There are several benefits of having a basement in your home. However, it can quickly become a home for moisture, odors, and mold. While the best way to prevent these problems is to ventilate the area, several factors determine the cost.
Basement ventilation can cost anywhere from $150 and $8,500 depending on the type of ventilation system, components involved, area you live in, and size of your basement. Keep in mind, some systems may be of low investment for installation but incur higher operating costs in the long run.
In this article, I’ll break down all the costs involved in installing a ventilation system in your basement. I’ll also show you why basement ventilation is worth the cost.
Basement Ventilation Cost Breakdown
As noted above, basement ventilation costs can range between $150 and $8,500. However, one of the primary factors determining your total cost is the type of ventilation system.
There are several ventilation systems, but the most common ones are natural and mechanical ventilation. Let’s take a closer look at two of these options.
As the name suggests, this type of ventilation uses natural air currents from your:
- Vents, etc.
Natural ventilation is particularly effective if you live in a high humidity area. Another advantage of this type of ventilation is that it uses energy-saving systems, which reduces costs in the long run.
Installing a natural ventilation system in your basement ranges between $150 and $8,000.
For instance, if you’re opting for egress windows, they can cost up to $8,000. Also, if you want to install a wind turbine instead, the price can be close to $7,000.
Exhaust fans and vents may not be as expensive but can still cost around $150 to $200 to install.
Despite the advantages of natural ventilation, it relies on good air circulation to prevent moisture buildup and the spread of harmful particles.
The main forms of natural ventilation are single-sided and wind-based systems, each with different installation costs. Let’s take a look.
In single-sided natural ventilation, vents, windows, and other openings are installed on only one side of the basement. The preferred side is usually determined by temperature, wind speed, etc.
The main disadvantage of this type of system is the absence of cross-ventilation, which means there’ll be low air circulation.
The cost of installing single-sided ventilation in a basement is around $150 to $400.
Wind-Based Ventilation System
This ventilation system is designed to draw air from one side of the basement, and warm air flows through the other side.
It uses openings on both sides of the basement wall to ensure cross ventilation. Installing this ventilation system can cost up to $600 to $3,500.
Your HVAC contractor may recommend installing mechanical ventilation if the natural method won’t keep your basement well ventilated.
To remove foul air from the basement, mechanical ventilation systems use:
- Air vents
- Integrated air purifiers
This ventilation method can cost between $400 and $8,000, depending on installed components.
It offers more flexibility as it creates its air currents and self-regulates, so you don’t have to monitor it yourself.
Like natural ventilation, there are several forms of mechanical ventilation.
Forced-Air Ventilation Systems
This type of ventilation is the most popular in the United States. It works by bringing cold air into the basement from within the house, filtering it, and then heating it using a furnace. The process continues until the air temperature reaches the preset setting on the thermostat.
The advantage of this ventilation system is that it can easily connect to your existing forced-air system. Dehumidifiers are included in many forced air systems, ensuring moisture-free air is delivered into your house.
A forced-air system costs between $1,000 and $1,500 to install in your basement.
However, using this system means there should be a window to install the exhaust fan or air conditioner. It may also increase your electricity bill.
Energy Recovery System
The cost of installing an energy recovery system ranges from $500 to $1,700. You can control the system with a humidity sensor or timer.
The difference between this and a heat recovery system is that it exchanges both water vapor and heat. As a result, the humidity levels in your home remain consistent.
While this ventilation system will save you initial installation costs, it’s better suited to areas with humid and hot summers.
Also, they’re still relatively uncommon, and only a few HVAC contractors have proper technical knowledge and expertise to install them.
Furthermore, these systems require regular cleaning to prevent the formation of mold and bacteria on heat exchanger surfaces, as well as a reduction in the ventilation rate.
Supply Ventilation System
This ventilation system works a bit differently. It uses a fan to pump outside air into your basement, creating pressure and removing air through ducts, holes in the shell, and intentional vents.
It costs about $150 to $300 per unit, and you may spend up to $1,500 for your basement, depending on the size.
Supply ventilation systems are best suited for hot or mixed climates. They can cause moisture problems when used in colder climates because of the pressure they create in the basement.
Exhaust Ventilation System
Exhaust ventilation systems operate in reverse of supply ventilation systems; they depressurize the basement.
When the inside air pressure is reduced below the outside air, the system extracts indoor air from the basement and allows makeup air to enter through leaks in the wall and passive and intentional vents.
This system costs about $1,500 to $2,200 to install, making it relatively cheap. However, in the process of drawing fresh air into the basement, it may bring with it fumes, dust, pollutants, etc.
Another disadvantage of exhaust ventilation systems is that they contribute more to cooling and heating costs as they don’t remove moisture from the makeup air entering the basement.
Read: Quietest HVAC System
Balanced Ventilation Systems
This system works exactly how its name suggests. It neither creates pressure nor removes pressure. It typically consists of two duct systems and two fans to supply fresh air inside and exhaust an equal amount of polluted air outside.
It’s a bit more expensive to install and can cost up to $2,400 to $4,600. While it doesn’t remove moisture from the air entering the basement, it filters out dust and pollen before supplying the air.
Furthermore, it’s suitable for all climates. However, it’s more expensive to operate than exhaust and supply ventilation systems.
Why Basement Ventilation Is Worth the Cost?
Because your basement is below ground, moisture can enter through the walls and floors. It starts condensing when it mixes with the warmer air inside the basement.
If you allow the condensation process to continue, pools of water accumulate and become a breeding ground for molds such as:
These molds can cause or aggravate various health issues if left unchecked. They recommend reducing or even removing water leaks and ventilating your basement.
By removing moisture and odors from the basement, you create a healthy influx of fresh air that inhibits mold growth.
Also, whether your basement is finished or unfinished can significantly impact the air quality in the rest of your home if you don’t ventilate it. Your entire home can benefit from the clean, fresh air, increased air exchanges, and healthier environment.
If you’re planning to ventilate your basement, you should have a budget between $150 and $8,500. The exact amount you’ll spend will depend on the type of system you’re installing and the size of your basement. Keep in mind that the prices of professional HVAC contractors vary from state to state.
Despite the costs, basement ventilation is important, and you should not neglect it in any way.