The Basement or Crawl Space – Damp and Humid
The one feature that sets the basement apart from other levels in your home is the ambient dampness. That’s not surprising is it? After all, a deep hole was dug to accommodate the basement, and the earth is typically wet and cold (about 55 degrees Fahrenheit) year round. Solid concrete is a pretty good thermal conductor — it lets heat pass right through it — and is somewhat porous; is it any surprise that your basement or crawl space feels damp and humid? For years, cellars were built under homes with the full expectation that they would be a cool, wet space, not fit for habitation but ideal for root vegetables and vintage wines. Today, expectations have changed. People recognize the potential value of their below-ground space, be it a basement or a crawl space, and want to be able to use it confidently for storage, living, and even for entertainment purposes.
Humidity is simply the amount of moisture in the air. When the moisture content gets too high, not only do we feel uncomfortable, but awful things happen as well. Mold spores that are usually innocuous and dormant become active when humidity levels exceed fifty percent. There are a few very dangerous and noxious mold types that can and should be avoided. Unfortunately, testing mold to determine if it’s of the dangerous variety is a costly process, so it’s best to reduce exposure to all forms of active mold spores. The key is to keep the humidity level below fifty percent, so mold spores will remain dormant and not pose a threat to your family’s health.
The Air Below
Many people feel uncomfortable in their basements. They don’t like the lack of light, the dampness, or the musty odors. They stay upstairs, visiting the basement rarely, and the crawl space only on a dare. What they fail to realize is that up to fifty percent of the air they breathe upstairs emanates from beneath their living space. The natural air flow in a home is from the lowest level (basement/crawl) to the highest (attic space) – the stack effect. Don’t spend thousands of dollars on medicines and treatment for allergies without addressing one of the major causes of the problem: the unhealthy air below.
Lowering the humidity level downstairs begins with stopping the active seepage and sealing the open sump pits. If you don’t stop these sources of moisture penetration, remedial air treatment efforts are superfluous. Once your basement no longer leaks when it rains, you can begin to make the air feel dry and comfortable.
Even if you do not plan to finish your basement, it’s still a good idea to insulate the walls. When you touch the bare walls, you can easily feel the cold transmitted from the bare earth. This cold reacts to the warm in your home and creates humidity. Insulating your walls will help reduce the humidity in your basement and lower your heating bills. Perma-Seal has a variety of wall coverings that can provide insulation, a vapor barrier, and even a cosmetic finish without the great expense of a basement remodeling job. Many of these membranes can be inexpensively installed by the same expert crew that installs your waterproofing system.
Continuous Air Quality Control
The EPA states states that it is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable. They also state that indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks. Pollution from power plants, cars, and other transportation is a well-known contributor to outdoor air pollution, but our indoor air quality is often worse; it can be up to 10 times worse for you than the air outside. Microbial pollutants like mold, pet dander and plant pollen can combine with chemicals like radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to create a pretty toxic environment in your home; since we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors and 65% of our time inside of our homes, according to the National Safety Council, that can add up to allergies, asthma and worse. It is not difficult to understand that measures must be taken to ensure healthy living environments.
The SaniDry XP is an ultra-efficient high performance dehumidification and air filtration system that will give your entire home better, quality air. It is arguably the world’s best humidifier & air cleaner. Powerful and effective, it will dry the air in your home just like a conventional dehumidifier, however the SaniDry XP will take four times more water out of the air, while using the same amount of energy. It draws in the damp, musty air and pushes the dry, clean air back into the rest of the basement. The unit is fully ductable and simple to install. It can stand alone in a finished or unfinished basement and help improve the air quality of your entire home.
The SaniDry XP will also help to lower your bills because it puts dry air back into your basement making it easier to heat and cool. It is also easy to use and maintain the unit. Just set the dehumidistat to the desired setting and it does the rest for you. The two-stage filter system easily slides out to be cleaned or replaced as needed.
Ask your Perma-Seal representative about the SaniDry XP.