How Do I Improve the Quality of Basement Air?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
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Improving the quality of basement air can be a challenge, especially in basements with little to no ventilation. In homes that want to make use of this space for a playroom, den or extra bedroom, addressing the air quality is a must. Fortunately, there are several ways to make it possible to minimize the amount of mold and mildew in the space, and expel the musty air while also allowing a flow of fresh air in basement spaces.

One of the first steps necessary to improve the quality of basement air is to install some type of vent system that will help expel stale air from the space while allowing fresh air into the basement. A simple heating and cooling system with an air return will help accomplish this goal. By constantly replacing the air in the basement, the musty scent will begin to subside and eventually dissipate altogether.

In some cases, installing a heating and cooling system may not be practical, such as when renting a home. For basements that sport small windows along the ceiling line, consider purchasing two small fans. Adjust the settings so one fan can pull air out of the room and the other can pull in fresh air from outside. Fans of this type are relatively inexpensive and can often be mounted in the frames of the small windows. While not an ideal solution, this approach does work well in climates with moderate temperatures and relatively little rainfall.


For people who live in humid areas, mold and mildew are common problems in basements of all sizes. In order to help minimize this, it is important to treat and seal the basement walls. Compounds of this type will create a barrier that prevent moisture from seeping into the walls and puddling at various points along the wall surface. Using a sealant on concrete or brick basement walls will go a long way toward improving the quality of basement air as well as make it easier to prepare the walls for paint or wallpaper if that is part of your overall plans for the décor.

Keeping the space clean is also important to improving the quality of basement air. Use non-toxic cleaners on all surfaces regularly as one way to keep the area as fresh as possible. This includes washing any linens that are in use in the area, and dusting the basement regularly. Taking the time to vacuum carpeting, as well as sweeping and mopping tile floors with a fresh smelling non-toxic cleaner will also go a long way toward keeping the basement air healthier and pleasant.


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