Turning the Heat on in winter will show you the actual air quality of your Basement

How would turning the heat on upstairs have anything to do with the air quality of basement? It’s an interesting concept, but it’s one that many air quality experts, including Craig Clark from Ocean State Air in Rhode Island, deals with every winter.

We all know that the condition of the basement affects the air quality in the rest of the home. Lingering water, moisture and water damage, mold or other pollutants in the basement can influence the quality of the air and aggravate sensitivities in the homeowners.

Moisture problems that go unchecked in the summer don’t feel as serious in the winter. The cold air, for the most part, masks the issues in the basement. Humidity and excess moisture build up are as tangible in the winter as they are in the summer months that are naturally humid.

This becomes the combination to cause issues.

Turning on the heat forces warm air through your home, and in many cases your basement as well. This can awaken any unaddressed moisture issues again in the winter. With warm moist air now back again in the basement during winter, people with respiratory issues can be affected again when they least expect it.

“It’s not uncommon for an entire house to get sick because of poor air quality issues in the winter that could have been avoided by addressing them in the summer,” says Craig Clark, president of Ocean State Air in Rhode Island.

“Correcting an air quality issue in the home can avoid complications in months where normally there isn’t a problem.

“If you maintain the Relative Humidity, you can control the dew point and prevent the mold growth on cold surface areas.

mold in HVAC duct with High Humidity in basement.

“When homeowners turn the heating system on for the first time with mold contamination inside the HVAC system, the dried up mold becomes aerolized and can cause substantial discomfort to persons with mold allergies. A non-viable mold spore or mold fragment can cause as much discomfort as a viable spore or fragment.”

Inactive Mold resting inside of HVAC unit

The World Heath Organization back in August finally announced its findings about increased illness in buildings with air quality issues. Occupants of a building with moisture issues are 70% more likely to become ill than occupants of buildings with proper air quality.

Like always, make sure to have your home inspected to make sure that you don’t have moisture or a mold issue. With this new pattern in New England it might be a good idea to have an inspection before cranking the heat this winter.

Read about the Top 6 Basement Mistakes that contractors and homeowners make.