Frequently Asked Questions

How Does a Basement Ventilation System Work?

Moisture becomes heavier as it cools and settles to the lowest point in the home. That is usually the basement, or crawlspace. By pulling the moist, musty air out of the basement or crawlspace, it causes the dryer, conditioned air from above, usually the first floor, to flow down and replace the expelled air, acting like a broom in sweeping out the moist, stale air. This sweeping action of the air from upstairs is accomplished by putting in a vent from the first floor at a point as far away from the location of the the BVS as possible.

Basement Ventilation SystemIn the average home the air is completely replaced about once 1 or 2 hours with a BVS installed. To determine the rate of air exchange in your basement, multiply the length X the width X the height of your basement. Divide the result by 200, and this will tell you how many minutes it will take to change all the air in your basement with a BVS.

Why Is a Basement Ventilation System Better Than A De-Humidifier?

·         It will save on your electrical bill, perhaps $50-$60 or more per month.

·         It will change the air in your basement instead of re-circulating the stale air.

·         It never, ever, needs emptying.

·         It will never freeze up.

·         It is safer, healthier and quieter.

·         It will not heat up your finished below grade basement, like a de-humidifier will in the summer time.

Do I Leave The Unit On All Year?

Yes! The fan is controlled by a humidity sensor. If the humidity is higher than the setting, the fan will run at full speed. If the humidity reaches the desired setting, it will slow the fan down, but will still keep some air moving. So, the unit is left on year-round. It is a “set it and forget it” operation.

If you leave your home to go south in the winter, or have a vacation home, it will smell better when you return.

So the principle is totally different from a de-humidifier, and is more accurately called a Ventilation and Humidity Control System and is the best alternative to a de-humidifier.

What Happens to the Water?

You will not see any water since it does not condense it like a traditional de-humidifier. It is instead removing the moist air and replacing it with dryer, conditioned air from upstairs.

Will It Affect Anything on the Outside of the Vent?

There are no bad effects of the air blowing outside.

Won’t It Increase My Heating and AC Costs?

Not at all. Since it is controlled by a humidity sensor, this will not be a problem. First of all, heat rises and you are pulling off cooler air at the lowest point in the house. Most houses in the winter have a problem with too little moisture and have to put in a humidifier. Also drier air is easier to heat than moist air, so it will be easier to heat the air once the excess humidity is pulled out. If you have to use a humidifier in the winter, set the basement ventilation system at a higher humidity setting than your humidifier.

In an air conditioned house, the air conditioner is acting like a big de-humidifier, and so it would be sending drier air into the basement, and when the basement ventilation system senses the drier air, it will slow the fan right down. Also, the reason many people who have central AC in the basement still have moisture problems is because the AC unit stops moving air as soon as the targeted temperature is reached, but this is before all the moisture is removed. So the humidity ventilation system assists the AC to do it’s job, and drier air feels cooler, and the AC operates more efficiently.
Also, since a basement ventilation system usually save at least $50 in electricity each month as compared to a de-humidifer, there is an energy savings from the first month of operation.

Where would the unit be installed?

Since we need to vent out the 6” round pipe, we first try to find a clear bay between two floor joists, and make sure there are no wires or pipes in the way and go outside to check outside for obstacles. Although the unit is quieter than a de-humidifier and about the same noise level as a small window fan, we want to avoid putting it under the master bed. Some people can hear the hum of motors when their head hits the pillow.

Can The Unit Be Installed Without a Vent From The First Floor?

If you absolutely do not want a vent installed in the floor, yes, it can operate without a vent from upstairs. However, it  will not operate as efficiently. It is highly recommended at that point to cut off the bottom of the door to the basement at least 1” high to allow some air to flow into the basement. In some installations, an 8” x 10” hole is cut into the stairwell wall into a first floor room, and covered with a finishing air grill on both sides.

Will The The BVS Affect My Furnace?

You should always respect the furnaces need for a large amount of air for combustion purposes. This is why the BVS is not to be installed any closer that 8’ from a furnace or combustion type hot water heater. Building codes require a furnace installer to allow for a good air supply, and many new combustion type furnaces and hot water heater are direct vented.

Why Is The MBS So Economical To Run?

Since the unit draws less than one amp and uses less than 50 watts of electricity, it costs no more than leaving a light bulb on all the time. De-humidifiers are small refrigerator compressors and are therefore costly to run.

Will the Unit Get Rid of The Mold In My Basement?

NO! Mold is ubiquitous, it is everywhere, and is a natural decaying material that contributes to the recycling of organic material. Mold out of control, and in excessive amounts can be detrimental. In all cases of extreme mold contamination, super simple and economical measures were not taken due to either distaste for “work” i.e. normal, regular, cleaning practices, being penny wise and pound foolish in not addressing water leakage or intrusion problems, or improper use of storage materials in basement environments.

However, since mold needs moisture to grow and prosper, we help you to keep moisture from building up in your basement, crawlspace, by maintaining a 24/7 ventilation. Just as it is your responsibility to keep an eye out for crabgrass and dandelions on your lawn, and take measures to keep them from multiplying, your basement environment is your regular responsibility. However, many customers have noticed an improvement in their basement with the use of a basement ventilation system. Remember, you can keep introducing mold into your basement by walking over dead vegetation outside, and tracking it into you basement, or allowing dead leaves to blow into your basement, or storing planting and gardening materials in your basement. Never, ever allow particleboard shelving or plywood to be used in your basement, since that imports mold spores. Mold thrives on cellulose and cardboard and books, etc., are 100% cellulose. Shame on you if you have your basement filled with the aforementioned items and wonder why you have a mold problem.

However, a Basement Ventilation System is perhaps the most effective tool at your disposable in the fight against mold. It will help pull mold spores out of the house, and keep them from hanging around and multiplying.

If you have a serious mold contamination, you must either undertake a good thorough cleaning, fix any water leaks, including replacing any water damaged materials, including the carpet, and/or calling in a mold remediation company. Remember, it is your vigilance and diligence that keeps you from getting to that point.

Will A Basement Ventilation System Make The Musty Basement Odor Go Away?

Usually within a few hours of installing a system, people remark how much better their basement smells. This is because a BVS is diluting the smell existing in the basement by changing the air so frequently. However, after a BVS is installed, it is the owners responsibility to remove the sources of the odor such as old, molding cardboard boxes, rugs that have gotten wet and are now mold cultures, old clothes stuffed in an unheated, unventilated closet in the basement.

This can be illustrate with clothes that have been thoroughly washed, but left in the washing machine and not put in the drier immediately. The excessive moisture starts to cause a smell to develop very quickly, and just drying them later will not remove the odor. They must be rewashed and immediately put into the drier. Or they must be hung outside to allow the natural ozone in the outside air to give them that fresh air smell. It may also be necessary for the owner to wash all the walls and floor with a solution to kill mold that cannot be seen, but is contributing to the odor. Dirt crawl spaces should ideally be covered with a cement dust cap or 6 mil plastic sheeting.

The most common word we hear back from many of our customers that had musty basements is “We love the basement ventilation system. It has done all we expected and more”

Are There Other Side Benefits to Installing a BVS?

Many replacement window companies have found that when they install new, expensive, tighter, replacement windows, the first winter the customers complain about their expensive windows sweating. Usually after installing a Basement Ventilation System the problem is corrected.

One remodeling contractor in Maine that installs vinyl siding told of a customer that had a new sliding patio door installed. For the following winters, she could not open the door all winter long, since an ice dam formed until spring set in. After the basement ventilation system was installed, she could use her sliding patio door, all winter long.





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