A basement or crawl space can be an attractive part of a home for all kinds of reasons.
Well-designed, secure and stable under-home storage, living space and utilities access can raise the resale value of a home and even generate extra income while you are living there.
But there are also notable downsides to choosing a home with a basement or crawl space. One of the most significant of these concerns is the health risk a poorly maintained below-ground home space represents.
Basements – even the finished ones that look all shiny and new at first glance – can harbour some serious health hazards that you might not ever suspect are there.
In this timely post, find out about the most common health hazards found in basements and crawl spaces and how to fix them.
Five Basement Toxins Every Homeowner Should Know About
As a homeowner, you should be aware of these top five toxins that can contaminate your basement or crawl space and impact your family’s health.
1. Mould and mildew
Mould and mildew constitute one of the most persistent and expensive problems that can impact a crawl space or basement.
Here in Canada, seasonal weather shifts that bring increased moisture and humidity can cause mould and mildew spores to congregate under homes and colonize. Once a mould colony is established, it will send out new airborne mould spores, and this is how many families get sick.
Radon is a naturally occurring odourless, colourless gas that is a byproduct of uranium decomposition. Essentially, it is a radioactive gas. It is found throughout Canada and is the leading non-tobacco-related cause of lung cancer in North America.
All homeowners should have a working radon alarm for the upstairs and another for the basement.
Radon exposure can be particularly concerning in basements and crawl spaces because it seeps in from the surrounding soil and can concentrate inside with no easy exit. For this reason, Natural Resources Canada now recommends radon testing and installation of radon alarm systems.
3. Sewer gases
Sewer gases find ready access to basements and crawl spaces through floor drains. Methane, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and other notoriously toxic gases make their way into basements and crawl spaces and become concentrated over time.
Anything that gets dumped into the sewer, from water used to clean paint brushes and solvent rags to leftover solvents themselves, travels through the sewer and can seep inside your basement or crawl space.
Basements that lack proper ventilation can quickly build up toxic levels of these sewer gases.
4. Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is nicknamed “the silent killer.” This odourless, colourless gas is produced as a result of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. All homeowners should have a working carbon monoxide alarm for the home and another alarm for their basement.
5. Dust and dust mites
Dust and dust mites are chronic airborne toxins that readily accumulate inside crawl spaces and basements. Unfortunately, it’s easy to think “it’s only dust,” but that changes rapidly when your child develops chronic asthma or your family can’t seem to recover from seasonal allergies.
Dust and dust mites can become particularly concerning if your clothes dryer is located in the basement. As well, poorly vented or internally vented dryers can off-gas toxins from laundry detergent and dryer sheets into your basement, exacerbating health symptoms.
What to Do to Permanently Detoxify Your Basement or Crawl Space
Once your basement is finished and looks fabulous, it can be a tough blow to find out that the air inside is causing health problems for your family or tenants.
But it is also better to find out now so you can guard against the types of serious and sometimes fatal health issues linked to the five toxins we just discussed (COPD, lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and pneumonia together cause nearly 4 million premature deaths each year and all are linked to toxic household air).
What can you do to protect yourself, your family, your tenants and your home’s resale value? We recommend crawl space encapsulation or interior basement waterproofing – read on to find out why.
Crawl space encapsulation
In past decades, most crawl spaces were ventilated. Today, we know this is one of the leading causes of accumulation of mould, mildew, dust and other toxic health hazards.
Rather than ventilating your crawl space, what you need is encapsulation. Crawl space encapsulation permanently encloses your basement and the sensitive utilities you rely on, providing protection from chemicals, microbials, humidity, insects, critters and more.
We also recommend upgrading existing insulation as needed to humidity-resistant insulation suitable for use in crawl spaces and basements.
Interior basement waterproofing
Interior basement waterproofing offers so much more than just protection from moisture and flooding. Affordable basement waterproofing takes just one or two days in most cases and solves problems that haven’t even begun to show themselves yet.
In addition to blocking mould, mildew and humidity, the waterproofing treatment also guards against radon and other volatile organic compounds. It prevents these toxic compounds from entering your basement and drifting upstairs into your home.
Interior basement waterproofing is non-invasive – it takes place completely inside your basement, so no exterior landscaping has to be displaced.
For this reason, it can be done at any time of year. It can also be done whether your basement is finished or unfinished and it will not impact your future plans to renovate or upgrade your basement. You can also add humidity-resistant insulation at the same time, which will also help lower your energy bills.
Get in Touch
Is your family coping with health symptoms that may be linked to air toxicity in your basement or crawl space? We can help!
Our simple, free EasyQuote process will give you the information you need to fix it fast.
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.