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How to Fix Basement Air Quality Issues

You may have recognized a musty odor circulating around your basement. It’s important to know how to eliminate contaminants and maintain healthy air quality in your basement.

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Picture this: you enter your basement, and immediately you’re hit with a damp, musty odor. This smell is more than just an annoyance—it signals poor air quality, often due to mold spores circulating in the air.

If your basement smells musty most of the time, it’s time to fix the root of the issue. Restoring healthy air quality in your basement requires the use of a few different basement waterproofing solutions.

We believe every part of your home should be a safe and healthy space, basement included. Many people overlook this hidden area, resulting in health and structural problems in the future. As Northern Georgia’s trusted experts in basement waterproofing, we’re here to change that.

In this post, we’ll be going over the root causes of that persistent musty smell and visible mold, and most importantly, provide practical tips to fix these issues. It’s time to take back your basement—read on to learn how!

What Causes Basement Air Quality Issues?

Basement air quality can become compromised due to a variety of factors, with one of the primary culprits being excess moisture or basement water issues. Here’s a rundown of how this happens:

  • Water Intrusion: Basements, due to their location, are prone to water infiltration. Whether from ground water seeping through foundation walls or from plumbing leaks, water can easily find its way into the basement. This can lead to an increase in humidity levels, making your basement an ideal environment for mold and mildew growth.
  • Poor Ventilation: Basements are often not as well-ventilated as other parts of the house. Without sufficient ventilation, moist air gets trapped, contributing to the high humidity levels that encourage the growth of mold and bacteria.
  • Condensation: In a basement, warmer air from upstairs can mix with cooler basement air, causing condensation. Persistent condensation can lead to damp surfaces, providing perfect conditions for mold spores to multiply and spread.
  • Lack of Sunlight: Sunlight is a natural mold killer, but basements usually don’t get much of it. This lack of sunlight combined with damp conditions can exacerbate mold and mildew issues, which can negatively impact the air quality.

The resulting poor air quality in your basement can manifest as musty odors, increased allergy symptoms, and the proliferation of mold and mildew. By addressing the root cause, primarily the water issues, you can greatly improve the air quality in your basement.

Best Tips for Improving Basement Air Quality 

1. Dehumidification  

Alabama’s climate can be a hot and humid place come summertime. This humidity can have drastic effects on the air quality of your basement. Not only are contaminants more likely to stick to the water droplets in the air, but dampness and humidity cause mold and mildew growth.

Mold causes a wide range of health problems, including sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, eye and skin irritation, allergic reactions, or worse. That is why it is important to keep an eye on humidity levels in your basement. Mold requires moisture to grow and survive and dies without it. Try to always keep humidity levels below 50% in your basement. A dehumidifier is a perfect way to ensure that the humidity levels are adequate and thus stop the growth and survival of mold or mildew. 

2. Air Purification 

It is especially important to ensure that the air you’re breathing is fresh, clean, and free of contaminants like allergens. This will help you breathe more easily and avoid allergic reactions. Air purifiers are a great way to make sure that the air circulating your basement is safe to breathe and good for your overall health.  

Air purifiers circulate air through a series of filters and eliminate the presence of substances like dust, pollen, dander, etc. It should be mentioned that not all air purifiers are the same. To ensure the elimination of 99% of contaminants in your air, your air purifier must include elements such as a HEPA filter, Carbon filter, and Ultraviolet light.. These features along with the right size air purifier will be sure to improve the air quality of your home.  

3. Proper Ventilation 

Many homes have improperly ventilated basements, leading to a greater build-up of contaminants in the air.. To improve air quality in your basement, you should consider installing a mechanical ventilation system to bring fresh outside air indoors. Fresh air that is purified will replace musty air that was previously locked indoors. Some of these systems can be expensive, and if they are out of budget for you then an air purifier in conjunction with a dehumidifier will work just as well! 

4. Removing VOCs 

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) include things like paint, gasoline, oil, lacquers, stains, and many more. These items are often stored in the basement and can release toxicity in the air. It is good practice to remove any old or unused VOCs, or simply store all of them in a shed or garage. Even if you don’t spend a great deal of time in your basement, toxic air from VOCs can waft to other areas of your home and pose a threat. 

5. Sealing Cracks & Gaps 

It is quite common for radon to seep into your basement through cracks, crevices, and gaps in your home’s foundation. The breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water forms an odorless gas called radon. Inhalation of this gas, known to cause lung cancer, leads to over 2,000 deaths a year. These cracks also harbor mold and mildew, and we have already discussed the drastic effects these fungi can have on homeowners. Contact a specialist to repair your home’s foundation. This is your best bet for fending off health hazards. Find a specialist near you today!  

Does Your Foundation Need Maintenance? 

AquaGuard Foundation Solutions specialists have been helping homeowners maintain the structural integrity of their homes and adequate air quality in their basements for over 20 years! When it comes to expertise, experience, and lending a helping hand to those in need, no one does it better than AquaGuard.

Contact us today for your free inspection! Make your basement air quality concerns a thing of the past and remind yourself of what it’s like to have peace of mind in your home again. 

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