this can promote the growth of molds. Unfortunately, molds can cause respiratory conditions that can be hard to treat. Molds also spread faster in humid environments, which is all the more reason to install a ventilation system in your basement.
Radon is an odorless gas that can cause lung problems if absorbed by the body in large doses. Radon can find its way indoors through the soil, which is why it is present in every household and has higher concentrations in basements.
Nevertheless, radon levels can be reduced through proper ventilation systems.
The Importance of Basement Ventilation
Now that you know what you can avoid when you have basement ventilation systems installed, we also want to discuss the importance of having these structures.
1. Since these structures can help reduce humidity levels in a room, you get peace of mind from knowing that you are breathing clean and healthy air. As previously discussed, high moisture levels in the air can cause mold and bacteria growth - and that makes the basement a breeding ground for diseases and respiratory conditions.
2. Aside from reducing humidity levels, having basement ventilation systems will also prevent the propagation of dust. This will reduce the chances of suffering from allergic reactions, asthma, and similar respiratory conditions.
3. You may not realize it, but proper basement ventilation will help prevent the development of nasty odors. Trapped indoor air can produce a musty odor that can be unbearable over time. By simply allowing the indoor air to be replaced with clean outdoor air, you can prevent this from happening.
4. Another reason why basement ventilation is important is that it helps prolong the structure of your home. It prevents damaging mold from spreading, so you can be confident that the building materials used for your home won’t be affected. And as a result, that could save you thousands of dollars in repair costs in the long run.
3 Best Ways that Can Improve Ventilation In Your Basement
With all the information we’ve just relayed, it’s easy to see why it’s important to know how to improve ventilation in basement. If you’re concerned about the costs, we’re here to tell you that the different ventilation systems work great for every budget. Besides, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial costs.
The first way to improve basement ventilation is through natural ventilation. Natural ventilation is the easiest and most cost-effective of these three methods.
Through this basement ventilation method, you allow the trapped indoor air to escape the room through windows and doors so that it can be replaced with fresh outdoor air. By simply keeping these openings ajar for a few hours every day, your basement will benefit from the natural airflow. And since most basements are already built with windows and doors, then this method usually costs free.
Another tip when it comes to natural ventilation is that to be effective, there have to be openings on opposing sides of the wall. This will allow the air to freely pass through the room to keep moisture levels low.
Nevertheless, some basements are built with smaller windows - if any at all. If you want to learn how to ventilate a basement with no windows, you may have to spend some money and have bigger windows installed.
If you have to work with basements with small windows, or if you want to know how to ventilate a basement with no windows, an alternative would be a portable ventilation machine.
A portable ventilation machine can clean the air on its own, without relying on the structure’s layout. By investing in this machine, you don’t have to worry about more costly basement renovations, making it the more practical choice.
A portable ventilation machine, otherwise known as an air purifier, works by absorbing the air inside the basement and allows it to pass through its many filters. These filters trap harmful airborne particles, leaving you with clean air that’s being emitted by the machine.
Airborne particles absorbed by air purifiers include dust, mold, mildew, and similar allergens. Thus, you can be assured that your basement won’t be a breeding ground for these contaminants.
To find the perfect portable ventilation device for your basement, you have to look into the size of your basement vis-a-vis the unit’s air purifying capacity. Doing so will ensure an efficient ventilation system for your basement.
Also, don’t forget to replace the filters once in a while. If the filters are at full capacity, then the air purifier won’t perform as effectively.
Mechanical ventilation is another method you should consider if you want to learn how to improve basement ventilation. This method makes the most of an existing window or opening to boost the air circulation in your basement.
Mechanical ventilation uses a machine or device that helps pull the indoor air out of the basement through a pipe or exhaust. This air is then expelled outside, and this greatly helps with keeping the basement properly ventilated.
This basement ventilation method is ideal in areas where air does not always breeze through the room despite having all windows open. If you live in a naturally humid area, this is the method that will work best for you.
Because it requires the use of a mechanical device or exhaust, you may have to have it professionally installed to function properly. This can be quite pricey, especially if you need it to ventilate a large basement.
Alternatively, you can do so by simply placing a fan near the window. The fan will push the air out of the basement, which functions similarly to a mechanical exhaust.
[Pro Tip] Which ventilation system is right for you?
So how do you know which ventilation system is right for you? It's quite simple. If your basement already has large windows and openings, then the natural ventilation system is your best option. It’s hassle-free and undeniably low-cost - as long as you live in a place that has a good natural breeze.
If you live in an area that’s hot and humid, then you might need the extra boost from a mechanical ventilation system.
But out of these three systems, we believe the portable ventilation system is the best for any basement layout. Whether you have large windows, small windows, or no windows at all, this ventilation system can effectively purify the air in your basement.
How do you fix poor ventilation?
You can fix poor ventilation in several ways. The first way is to have windows installed in the room. These windows will allow the indoor air to escape and be replaced by cooler outdoor air. The bigger the windows, the better the ventilation will be.
The second way is to install air purifiers or exhaust fans in the room. This is the best ventilation method if your area does not have enough airflow.
How do you increase airflow in a room?
Proper ventilation works hand-in-hand with increased airflow in a room. To improve the airflow, you can try proper window placement if you’re considering a room renovation. By having windows placed at opposite sides of the room, air can freely flow in and out of it.
Alternatively, you can take advantage of adding exhaust fans or air conditioning units to keep the indoor air out while allowing the cooler outdoor air to enter the room. But before doing so, make sure to consider the size of the room to ensure its effectiveness.
What happens if there is not enough return air?
If a room does not have enough return air, then the room is not properly ventilated. When this happens, the room can easily develop high moisture levels, which can also become a fertile ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew growth.
Also, not having enough return air will leave you with higher room temperatures because of all the trapped indoor air. This can be quite uncomfortable for the people inside. Thus, you can now see why it’s important to make sure that all rooms are properly ventilated.
Is living in a basement unhealthy?
Generally, the basement is not the most ideal room to live in. Aside from the poor ventilation and airflow, basements are known to have higher radon concentrations. Unfortunately, high radon concentrations in the air can cause respiratory conditions like lung cancer.
Nevertheless, if the basement is properly ventilated and well-maintained, a basement can be a safe place to live in. As long as there is an increased airflow in the basement, you don’t have to worry about molds, dust, radon, and other harmful airborne particles. Thus, as long as the basement is well-maintained, it can be considered a livable space.
Now that you know how to improve basement ventilation, you are now free of all the horrors that come with a poorly-ventilated room. Through any of these methods, we hope that you can finally make the most of your basement.
And considering all the benefits that you can derive from improving your basement’s ventilation, there’s no reason for you to hold back on this project. They are also cost-effective, so you won’t be breaking the bank in doing so.