Most of us overlook the basements in our houses because we don’t use them often. However, one of the most important things to keep an eye on is the quality of your basement. Because it is located underground, the air in your basement is more likely to be contaminated and damp.
The best way to improve air quality in your basement is to clean the air using an air purifier. You can also clean and clear your basement, ensure your basement is dry, and perform a radon test.
If you’re looking for different options for improving the air quality in your basement, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll share with you seven ways to improve the air quality in your basement.
1. Use an Air Purifier
As the name suggests, an air purifier is a product that cleans the air of pollutants. Your air purifier can be portable, or you can have it installed in your HVAC system. A portable air purifier will work only in an enclosed space, while the one installed in the HVAC will clean up the air in all the rooms in your home.
Once you’ve got your air purifier, you just have to turn it on and let it do the rest. However, the main challenge is purchasing the right air purifier. According to a report, some air purifiers may release harmful pollutants into the air and harm you. So, you have to be careful when choosing the purifier for your basement.
One product I can vouch for is the AROEVE Air Purifiers (available on Amazon.com). This device may be small, but it refreshes your air multiple times in just one hour. The small size only means it won’t occupy lots of space.
2. Clear and Clean the Basement
Many people use their basements as extra rooms to keep items they may need later, like paint and wood. Another common use of basements is as a laundry room.
Both these options tend to create a ton of mess in your basement. No matter what you use your basement for, it should always be clean.
If possible, try to avoid using your basement as a storage room. A lot of the items stored in basements, such as paint, tend to release harmful chemicals into the air. Others can invite ants and rodents into the space.
From time to time, clear the basement to get rid of unwanted materials and reduce dust. Getting rid of unwanted materials does not mean you should forget to clean the basement.
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3. Perform a Radon Test
Radon is a harmful gas that you should never breathe in as it affects your lungs. According to multiple reports, this gas causes lung cancers that kill more than 20,000 people yearly.
Most gases usually have a color or smell to make you identify them easily. However, radon has no smell, so you will not know you are inhaling a harmful gas.
The formation of radon requires uranium decomposing from three sources:
Since most basements are underground, there is a high chance that the uranium can seep into your basement, especially if you’re in an area that has a lot of uranium deposits in the soil.
Because this gas is colorless and odorless, you will need to do a radon test to be sure you are not inhaling the gas whenever you are in your basement. There are two ways you can go about doing a radon test:
- Using a radon detector
- Hiring a professional
Let’s take a look at both options.
Using a Radon Detector
Using a radon detector may not get you the most accurate radon levels, but it is your quickest option. When you set the radon detectors at specific locations, they will detect any traces of the harmful gas.
Once it detects the gas, you will then have to contact a professional to help with the radon mitigation.
I highly recommend the Airthings Corentium Home Radon Detector available on Amazon. This digital radon detector uses a battery as its power source, giving you the liberty to check the radon levels at any time you wish.
Hiring a Professional
The best way to take care of radon is to get a professional to detect and clear the radon immediately. This is generally a more expensive option than using a radon detector, and getting a professional to your home can take time.
Keep in mind that if you use a detector and find radon in the air, you will have to contact a professional for radon mitigation regardless. However, if you’re unsure whether or not there is any radon in your basement, a radon detector is significantly less expensive than calling in a professional, only to be told there’s nothing to be worried about.
That said, professionals have the experience and tools to help you determine precisely where the radon is leaching in from and help you take care of it. They can also help you with prevention tactics to reduce the risk of radon contamination happening again in the future.
4. Open and Close Windows at the Correct Times
A big issue with most basements is that there is little or no basement ventilation plan. Often, basements will only have one window for air to enter. If your basement is like that, you should make space for another window.
To learn more about the ventilation requirements for your basement, you can read my other article, “What Are Basement Ventilation Requirements?”
After installing the basement windows, you will need to know the perfect time to open and close these windows. Opening windows generally allows clean air from outside to purify the basement’s atmosphere. However, because the basement is underground, there are some situations in which the air may not be clean.
When the weather is cool and a bit cold (during the spring and fall), there is a reduction in environmental humidity. At this time, you can (and should) open your basement’s windows.
However, during the summer, the humidity will be higher. Opening your basement’s windows at this period will only increase the moisture levels. A humid basement is ideal for allergens and mold, both of which also affect air quality. That’s why you must be sure of humidity levels before opening basement windows.
5. Ensure Basement Dryness
As described above, you cannot open your basement windows whenever you want. However, during periods when you cannot open your basement windows, the air in the basement will still be affected by the existing environmental humidity.
Additionally, during times when you do not open your basement window(s), there’s the risk that the air in the space will become stale and smell foul, especially if you don’t open the basement door during the same time period.
To reduce the risk of both of these things happening, you must ensure your basement is dry. You can keep your basement dry by using a dehumidifier, or you can try natural methods.
You can learn more about dehumidifying your basement naturally in my other article, “How To Dehumidify A Basement Naturally.”
6. Check for Cracks
If your basement has openings, you will be inviting allergens, mold, and other pollutants into the space. Because your basement is underground, there’s also a risk that dirt from the outside will enter the space.
To protect your basement from such outside pollutants, check the walls and windows to ensure there are no cracks. If you do see any cracks, fix them immediately.
7. Check for Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is another harmful gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. If you allow carbon monoxide to collect in your basement, it can even be fatal.
Like with radon, there are carbon monoxide detectors available on the market to help you determine whether there is any CO in the space. I recommend using the Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detector (available on Amazon). It creates a loud warning if it detects high levels of CO in the space and is quick and easy to install.
That said, not everyone has to worry about CO in their basement. Carbon monoxide is generally formed as a result of burning, so if you don’t have any active furnace or other active fires near your basement, you likely have nothing to be concerned about.
The golden rule to having great air quality within your basement is to check into the space frequently and ensure that it is clean and dry. If you’re highly concerned about air quality, you can also check for radon and carbon monoxide and check for cracks in the walls and windows.