Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog

 

May 2022

Which Basement Air Purifier Is Best For Mould, Weird Smells and High Humidity?

Shipton's Cleanair Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, explores the best basement air purifier for your home.

Which Basement Air Purifier Is Best For Mould, Weird Smells and High Humidity?

Avoiding your basement this spring due to some nasty smells?

You’re not alone! Managing the air quality in residential basements is not an easy task. 

The unpleasant odours in your basement can come from many factors - including mildew, stale air, VOCs, poor ventilation, mould etc.

And if you've carpeted your basement, you’ll probably have an even stinkier experience! Capillarity causes moisture to come up through the foundation of your home. This moisture can then dampen your home and create the perfect environment for mould growth, dust mites and mildew. 

But with the right basement air purifier, you don’t have to worry about harmful allergens, chemicals, toxins or stinky smells!

Air purifiers remove these harmful contaminants and release clean air into your basement. 

But which air purifier is best? 

If you want to stop avoiding your basement, this article is for you! We explore common basement air quality problems, why they exist and how to remove them with the right air purifier. 

 

Three Common Basement Air Quality Problems

Your basement can be many things - a recreational room, man cave, craft room, extra bedrooms. Even a downstairs apartment! But what it should never be, is home to VOCs, dampness, stinky mould and musty odours. 

Where do these contaminants come from? And why are they so common in your basement?

Mould 

If you’ve ever noticed a musty, earthy odour coming from your basement, you’ve encountered one of the first signs of mould growth. 

As mould grows, it emits gases that circulate the basement air and embed into surrounding fabrics. This embedding is what causes your carpet, couch and curtains to reek. 

Other signs of mould include moisture problems, deteriorating paint and varying health symptoms. 

Health Symptoms of Mould:

  • Wheezing 
  • Itchy eyes or skin 
  • Stuffy nose 
  • Asthma symptoms
  • Fever 
  • Shortness of breath 

What causes mould to grow? 

The perfect environment for mould growth has six elements: 

  1. Mould Spores
  2. Food (organic materials)
  3. Moisture
  4. Darkness 
  5. Oxygen
  6. Warmth (not too cold and not too hot)

If you're concerned about mould in your basement, go through the above list again! Don't forget to place a checkmark on each element present in your basement. 

Did you end up with six checkmarks? If so, you've got yourself the perfect home for mould growth! (Probably not quite the achievement you were aiming for...)

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)

Ever wonder why homeowners choose to use plant-based or all-natural cleaning products? Many traditional cleaners and disinfectants are sources of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are dangerous gases that can cause both short and long-term negative health effects.

Varying Health Effects Of VOCs:

  • Headaches 
  • Allergies 
  • Nausea 
  • Fatigue 
  • Dizziness 

These gases are also released by organic chemicals, including those found in: 

  • Cleaners
  • Solvents
  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Fuel
  • Air fresheners etc. 

Even craft glue, permanent markers and building materials emit these gases!

Why are VOCs likely found in basements? 

First of all, basements typically have very poor airflow. So VOCs have little opportunity to exit your home.

Secondly, homeowners tend to store many old and unused items away in deep closets in their basements - out of sight and mind! But these half-empty paint cans, leftover crafting supplies and extra cleaning products can release VOCs whether in use or not. 

According to the EPA, some levels of VOCs are roughly 2-5 times higher indoors than they are outdoors. And it doesn’t matter whether you live in a rural community or a suburban one, like Hamilton, Ontario. 

P.S. VOCs can also release a strong and unpleasant odour - contributing to an unpleasant basement smell. 

High Humidity

Do the carpet, couch, blankets or pillows in your basement feel damp? This is usually due to high humidity, or moisture, in your indoor air. 

How Does High Humidity Damage Your Home?

  • Mould Growth
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality 
  • Warped Wood 
  • Peeling Paint 
  • Stained Walls
  • Rotting Wood
  • Smelly Odours 

Besides these damages to your home, there’s your health to think about too! If you have allergies to dust mites, fungi, mould or bacteria, then high humidity is definitely your enemy. It can cause these allergens to grow and multiply in your home!

There are many other factors to consider when exploring the culprits of poor basement air quality. But for the sake of this article, we’ll keep the list short. And now that you know the top 3 concerns, you can start thinking about a solution!

 

The Best Air Purifier For Your Basement

If you’re like us, hearing about all the potential growth and stench lurking in your living space probably makes you shiver with disgust.

But thankfully, the right air purifier can help reduce these poor air quality culprits - giving you safe, clean air once again!

So, what is the best air purifier for your basement? 

Although many successful air purifiers exist, just any air purifier won't do. It needs to be powerful enough to deal with biological pollutants, odours, mould and germs!

That's why we recommend choosing a basement air purifier with these three specific components: 

  1. A HEPA filter,
  2. Carbon filter and
  3. UV light technology. 

Here’s why!

HEPA Filter

A True HEPA filter is one of the most powerful pieces of home air quality equipment. It can remove 99.97% of air pollution - including mould, dust and pollen at a size of 0.3 microns!

But this type of filter cannot remove gasses and odours. For that, you’ll need a carbon filter. 

Carbon Filter

A carbon filter is an incredible tool for basement air quality. It can remove gasses, odours and VOCs!

If you’re struggling with unpleasant odours in your home, this component of your air purifier is imperative. 

But while a carbon filter can remove both gasses and volatile organic compounds, it cannot kill germs. That’s the job of UV light technology!

UV Light Technology

Ultraviolet Light (UV) Technology has the power to kill both germs and mould. 

Instead of trapping them in a filter, this type of air purifier destroys these harmful particles - eliminating them from your air entirely!

An air purifier with all three of these components will be practically unstoppable in the battle against your poor basement air quality. 

 

Looking For Other  Ways To Help Improve Basement Air Quality?

  • Install a Whole House Ventilator.
  • Install a Whole House Humidifier. 
  • Drain eavestroughs away from the foundation of your home.
  • Dry out your basement.
  • Keep your downstairs windows closed.
  • Check for cracks and gaps In your walls, ceiling and window seals.

 

Take Advantage of Our Spring Cleaning Deals!

Start Saving Today!

Have you started your spring cleaning yet?

For the entire month of May, save 10% on our Air Duct Cleaning Services and get $100 OFF our Whole-House Indoor Air Quality Equipment installations!

*Offers to expire on May 31st, 2022.

*Cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions.

 

Shipton’s CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton Is Your Basement Air Quality Expert!

At Shipton's CleanAir Solutions, we care about your health and the health of your home.  Want to learn more about improving your basement air quality? Give us a call! 

You can reach our indoor air quality team at (905) 544-2470 or online!

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Are Houseplants Powerful Enough To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

Shipton's CleanAir Solutions discusses the indoor air quality benefits of indoor houseplants.

Are Houseplants Powerful Enough To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality?

For years, science said select houseplants were powerful enough to improve indoor air quality. Even to support or even replace an air purifier. 

But is this a myth or fact?

To start, yes - houseplants are powerful. If you own them yourself, you have already seen some of the many benefits they can bring to your home - including natural beauty and life. 

At first, your houseplant collection may have begun with the intent to liven your living space up a bit. You may have had one or two pots in your home in total. Then, after reading a few articles, you learned that plants actually have air-purifying capabilities and your collection quickly grew!

As did that of many homeowners around the globe. 

Homeowners latched on to the idea that plants were a “green” solution to improving indoor air quality (IAQ). And because plants were so economical, they chose to use them in place of an actual air purifier. 

Now, scientifically, everyone was on the right track here. After all - plants do have incredible air-purifying qualities.

But the question we’re asking here is not whether plants have these air-purifying qualities. It’s whether these qualities are strong enough to actually improve the IAQ in your home effectively.

Is the small plant shelf in your home office enough to negate an air purifier or whole-house ventilator? Find out below!

 

A Brief History of Our Beloved Houseplants and Their Air Purifying Powers

Houseplants have been around for years - dating as far back as the early Greeks.

Over the years, they became decor, medication and food. But as science evolved, it became clear that houseplants were capable of so much more. 

In 1989, a study by NASA showed houseplants as a natural solution to reducing indoor air pollutants. 

Here’s how it went...

During this study, researchers placed a series of potted plants in small chambers with VOC (volatile organic compound) concentrations. 

Over the course of a few hours and/or days, the VOC concentrations in select chambers significantly decreased. This discovery led scientists to conclude that these specific plants had air-purifying capabilities. 

And so the world was off to purifying their indoor air quality with plants galore!

But then, as time went on, a new perspective came to light.

Although the science of the conclusion was correct - select plants can remove VOCs from surrounding air - the scale of the study came into question.

How would the results of the study change between the use of a sealed container and a dynamic home environment? Would these plants be powerful enough to remove toxins from a much larger, constantly-changing space?

According to Professor Michael Waring in his 2019 study, the unfortunate answer is no. 

In his words, "This has been a common misconception for some time. Plants are great, but they don't actually clean indoor air quickly enough to have an effect on the air quality of your home or office environment.”

In Waring’s studies, he found that ventilation was a far more successful way to remove pollutants from the air than plants were. Whether through a natural form of ventilation, like opening a window, or a whole-house ventilator system, both are far more successful at flushing out unwelcome toxins. 

In fact, according to Waring’s studies, you would need to have 10-1,000 plants per square meter of floor space in your home to compete with these forms of home ventilation. 

So the answer to our question? No - unless you actually do have 1,000 air purifying plants per every square meter of your home, they are not effective in improving your indoor air quality. And they cannot replace your air purifier or whole-house ventilator. 

But they do have many other positive benefits…

 

Other Positive Health Benefits of Houseplants In Your Home

Now, we are by no means telling you that you should throw out your houseplants. 

Although indoor gardening may not be powerful enough to combat poor indoor air quality, they do have many other incredible health benefits! 

1. Indoor Plants Can Brighten Your Mood.

Indoor plants are a great way to brighten your home and mood

Besides the obvious factor of plants adding unique beauty and life to your home decor, they can also help relieve physiological and psychological stress

You see examples of this all the time!

> When a friend brings flowers to their sick friend. 

> When you’re given flowers after the passing of a loved one. 

> When a husband gives a wife flowers as an act of love. 

Even the flowers you’re handing your mom for Mother’s Day this weekend are an example!

Individuals give these plants hoping that they will brighten their loved one's day - making them feel seen, loved and special.

And, in more cases than not, they succeed!

2. Indoor Plants Can Improve Mental and Emotional Health.

Did you know that caring for indoor plants can help improve your mental and emotional health

The process of nurturing a plant can be incredibly therapeutic. It can help reduce anxiety, ease depression, heal from trauma and de-stress.

This form of therapy is often called horticultural therapy. 

Fun Fact: As young individuals interact with indoor plants, their autonomic nervous system (their body’s physical response to stress) relaxes.

3. Indoor Plants Can Improve Concentration and Productivity.

Working at a computer all day long can often cause brain fog and fatigue. But a few office friends like spider plants, peace lilies and dracaenas can help improve your concentration and productivity.

Studies have shown that indoor plants can help boost: 

  • Creative Thinking 
  • Spatial Processing
  • Concentration 
  • Productivity 
  • Memory

So the next time you’re feeling distracted, tired or unmotivated at your desk, take a trip to your local greenhouse! You might be surprised at how good you feel even after just walking through the isles of plants and appreciating the beauty and serenity of nature. 

 

Take Advantage of Our Spring Indoor Air Quality Savings Event!

If you’re feeling tired, sick or even dizzy these past few months, your IAQ could be the culprit. And while we wouldn’t recommend buying a whole host of houseplants to fix the issue, there is another solution we'd suggest. 

Like taking advantage of our spring indoor air quality savings event this May!

Save 10% on our Air Duct Cleaning Services and get $100 OFF our Whole-House Indoor Air Quality Equipment installations. 

That includes the air purifier equipment and whole-house ventilator that we mentioned above!

*Offers to expire on May 31st, 2022.

*Cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions.

 

Shipton’s CleanAir Solutions is Hamilton’s Indoor Air Quality Expert!

Shipton's CleanAir Solutions is always here to offer the best IAQ advice, products and services. Contact our team today for effective and affordable indoor air quality solutions that work for your home and/or office!

Give us a call at 1-905-544-2470 or visit us online to ask a question, request a free quote or schedule a service with our team.

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