You just spent all that money to create a finished basement to enjoy and entertain in and now it smells like an old sneaker.
Many homeowners who have finished basements soon discover that unchecked moisture and humidity soon lead to foul smelling mildew. Mold and mildew will flourish in areas of your finished basement that are damp, poorly lighted, warm and have weak air circulation.
Mildew is actually produced by molds when there is adequate moisture supply and warm temperatures. Mildew feeds on cellulose material and emits volatile organic compounds (VOC"s) that produce the nasty smell associated with damp basements. Mildew will feed and grow on a variety of surfaces in a finished basement:
- Wood paneling
- Paper products
- Garments made from cotton, leather, silk, wool and linen
Damp basements are often caused by condensation of moist, warm air on cooler interior wall and floor surfaces. Wet walls and foggy windows are good indicators of high levels of humidity. The first step to eliminating mold, mildew and musty odors in your finished basement is to dry the air. Cool air holds less moisture than warm air. A basement dehumidifier with a high CFM fan will draw the warm, moist air over its cold evaporator coils to draw the water out of the air. Air movement is vital to removing moisture so the more powerful the fan the better. In fact, if you have a bathroom with a shower in your finished basement it’s a good practice to install a ventilation fan.
There are many websites out there providing information about basement moisture problems and basement dehumidifiers. Some prove to be a valuable dehumidification resource and others are highly disappointing. Some sites suggest that using a basement dehumidifier is a "last resort" option. This nonsense could not be further from the truth. Actively removing excessive humidity from the basement will improve air quality throughout the house. Using a dehumidifier designed especially for basement environments like the Dri-Basement should be part of a good front line defense against moisture and mildew.
Left untreated, mildew can cause considerable damage to your valuable property and to your finished basement. Remember, mildew and mold are much more difficult to remove than they are to prevent.
October 6th, 2008