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Would you live in YOUR basement?

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Most people in New England live in an older home with an older basement. If this is you, ask yourself this question: “Would you live in your basement?” Your answer is probably a hard “NO!” Basements are notorious for being “icky”–damp, musty, and full of spiders.

Did you know that the air from your basement may be exactly what you’re breathing all day, every day? This is due to stack effect, the process of warm air rising upward in a building. (This is because warm air is lighter than cold air.) Stack effect will cause the air to flow from a basement into living spaces upstairs, bringing airborne pollutants–mold, moisture, radon, chemicals–right along with it. So if you’re lining up the home improvement projects for the coming summer months, think about starting where it matters most: in your basement.

Healthy IAQ Starts at the Bottom

How to make your basement, and your home, healthier:

1. Manage the moisture: improve exterior drainage to prevent water from leaking into your basement. Dehumidify in the summer months to prevent condensation on cold surfaces.

2. Test your home for radon. Install systems to reduce the radon if the test result is above EPA-recommended acceptable levels.

3. Clean. Accumulated dust and dirt can trap moisture and grow mold. Throw away unwanted items–especially old paints, chemicals, and pesticides.

4. Trap unwanted visitors: ants, mice, rats, squirrels.

5. Weatherize: insulating and air sealing your basement can reduce the impact of stack effect, and save you energy dollars too!

Learn more:

Protect Indoor Air Quality in Your Home | US EPA

BasementRenovationChecklist.pdf (maineindoorair.org)

Stack Effect – Defined | NC State Extension (ncsu.edu)

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