Damp Moldy Basement
The basement is different than any other part of your home. Basements are generally subterranean, so they’re naturally damp and prone to moisture. In addition, because the walls and floor are in contact with the soil, they assume the temperature of the soil. That temperature hovers around 60 oF year round. This automatically increases the relative humidity, since cool air is able to hold less moisture than warm air. Even when there is no obvious water leakage through the foundation and floor, basements are more humid than other areas of the home.
Excess moisture provides a breeding ground for all of God’s critters, including mold, bacteria, insects and rodents. The microbial activity accounts for the unpleasant musty odor that is common, a product of volatile organic compounds produced by the microorganisms. Not only are the organisms enjoying the moist environment, they are finding materials to eat. This leads to the degradation of building materials such as drywall, carpet and insulation. All of this biological activity is due to the moisture level in the basement.
Dampness is also a strong, consistent risk factor in the incidence of childhood asthma and upper respiratory distress. The health risks of biological contaminants in indoor air can be effectively moderated by controlling dampness as the key risk indicator.
Basement Technologies has solved the two major causes of humidity.
Keeping humidity down reduces the chance for mold and other critters to grow. In general, mold will not grow at less than 70% relative humidity, because there is simply not enough free moisture. If you can maintain humidity levels well below this point, generally in the range of 50%, mold and other creatures will not likely grow. Moisture control is essential to avoid these issues.
Air Mop 3 Dehumidifier
Dehumidification is the key. We employ the state of the art Air Mop® 3 to provide high octane dehumidification. The Air Mop is a dehumidifier (DeHu) manufactured by Santa Fe and is rated for a large basement space, up to 2,000 square feet. It also performs at the lower temperatures of a basement, with capability down to 42 oF. These are the two most important features of an effective DeHu. Most of the DeHu’s available over the counter are not capable of maintaining sufficiently low humidity in a standard basement space, because they are too small and don’t handle low temperature. The Santa Fe Air Mop 3 achieves control effortlessly.
A third factor in dehumidifier use is the ease of moisture collection. If you have to empty buckets to continue operation, it is not going to happen. Three days later you remember that the DeHu needs to be changed, and that is three days without service. It is most important to maintain acceptable humidity in the summer months, when the outdoor humidity is at its dog-day highest. That is exactly when you have more important things to do than hang around changing DeHu buckets. It is imperative that your DeHu have a built in tubing discharge that does not leak and discharges right in the sump basin. With the Air Mop 3, you set it at 50% and forget it.
Bon Air by Humidix Exhaust System
Basement Technologies carries two other moisture control devices that achieve substantial moisture control without the use of expensive mechanical refrigeration like a DeHu.
Both are based on the concept of exhaust ventilation rather than refrigeration. The Bon Air by Humidex keeps the air in your basement dry and comfortable by exhausting cold, damp air and replacing with warm, conditioned air from the living space. The unit discharges air out of the basement at a rate above 200 cfm, which provides substantial air changes in the space. The replacement air from the living space is warmer and dryer, thereby moderating the humidity level in the basement. As long as there are no significant moisture intrusion issues, the Bon Air will control humidity and offer the comfort of fresh air changes in the previously damp space.
Humid-Evac™ Subslab Exhaust System
To absorb moisture from under the floor we use the Humid-Evac™, another well established Basement Technologies dehumidification product. The unit is similar to a radon pump, except that it is intended to exhaust moisture from the basement. Humid-Evac™ is installed under the slab in the vicinity of the Water Grabber sump. It pulls moist air out of the subslab void and discharges the air outside. Like the Bon Air, the Humid-Evac™ is controlled by a humidistat and runs only when damp conditions are present under the slab. The make up air ultimately comes from the living space, providing air changes less than but approaching the Bon Air.