Have you recently decided to remodel your basement? Perhaps, you want to repurpose it into extra storage, a home gym, library, media room, spare bedroom, man cave, or game room.
Do you walk into the room only to be greeted by a musty and damp smell? Some liken the smell to a wet dog or old gym socks!
Basements are particularly challenging because they are often dark, damp, and warm. You need to select the right air purification system to avoid odors, dust, and mold spore issues.
Clover Services is one of the HVAC suppliers now equipping homes with this advanced filtration technology. To learn more go to https://cloverco.com/commercial-air-purification/
In this article, we will cover challenges to be aware of and recommendations when selecting the right basement purification system.
4 Challenges of a Basement Air Purification System Must Address
The right air purification system must be capable of handling the common challenges that plague most basements, including:
- Mold & Mildew
Why do basements become moldy? Well, mold thrives in humid environments with little air movement and disturbance. They flourish in damp building materials that contain enough food. Basement walls are susceptible to the intrusion of water from the outside, compared to above-the-ground walls.
“So, if I keep my basement door shut, I don’t have to worry about mold?” Well, mold reproduces by dispersing airborne spores. They can find their way upstairs through the natural circulation of air. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to spread around the house and find more places to colonize.
The most dangerous species is black mold, and it tends to thrive in basements and goes unnoticed for a long time, because well, you don’t use the basement a lot. The right air purification system should have the ability to reduce concentrations of mold spores in the basement.
- Odor issues
What causes basements to become musty? The most common cause is the dampness that may result from seepage. Moisture doesn’t always come from the outside. Air from upstairs, particularly during summer months, tends to be warmer than basement air.
Once it flows to the cooler regions of the home, it condenses. The air purification system should at least include a dehumidifier to deal with this extra moisture. Mold and mildew growth also contribute to the musty smell.
- Dust build-up
Basement floors are dusty. Where does the dust come from? It can seem mysterious, but one source of dust is from the concrete walls themselves because they are always degrading very slowly. This happens in an unfinished basement.
What if the basement is finished and still has dust? The dust may be from upstairs. During cleaning and vacuuming, dust is stirred up. As the air flows into the basement, it cools and deposits dust.
Accumulated dust may attract dust mites and trigger allergies. An ideal basement air purification system must have the capability to remove dust particles from the air.
- Air quality
Basements also suffer in terms of air quality because they don’t have adequate ventilation. There might be high concentrations of indoor pollutants and outdoor pollutants such as radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas.
The EPA recommends testing for radon at the lowest liveable space as it enters the home at the ground level. It’s produced from the breakdown of radioactive elements inside the earth, such as uranium.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may also enter the basement through small gaps in the floors or drains. Bacteria also flourish in the enclosed damp basement environment. The ideal basement air purification system must have the ability to remove bacteria and other gaseous compounds.
Tips when selecting an air purification system suitable for basement
- HEPA filter technology
Modern HEPA air purification systems typically consist of three filter layers:
- The pre-filter will capture large contaminants to prevent them from reaching the true HEPA filter designed to remove microscopic particles. It also extends the life of the HEPA filter and increases its effectiveness.
- The True HEPA filter consists of stacked fine meshes that can filter smaller contaminants, including dust mites, smoke, pollen, and pet dander. It filters particles as small as 0.3 microns.
- The activated charcoal layer may be added to remove VOCs, gases, and odors.
HEPA air purifiers also have some drawbacks and limitations. They can’t remove bacteria or viruses from the air. What’s more, with continuous use, the filter may accumulate mold spores and become moldy. If it’s not replaced, the filtering performance will be impacted, and it’ll become a problem by itself.
- Advanced filtration systems
Bipolar ionization technology, an advanced filtration technology, has been gaining a lot of support. It has been shown to effectively remove and destroy viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens from the air, including MS2 Bacteriophage, a surrogate for (COVID-19).
Bipolar ionization devices release positively and negatively charged oxygen ions into the air. The technology can be integrated into existing HVAC systems to speed up the removal of airborne and surface contaminants.
- Select the right size
If you’re purchasing a standalone air purifier, choose the right size that’s ideal for the room size. Get the basement dimensions in square feet by measuring and multiplying the length with the width.
It’s also important to consider the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of the unit when shopping. It’s a measure that tells you about the volume of air that can be filtered. Higher CADR figures indicate higher performance. Typically, the CADR should not be ⅔ less than the room’s square footage.
- Supplement it with a dehumidifier
You may consider purchasing a dehumidifier as the air purifier doesn’t remove excess moisture in the air. Ensure that the dehumidifier can cover the basement space.
Should I also get an ozone generator for musty smells? Well, it’s not recommended as they generate ozone, which is a reactive and harmful gas that can cause irritations. It’s better to deal with the source of the odor and moisture for good.
When selecting the right unit for the basement, it’s essential to consider the unique challenges that exist and choose a capable system that will improve the indoor air quality. You should also consider a dehumidifier to control excessive moisture, particularly during the summer months.