Since the basement doesn't get much sunlight, the dampness encourages the growth of a fungus called mold. The exposure to mold or mildew could put one at a risk of developing allergies or respiratory problems. Therefore, every homeowner must take steps to prevent such an infestation.
Ventilation Requirements for the Basements
Using ventilation systems becomes extremely important to maintain your basement in a good condition. Here are some ways to improve ventilation.
The indoor climate control consists of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. This will help in modifying the basement into a livable place. You should also consider waterproofing to tackle the problem of moisture.
Since most of the problems arise due to excess humidity and lack of ventilation, you need to augment circulation of air and get rid of the dampness. Excess humidity causes musty air, window condensation, and also encourages the growth of mold, mildew, and dry rot.
You can either get a whole house dehumidifier assembled by a professional or buy a portable dehumidifier. Whole house models are installed at a particular place, but the portable dehumidifiers can be used in any part of the house. When you purchase a dehumidifier, make sure that you buy one that has a direct drain-off hose.
If you don't have a direct drain-off hose, you might have to check the water tank every now and then. The drain hose allows the collected water to automatically drip into a drain system. Such dehumidifiers operate independently and shut off only when the moisture levels within the basement reach the desired relative humidity level.
You will see various types of dehumidifiers in the market. You can buy heat pumps, chemically absorbent dehumidifiers, homemade dehumidifiers, and dehumidifying ventilators. While buying a dehumidifier, make sure that you check the efficiency rating or efficiency factor.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that the homeowners should maintain an environment below 60 percent humidity for inhibiting the growth of mold and mildew.
So, if your basement has a musty odor, you must make use of efficient ventilation systems (fans, dehumidifiers, or indoor climate control systems) to keep this area well-ventilated. Also, if you notice water leakage, fix it at the earliest.