Basement ventilation is a contentious issue. And it doesn’t help that the basement has a propensity for moisture. Some homeowners still believe that opening basements to allow airflow is good for their comfort and health. But we have a different opinion.
It’s now recognized that a sealed, conditioned basement is more beneficial to your home’s health and safety. Read on to see how basement ventilation affects you and what you can do about it.
Should You Ventilate the Basement?
The answer is a big no! Ventilation does more harm than good to your basement. As long as outside air gets into the basement, you’re going to experience uncomfortable seasonal changes. And you’ll have problems regulating the internal conditions in your home. Come summer, the air will be hot and humid. These conditions will set the stage for mold and mildew. Things won’t get better in winter as your basement and home interior will be cold. Freezing temperatures will force you to run your heater longer, and this will drive up your heating costs.
Ways Outside Air Affects You
You can expect these unfortunate things to happen if you let outside air come in unabated.
High Humidity Levels
If you live in a humid area like Moberly, MO, you are more likely to suffer from high basement humidity issues. The air coming from the outside can foster the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria, and it also increases your risk of pest infestation. It also contributes to condensation on water pipes, windows, basement windows, and floor joists. As such, sealing your basement becomes even more crucial to maintaining optimal humidity levels in the home.
Overly humid basement air is uncomfortable, but if left unaddressed, it can cause damage to your home. Prolonged exposure to high humidity can cause wood to rot and the deterioration of other building materials like paint, varnishes, metal wiring, and gypsum boards. The presence of moisture also paves the way for destructive pests, including carpenter ants and termites.
Visible Mold and Musty Smells
Poor ventilation fosters a humid basement, which is the perfect environment for mold and mildew to flourish. Actively growing mold releases spores and toxins that emit a musty or foul smell. These smells may diffuse throughout your home, compromising the quality of air in your living area.
If there’s a lingering odor in the basement, basement moisture is the most probable cause, so you need to keep it in check.
What’s the Best Way to Control Outside Air?
There are two effective ways for Moberly, MO, homeowners to stop air infiltration and manage the moisture situation in the basement.
Seal Your Basement Windows
The best way to stop outside air from coming into your basement and spoiling the party for you is to have the basement windows sealed. Proper sealing prevents air leaks, which can lead to mold and high humidity. Silicone latex-based caulk will come in handy for this purpose. Once the windows are sealed, your summers will be cool and winters warm. There’ll be no more air exchange between the basement and the outside.
Sealing your basement windows is a step in the right direction, but it won’t resolve existing moisture issues, particularly the high humidity in the basement. What you need to do is install an energy-efficient dehumidifier. This appliance will help bring down the basement humidity levels. It will also improve the quality of air throughout your basement and home. For best results, invest in a dehumidifier that reduces moisture and humidity, cleans and filters the air, and is self-draining so you don’t have to worry about emptying it. You can direct it to drain into your interior drainage system, sump pump, or through a condensate pump.
Staying on top of your basement humidity levels is key to protecting your home. Sealing your basement is the surest way of managing your home’s humidity levels.
Contact the professionals at Foundation Recovery Systems to schedule a free basement inspection and repair estimate. Once one of our experts has evaluated your home, you’ll receive recommendations on how to best protect your basement and home. We’ll help you size and install a powerful dehumidifier that will keep the basement dry all year round.