Improving Basement Ventilation

Basement ventilation is now one of the most important things to consider when considering your family’s health. Damp, mold, and mildew are not only unhealthy for your family, but for anyone with asthma or allergies, they can become toxic. By improving your basement’s ventilation and air quality, you can create a healthier environment for your family. 

You Will Need:

  • Polyurethane Foam Sealant
  • Florescent Spray Paint
  • Caulking
  • Waterproof Paint
  • Duct Tape
  • Work Gloves
  • Tape Measure
  • Fiberglass Insulation
  • Staple Gun
  • Vapour Barrier
  • Utility Knife
  • Caulking Gun

Step 1. Install Ducts Near the Floor

If you are working to finish a basement, now is a good time to ask the contractor to install the ducts near the floor. Most contractors will not be happy about doing this because of the extra work it puts on them for the job. Ducts located near the floor will circulate the air in the basement more vigorously than having the ducts near the ceiling. Hot air tends to rise and will circulate only at the top, leaving the floor cold. You'll be happier when you have a warm basement during the cold winter nights to enjoy. Lower ducts will definitely improve your basement's ventilation.

Step 2. Installing the Fiberglass Insulation and Vapor Barrier

Cracks in basement foundation or walls will allow outside moisture to leak inside. Also, poor insulation will allow moisture from outside to be absorbed even if there isn't a crack in the basement. Inspect the basement for cracks then mark them with a florescent spray. Fill the cracks with polyurethane foam sealant. Fill until the foam has expanded past the full mark. Excess foam can be trimmed with a utility knife after the foam has hardened.

Next, inspect the holes around wires, cables, vents, and drain pipes and fill gaps with caulking.

With the holes filled, install the insulation. Measure between the studs and then cut fiberglass insulation to the height. As you measure and cut, it is a matter of placing the fiberglass between the studs to fit snugly. If they fit loosely, simply use your staple gun and staple the fiberglass insulation to the studs on either side.

The last step is to hang the vapor barrier. Unroll the plastic barrier and staple it across the header of the studded wall letting it fall to the floor. Once you have stapled all the way around the perimeter of the basement wall, go back and staple the plastic film smoothly down the studs and across the footer of the stud wall. Finally, go back and tape any seams and holes.

Step 3.  Installing an Air Exchange Unit

With both steps in place, do some research and purchase an air exchange unit. You will find the installation to be relatively simple by just following the manufacturer’s directions. With your basement now moisture resistant, an air exchange unit will easily handle bringing fresh clean air into your basement living area and exhausting spent air so that your family can enjoy being in the basement. It should be noted that most dehumidifiers are not designed to provide basement ventilation. Therefore, doing a little research before making a purchase to make sure that you are getting the correct ventilation system that will work with the needs of your basement area.