There are several reasons that you might be in need of a basement ventilation system. Much of the reasoning is determined by what your basement is used for. If you are only using your basement for storage, you might not be interested is heating and cooling functionality.
In this case you only really need to circulate the air and remove excess humidity. If this sounds like you, your case is simplified and all you need is ductwork, a few exhaust grills, and an exhaust fan. Air is generally exhausted through the roof or on the side of the house.
If your basement is a living space, either bedrooms or a family recreation area, you will be in need of a ventilation system that is more sophisticated and incorporates heating and cooling components. The equipment you need is basically the same air conditioner and furnace set up you use in the rest of your house.
The ideal scenario is one in which your house is under construction. In this case, your architect or engineer can design the capacity of your equipment using square footage as a guide and incorporate the basement into the cooling and heating system along with the rest of the house.
On the other hand if your house is pre-existing, you will need to retrofit by installing ductwork into the basement and adding additional heating and cooling capacity. Now is the time to ask yourself this question, “How old is my current system?”
If your system is relatively new you will want to just add a dedicated system for the basement. However, if your system is old, it is not as energy efficient as it could be. This is a golden opportunity to replace the entire system with one that will save you money every month on your energy bills. In some areas you can even reap a tax credit.
If your basement is used for storage, a hobby or wood shop, or some similar activity, you will not be interested in a fancy programmable thermostat but you still need some temperature and humidity control. This might also play into your decision on whether to replace the entire system to include ventilating your attic.
No matter what your situation is, moisture is generally a basement problem. Since basements are underground and the underground has moisture it stands to reason that your basement is going to experience some moisture.
If you are spending any time down there, the moisture is uncomfortable. If you are just using it for a storage area, you are going to have mold and mildew issues. The easiest way to confront any of these situations is through using a well designed basement ventilation system.
Are you using your basement for a wood shop or some other hobby or activity that generates sawdust? You will need a filtration system as well as a ventilation system. Installing one is important because you do not want to compromise the ventilation system.
This is a system that incorporates a vacuum, filters of different micron sizes, and a sequence of collection points. This is very important from a health standpoint because the sawdust from many exotic woods is toxic when inhaled.
This system can either be purchased as a commercial unit or designed and assembled by the do-it-yourselfer. Any good woodworking tool catalogue will stock the components to install your custom filtration system.
Whatever your basement ventilation needs, the solutions are very straightforward and the options are numerous. It is just a question of balancing needs and finances.