While many children are spooked by the dark basement stairs, there are still reasons adults should be concerned about what lurks in their basement. Your basement may be where you store hockey and camping gear, wash your clothes, or keep your root veggies, but it may also be the place where oft overlooked safety risks are hiding. Keeping your home safe for your family is essential, which is why you should remember these 6 health hazards that are common to basements in mind when looking through your home.
Improperly vented dryers
Dryers are a blessing when it comes to getting your clothes toasty and dry in a short period of time; however, they can be a source of danger if they’re not adequately vented. It may seem tempting to vent a dryer back into your home to cash in on all that warm air in the colder months, but this would be a huge risk. When a dryer is running, it’s removing loads of warm moisture from the clothing. If that air is being directed back into your house, you’re pumping hot, humid air directly into your home, which could lead to issues like mold, or even structural damage.
Even if your dryer is vented correctly, your basement could still be a haven for mold. Basements are underground, which means that they can be very damp with very little ventilation. This makes them the perfect breeding ground for mold. While there are certain varieties, like black Stachybotrys, which can lead to severe respiratory issues, other forms of mold can also trigger allergies and reactions in people with sensitive immunities. If you have mold, you should have it remediated by a company like Paradigm Home Solutions, which are experienced in mold remediation.
Radon gas is a byproduct from the radioactive decay of uranium. This may sound frightening, but radon is actually present in the dirt, rocks, and even the air. In small quantities and at low exposure, radon is harmless to humans. However, radon can build up in a poorly ventilated basement when it leaks through cracks in the foundation. At high levels, radon can cause lung cancer and become a serious health threat.
If your basement plumbing trap dries out, dangerous sewer gases can start to leak into your basement. Sewer gases can contain ammonia, methane, and hydrogen sulfide and can pose a serious risk to you and your family’s health. Prevent this issue by regularly flushing your basement plumbing trap with water.
Pests can be common in winter, especially come winter. Mice can carry diseases and bacteria that can get into the air when you sweep or mop. When you realize you have rodents, it’s best to call in the experts to remove them. While these little critters may not seem like a big deal, two mice can produce ten litters of 5 to 6 mice a year, and those babies can start reproducing within 30 days.
Many people improperly store chemicals in their basement, which can lead to them leaking harmful gases that can be dangerous for your family. Exposure to chemicals like VOCs can cause allergic reactions and central nervous system disorders. To prevent this, properly recycle opened solvents and chemicals, or store them in secure containers.