Basement Ventilation Systems - The Basics
This article discusses the basic issues regarding basement ventilation systems that promote good health while ensuring the provision of a comfortable environment in this part of the home. Tips are presented here because these systems are essential for basement remodeling, finishing and waterproofing. One of their vital functions is to minimize the possibility of toxic black mold infestation by reducing humidity in the basement which is conducive for mold growth. Another important health issue is the possible presence of the radioactive gas radon that may cause lung cancer. With a tight basement wall insulation, radon could accumulate in large quantities to become a threat to health. Nevertheless, the kind of basement ventilation system that is required is dependent on the planned use of the basement.
For those who are planning to use the basement just for storage, the primary concerns would be air circulation and the elimination of humidity. The heating and ventilation functionality will not be essential. Thus, the basement ventilation system will only require a house dehumidifier and exhaust fans that expel stale air to the outside either through the roof or one side of the house using some air ducts and exhaust drills. However, for those who want to transform the basement into a living space, a more complex system of indoor climate control is needed. This will require a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system that is similar to that which is utilized for other parts of the home.
You may need to have a basic understanding of mechanical ventilation if you plan on improving air circulation and ventilation in the basement. If a part of the basement is above ground, you may want to install several small windows. Simply opening the windows will ensure that stale air does not accumulate and neither do mold spores nor radon. Ceiling fans can also help in ventilating the basement so that HVAC system need not work so hard.
Ideally, the installation of the proper HVAC system for the basement should be done while the home is still under construction. The floor space of the basement will be included in the computation of the capacity of the HVAC system for the whole home. However, if you are already living in the home, you will have to retrofit the system. If your system is new, then all it requires is the installation of an HVAC for the basement. However, if the system is too old, you may need to replace it with a new one to reduce your electric bills and possibly earn federal tax credit.
It is also advisable not to forget about mold and mildew removal when you are upgrading your basement ventilation system. If you suspect mold and mildew infestation, there is no sense in having an excellent ventilation system when mold spores could be circulating. Anyway, this may be the last time that you may need to eliminate mold and mildew. With the dehumidifiers and the ventilation system, the basement environment will no longer be conducive for the growth of these fungi.