If you are experiencing any of the health symptoms we’ve listed after you’ve been in the basement for a while, or if you just want to be sure you are not harboring toxic material, have your indoor air quality tested. With a few adjustments you can get back to hanging out in your basement with some peace of mind. Remember to clean the collection bucket and condensation coils regularly. Furnaces don’t even do a great … “Basements are often damp, and moisture and mold go hand-in-hand,” says Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator and founder of RTK Environmental. Whether Dad’s eating a sandwich while watching the game or the kids are snacking on chips and soda while playing video games, if they’re not keeping the area clean, they may be attracting pests, like rodents and insects. Radon gas, which is produced by the radioactive decay of uranium, is present in soil, rocks, and even in the air you breathe. Related: The Dos and Don'ts of Basement Storage. Basements are damp, which is precisely the environment in which mold thrives. If you’re going to use your basement as a living space, your best bet is to tie it into your home’s central HVAC system and open the basement windows frequently, even on chilly days, to let in fresh air. Improved Health and Quality of Life – More than half the air you are breathing in your home comes from areas like the basement underneath your main living space. Bypass humidifiers like the Lennox® HCWB17 typically mount out … Thanks to something called the “stack effect”, the air in your basement … In high-risk areas, radon has a tendency to seep through basement cracks. Therefore, it is better to find out about how to handle the problem. Typically, the symptoms begin small and grow worse over time, especially because the exposure to mold spores will increase as the mold spreads. Open basement … Shelve it elsewhere! Be aware that infants, small children, certain adults and pets can not tell you that they are suffering from headaches or breathing problems. Sewer gases contain not only methane, highly toxic ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide, but they also include fumes from solvents and other chemicals that have been introduced into the sewer system. Every time you walk across that carpet, you may be releasing mold spores and unhealthy microorganisms into the air. Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly called black mold, is linked to more serious symptoms, including chest tightness and difficulty breathing, a burning sensation in the nose and … If there’s only a mild sewer gas leak, the first step for treatment is to air out the house and call a plumber to come and inspect and fix the leak. Because 90 percent of the land in the Northeast is likely to have elevated radon levels, every home should be tested for radon, an important part of indoor air quality tests. Here’s how to get relief and … You can avoid breathing in the mold by staying away from any moldy matter or environment. Watch out for crumbs! Dust also can accumulate on stored items. – A lack of ventilation downstairs makes exposures to these allergens worse than upstairs. Many different conditions can cause breathing problems, including stress and anxiety. Be sure to tell them if the symptoms occur when you are in your basement. Storing half-empty cans of chemical-laden mixtures can, however, introduce toxic substances into the air, because it's difficult to seal cans completely once opened. ... Once the problem’s resolved, keeping your basement ventilated and the humidity low will help stop … Basements can be a paradise of space. Unfortunately, the exhaust from the dryer also includes  chemicals from laundry detergents, which are released into the basement air where they can trigger respiratory problems. Basements are damp, which is precisely the environment in which mold thrives. But if those shelves have been relegated to the basement, they could be creating a problem. A person exposed to mold spores originating from a basement may experience cold or flu-like symptoms that may include a stuffy nose, skin irritations, shortness of breath and eye irritation. If you spend any time in your basement, have your dryer vented to the outdoors. Radon can then become trapped in a poorly ventilated basement, where it can threaten the health of occupants and potentially increase their risk of developing lung cancer. Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. “What we don’t realize is that it’s all for nothing if the air we are breathing in is filling our bodies with toxins.”. COVID-19: What you need to know. Eliminate sources of dampness in basements, such as pipe leaks or groundwater seepage. Here are the most common things to watch out for: Mold is the leading cause of poor indoor air quality in basements and can have dire effects on your health. Solution: Check pipes, closets, … Therefore, dust mites and vermin droppings can build up in neglected areas, like crawl spaces and behind the clothes dryer, and on fans used to keep you cool on exercise equipment. The dust, dander and other particulates that you bring into the basement with that sofa will aggravate allergies and asthma. Symptoms include wheezing, or a high-pitched, musical sound with breathing, tightness in the chest and general difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. To reduce the risk of mold, use a dehumidifier, seal cracks in the foundation, and replace carpeting with tile, vinyl, or another appropriate hard flooring. (Michael Pinto, 2018), VOC Resource Guide – The Truth About Indoor Air Quality, Testing, Construction & Remediation Companies, Before You Remodel, Renovate, or Conduct a Demolition. If you have a gas- or oil-fired furnace, have it inspected annually, and use carbon monoxide detectors in the basement and in upstairs rooms. Chances are you’re breathing in lint, mites, dust, and other particles, and it’s not good for your health. If a detector senses high levels of radon, the EPA suggests that you have your home treated by a radon remediation expert. Inadequate exhaust of bathrooms and kitchens. When was the last time you washed your basement elliptical (with soap) or really dusted your treadmill? We may cringe when we have to breathe recycled air on an airplane, yet the indoor air quality in our basements may not be too much better or even worse! Getting fuel oil on the skin can cause skin irritation. The damp, stale air in the basement stays down there, right? Inspect your stored solvents and discard any that appear to have leaked. Keep track of radon levels in your house by installing a couple of radon detectors. Basements are a favored storage spot for leftover cans of varnish, paint, and adhesives. Breathing … Mold in homes can be a costly and dangerous problem, particularly when infestations of toxic black mold occur. Problems breathing can come on suddenly or last for weeks or longer. “More and more, our daily lives revolve around being healthy – eating well, physical activity, regular wellness checkups, organic food, non-toxic products, and more,” points out Weitz. You should be … Washing machines are prone to harboring mold, especially front loaders. If you are working out in an environment that is full of dust and mold allergens, it can be particularly difficult to breathe.”, If you have not had an indoor air quality test, you should. It is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced when uranium naturally decays in soil and water, and it is hazardous to your health. Breathing in mold spores can cause multiple problems, and the symptoms usually vary from one person to the next. Things like pesticides, old paint cans, and cleaning products, when stored inside, can cause harmful indoor air by emitting toxic VOCs. https://www.webmd.com/lung/breathing-problems-unusual-causes But, since molds exposure can happen anytime, including when you are sleeping with an open window, you can suffer all the disease above. As th… Heating Oil Spill Tips. The problem is most of us have no idea what is available to help transform the basement into that fantastic space. Moisture tends to collect in boxes, making it easy for mold to grow. Related: The 10 Best Things You Can Buy for Your Laundry Room (for Under $50). You’re probably breathing basement air. 2. An independent testing company, like RTK Environmental, will conduct indoor air quality testing to determine if mold, asbestos, VOCs, radon, or other harmful toxins are present in your environment. 2. In this article, we look at causes, symptoms, and ways to prevent breathing difficulties. That’s mold and mildew. Outside upgrades are the ideal correction given the way basement walls were left exposed in the past; however, unless you have serious structural problems or plan to excavate for … You know you have mold when either see it forming on wood and in corners, or you smell the characteristic musty odor it gives off. If you would like to schedule an indoor air quality inspection or have questions, call us today at (800) 392-6468. I was rushed to the emergency room when I stopped breathing when I was little - they connected it to bringing a smally chrysanthemum plant in a pot into the house - allergy induced asthma (yes it is a thing, actually one of the more common forms of asthma). It can tell you if the air you are breathing is negatively affecting your health. Ever open the washing machine and get a whiff of an awful stale scent? Copyright © 2021 Acton Media Inc. All rights reserved. Sewer gases are most likely to enter your home through a dry basement floor drain: When the plumbing trap, which is designed to block gases, dries out, sewer gases will seep into the basement. Outdoor humidity. You need a basement … With rugs serving as a haven for dirt, bacteria, and mold spores, you’ll probably never look at carpeting the same way again. Not every basement laundry area enjoys adequate dryer venting from the basement to the outdoors. Indoor air pollution can cause big health problems. This can damage your furniture and other artifacts stored inside the … Those with allergies can suffer broader, more intense respiratory effects, including difficulty breathing and chest tightness. Poor air circulation and inadequate ventilation may force us to breathe in toxins and chemicals, including lead dust, exhaust, radon, formaldehyde, asbestos, and VOCs from adhesives, upholstery, appliances, carpeting, manufactured wood products, machines, pesticides, cleaning agents and even personal care products. 3. What you might not realize is that poor indoor air quality can turn your basement into a health hazard. A space where you can look around and feel at home. Most cases are due to heart or lung conditions, but there are many other causes. Use a dehumidifier in any area of your home that smells musty or damp. Breathing problems As mold grows, spores, cells, fragments, and unstable organic compounds can enter the air. … For people sensitive to mold, inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Indoor Leaks Unseen leaks may be causing mold growth in your home, which can be problematic for people prone to asthma and allergically-induced breathing problems. “Mold and poor indoor air quality have been known to trigger allergies that cause coughs and headaches, as well as irritations to the nose, skin, and eyes. In fact, in about 80% of “sick building syndrome” cases, where poor air quality spreads, mold infestations (black mold and other types) are the main cause of illness. A thorough environmental health inspection will tell you what the problem is, and how to alleviate the source of the issue. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air may be up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. Rather than running a vent pipe to the outside of the house, some homeowners opt to outfit the dryer with a device that catches lint and then recirculates warm air from the dryer throughout the basement. To prevent health problems that come from exposure to sewage fumes, regularly flush basement floor drains with water. Basements have optimal conditions for the growth of mold and mildew. Related: 10 Ways You're Accidentally Poisoning Your Home. laundry area enjoys adequate dryer venting, The 10 Best Things You Can Buy for Your Laundry Room (for Under $50), 10 Ways You're Accidentally Poisoning Your Home, 7 Reasons Indoor Air Isn’t as Pure as You Think, The 10 Best Colors for a Brighter Basement, Sick House Syndrome: 7 Things You Need to Know Now. At high concentrations, carbon monoxide can even lead to death. So, you may want to move your yoga mat upstairs before your downward dog brings you within inches of a health problem. Be sure to leave the door open in between washes to allow air to circulate and dry out the machine. They also cause breathing problems, headaches, stuffiness, and infections, Nolen says. Condensation or moisture build-up in humidifiers, … To reduce mold growth in your home, consider these tips: 1. Basements are generally dirtier than the rest of our house because they are dusted and vacuumed less frequently. ... particleboard, and plywood paneling. While stuffy air below-grade won’t affect anyone living upstairs, it can trigger asthma attacks or other respiratory problems in those who spend time in a basement bedroom or rec room. Doing so may cause asthma, allergies, and a host of other ailments. You agree that BobVila.com may process your data in the manner described by our Privacy Policy. Any kind of mold, not just the deadly black stachybotrys variety, can lead to respiratory problems. The Dos and Don’ts of Waterproofing Basement Walls, 12 Finishing Touches for Your Unfinished Basement, Why Go Out? Your basement doesn't have to be scary. Pneumonitis and Pulmonary Hemorrhage … People can experience difficulty breathing for a wide range of reasons. Mold thrives in damp environments and spreads easily. A space where you can feel confident about the air your breathing. It is not uncommon for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, to be found in basements. Some of these … Continually damp carpet (may occur if carpet is installed on poorly ventilated floor). Breathing difficulties can develop gradually or come on suddenly. People who may be exposed to indoor air pollutants for the longest periods are often those most at risk to the effects of indoor air pollution. Symptoms can include: If you get any of these symptoms, especially while in or after spending some time in your basement, you may have a serious indoor air quality problem. Fuel-fired furnaces are expected fixtures in basements, but without proper care and maintenance, they can produce a deadly by-product of combustion, carbon monoxide. Any kind of mold, not just the deadly black stachybotrys variety, can lead to respiratory problems. Get the help you need for the home you want—sign up for the Bob Vila newsletter today! Exposure to those chemicals, also known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can lead to allergies and disorders of the central nervous system, and long-term exposure can result in chronic health problems. Increased fungal growth, which can cause breathing problems for inhabitants Creature favorable conditions for termite breeding. And, the next time you buy paint or varnish, choose low-VOC products to minimize your exposure to toxins. Cockroaches have been linked to respiratory problems, and according to the EPA, certain proteins in cockroach droppings and saliva can cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma symptoms. These health problems will continue until you learn how to remove mold from basement rooms and other areas in the home. All great ideas. Failure to clean your washer rigorously can result in the growth of fungi and bacteria that can cause lung inflammation. Some are listed below: Fiberglass: Often ignored, fiberglass insulation is another pollutant that very common in basements; it can be found... Crawlspaces: Crawlspaces are often so dank and … Related: 10 Shortcuts to a Not-So-Scary Basement. Cleaning the washing machine frequently will help prevent odors as well. Mold is the leading cause of poor indoor air quality in basements and can have dire effects … Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible and may not be noticed until occupants experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as headache, dizziness, or loss of judgment. Related: The 10 Best Colors for a Brighter Basement. Related: 7 Reasons Indoor Air Isn’t as Pure as You Think. Mold Related: Sick House Syndrome: 7 Things You Need to Know Now. Except…you’ve got to be sure it’s safe. That means whatever is in your basement … Air quality is affected by the presence of mold, radon, and other toxins. Wrong. The symptoms and health effects of black mold exposure and black mold poisoning cover a wide range of health problems… You may also want to see your physician to rule out any other possible medical conditions. Keep your humidity levels below 50 percent. A bypass humidifier is one that uses the airflow created by your furnace or air handler to deliver moisture through your home. They can produce allergens, irritants, and mycotoxins. ... Those two things are the root of the problem … Typical health symptoms associated with the inhalation of mold spores include a runny nose, excessive sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, or dry, itchy skin. Use an air conditioner, and consider installing central air conditioning with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter attachment. 29 Bank St,Stamford, CT 06901(203) 921-4144Directions, 333 Mamaroneck Ave,White Plains, NY 10605(914) 468-2473Directions, 338 Jericho Turnpike Suite 157,Syosset, NY 11791(516) 821-5310Directions, 1245 River Road #153,Fair Lawn, NJ 074101 800 392-6468Directions, 244 Madison Avenue #285,New York, NY 10016(212) 776-4312Directions, © All rights reserved RTK Environmental Group - Copyright 1995 - 2021 - Sitemap, Infants who are exposed to mold in their living environments have nearly a 3X greater risk of becoming asthmatic than those who did not have extensive mold exposure in their first year of life. In small quantities, radon doesn't present a health risk, but when it's concentrated in a closed environment like your basement, it's a different story. 1. 12 Bars You Can Build at Home. This gas can then seep into the rest of the house, where it can create health problems and a dangerous risk of fire. If you say, ‘I can’t remember,” then listen up. Your self-built shelves that hold your treasures, like Grandma’s china and your kid’s artwork from nursery school, keep clutter out of your main living area. It is common for people to experience respiratory problems such as allergies, asthma, sinus infections, and a runny nose. We can put home gyms, TV or game rooms, and laundry facilities there, and use it for storage. Find local basement remodeling contractors in your area and get free, no-commitment estimates for your project today. If you’ve ever noticed a stuffy smell when you've entered a basement, that odor is most likely the result of poor ventilation. Darkness and dampness are two things that mold and mildew thrive in, which are very common for an unfinished basement. Because the air in your basement tends to be stagnant, it can breed unhealthy conditions. 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