How to clean mold

Everyone knows the best way to clean mold is with bleach, right? Wrong! Keep reading to find out the best way to clean mold — and why not to use bleach.

Why Not Kill Mold With Bleach?

The goal of mold cleaning is not to kill mold, or even to disinfect a surface or material, but rather to remove mold from a surface. Think of mold like dirt. If you had a wall with dirt on it, would you simply spray it with bleach and consider it cleaned? Of course not. Bleach is a disinfectant, not a detergent.

Bleach is also highly toxic, especially when mixed with other cleaners or chemicals. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discourages the use of bleach and biocides for mold cleaning.

Remove Mold With Detergent

The best method for cleaning mold on non-porous and some hard, porous surfaces is to scrub and/or damp wipe the surface with a mild detergent solution. Surprised? What about all of the mold cleaners that are being marketed? What about the claims that a certain product kills mold, removes mold, removes stains, disinfects surfaces and prevents mold from ever returning? If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

What you really need is soap. It’s simple physics. Mold is hydrophobic, meaning it lacks an affinity for water or repels away from water and aerosol sprays. When water is applied to a moldy surface, it causes mold spores to scatter. When detergent is added to the water, it acts as a surfactant and breaks down the surface tension. This causes the mold spores to be released from the surface and allows them to be easily removed by wiping.

You might be surprised to learn that some of the most effective detergents for cleaning mold are liquid dishwashing detergents, such as Cascade and Dawn. Dishwashing detergent does not produce suds, making it easier to see the surface you are cleaning. Dishwashing detergent is designed to cut through tough grease and grime, but is gentle enough to not irritate skin.

We recommend treating surfaces with a product such as Concrobium Mold Control after cleaning to kill any remaining mold spores and to provide some level of inhibition of future mold growth.

What About Porous Items?

Porous items such as upholstered furniture, clothing, carpet and ceiling tiles are more difficult to clean. If the mold is extensive, then these items will likely have to be discarded.

Light mold growth can be removed using a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner, by professional laundering or by specialized furniture or carpet cleaning companies. Even after cleaning, remaining mold stains may be difficult or impossible to remove.

How Branch Environmental Can Help

A complete mold remediation involves not only cleaning, but also identifying and correcting the moisture problem(s) that led to mold growth in the first place.

Branch Environmental is a full service mold inspection, assessment and remediation company. Call us today if you would like to schedule a mold inspection, request a remediation estimate, or if you simply have questions about how to clean mold.

Cleaning mold

It seems like nearly every week someone calls and wants to know how to kill mold. We then explain why cleaning surfaces to remove mold is more important than killing mold.

Always remember that unless you correct the moisture problem that led to mold growth, then it will return whether you kill it or clean it.

Why do we care about mold in the first place?

Before we can address cleaning mold vs. killing mold, we first have to understand why mold is a problem. It is a widely known fact that breathing or coming into contact with mold is unhealthy.

Mold is an allergen, similar to pollen, dust mites, dander, and pet hair. But mold is also a sensitizer, meaning that the more you’re exposed to mold, the more sensitive you may become. People with existing health concerns such as allergies and asthma, as well as infants and the elderly, may be more sensitive to mold.

While certain types of mold are more dangerous than others, all mold is unhealthy. Some molds produce microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), which can be highly toxic if inhaled or ingested.

Allergens should be removed from your environment, not “killed”

Mold, like other allergens, should be removed from your indoor environment. If you had pet hair, dust, pollen or any other allergen present in your indoor environment, would you simply spray it with bleach or some other product to “kill” it?

Of course not, you would remove the allergen by cleaning. The point is that even dead mold spores present a health concern. Stay tuned for our next post on how to clean mold for more information on the process.

What happens when you “kill” mold instead of cleaning mold?

We recently performed a mold and indoor air quality inspection for a customer who had purchased a home, and within the first month of living in the home, was experiencing odors and breathing problems.

Prior to the purchase of the home, a home inspector found mold in the crawl space. The sellers hired someone to perform a mold remediation. Come to find out, the mold “remediation” consisted of a guy spraying the mold in the crawl space with some unknown chemical. No cleaning or mold removal was involved.

Our inspection revealed a crawl space full of mostly dead mold and several issues with the HVAC system that were allowing the system to draw in dirty crawl space air full of mold spores and supply this air to the home. We recommended that an HVAC contractor seal all the penetrations in the system, clean the ductwork and air handler, replace the filter with one sized appropriately for the unit and seal where the duct boots pass through the subfloor.

Following the HVAC work and installation of a sealed vapor barrier, we cleaned the entire crawl space to remove all mold, dead or alive. The homeowner no longer smells moldy odors inside the home, and is breathing easier thanks to a thorough mold remediation and properly functioning HVAC system.

How Branch Environmental can help

A complete mold remediation involves cleaning mold, not killing it, and a successful remediation relies on correcting the moisture problem that led to mold growth in the first place.

Branch Environmental is a full-service mold inspection, assessment, and remediation company. Contact us today if you would like to schedule a mold inspection, request a remediation estimate, or simply have questions regarding mold cleaning.

Mold Remediation Winterville, GA

The Mold Problem

After an annual termite inspection, one of our customers in Winterville, GA called us to inspect her crawl space for moisture and mold. Upon inspection, we found that her crawl space had excess moisture, which was sustaining the mold growing on the floor insulation, floor joists, and subfloor.

The moisture in the crawl space originated from water seeping through the foundation along the back of the house. The grade sloped toward the house rather than away from it, so rain water naturally flowed toward the base of the home. Although a partial vapor barrier was in place, it did not cover all of the dirt in the crawl space, which left a significant amount of dirt exposed. Water had accumulated both under and on top of the vapor barrier.

Before we began the remediation process, the homeowner informed us that she preferred that we not use any toxic products or products that would produce strong or offensive odors.

The Remediation Plan

The first step toward removing the mold was correcting the source of moisture. To keep the water out, the grading in the backyard needed to slope away from the house. We recommended a general contractor that regraded the yard, excavated and waterproofed the foundation and installed French drains to capture and divert any water that does make it to the foundation.

Once the client corrected the source of accumulating moisture, we determined that to remove the mold and provide long-term mold prevention, we would take the following steps:

  1. Remove the floor insulation.
  2. Soda blast all floor joists and subfloor.
  3. Coat all floor joists and subfloor with a mold inhibiting coating.
  4. Install a new vapor barrier.
  5. Fog the crawl space with a mold inhibitor.

We created a two-day timeline to carry out the mold remediation in accordance with the client’s preference for natural products.

The Removal Process

Day One

When we arrived on site, we began by removing and bagging all of the floor insulation. We then used a soda blaster to clean the floor joists and subfloor. We used soda blasting in this case because it leaves an extremely clean, stain-free surface. The blasting media, baking soda, is non-toxic, and the structure of the home allowed easy access for the blasting equipment.

We used a Buster Blaster 100 soda blaster powered by a trailer-mounted, diesel-fueled air compressor. The crawl space was 1,220 square feet, which required four 50-pound bags of soda blast media.

After blasting was completed and we removed the residual baking soda from all of the surfaces, we sprayed the floor joists and subfloor with a mold inhibiting coating. We chose the EPA-registered Foster® Full DefenseTM Fungicidal Protective Coating (40-25) because it kills residual mold and provides long-term fungicidal activity.

Foster® Full DefenseTM provides a clean, white finish on coated surfaces, which results in a brighter crawl space, with spotless surfaces that the homeowner can see clearly. We applied a total of five gallons of the product using an airless sprayer.

Day Two

We started day two by preparing the floor of the crawl space for the new vapor barrier. We removed the old vapor barrier, dug out all of the rocks and debris, raked the surface smooth, and leveled out several piles of dirt that had collected in the corners.

We then constructed the new vapor barrier over the newly smoothed dirt surface. From foundation wall to foundation wall, we installed 6-mil clear polyethylene sheeting. To keep all moisture out, we wrapped the sheeting around the base of the foundation piers, overlapped seams by at least 2 feet, and sealed the seams with spray adhesive and tape. To keep the vapor barrier in place, we inserted 6-inch galvanized spikes and washers every 5 feet along the perimeter and seams.

For the final step, we fogged the crawl space with Concrobium® Mold Control to kill any remaining airborne mold spores and to provide one more layer of protection against future mold growth.

The Results

We were able to completely eliminate the crawl space mold while meeting the homeowner’s need for non-toxic, low or no odor products:

  • The soda blast media consists of ordinary baking soda.
  • Foster® Full DefenseTM is a low odor, low VOC, water-based coating.
  • Concrobium® Mold Control is a non-toxic product that produces no odor and no VOCs.

This project resulted in a dry, bright and clean crawl space, free of mold growth and protected for years to come with a solid vapor barrier and a full fungicidal coating. Our customer was satisfied with both the results and our remediation process. Contact us today to find out how we can solve your mold problems!

Before & After: Choose the right environmental contractor

You have many options when it comes to asbestos abatement, mold remediation, lead abatement and even interior demolition. How do you know that you are making the right choice when selecting an environmental contractor?

Keep reading for tips on how to select the right contractor for your job and why Branch Environmental may be your best choice.

Find Out What Services an Environmental Contractor Offers

Some contractors only perform abatements or remediations, while others also perform inspections, assessments and general contracting. When considering a contractor for environmental work, it’s important to ask for their range of service offerings. Knowing what experience a contractor has will help you choose the right company for the job.

The contractor with the most experience will be the best equipped to handle the complications and unforeseen issues that are often encountered during abatements and remediations.

Seek a Contractor with Diverse Experience

Branch Contractors began as a general contracting company in 1995. In 2000, Branch Environmental was born to address a need in the industry for an environmental company that understood building systems and would strive to serve their customers through all aspects of a project.

At Branch, we have a thorough understanding of construction and building systems that assists us when performing inspections, abatements, and remediations. For example, knowing how a building is put together helps us to know where to look for materials containing asbestos or the moisture source that led to a mold problem.

Ensure that You’re Working With Accommodating Professionals

Another benefit of choosing Branch for your abatement or remediation is that when we remove building materials to abate asbestos or lead, remediate mold, or perform interior demolition, we do so in a manner that will allow the contractor who will handle reconstruction to pick up right where we left off. For example, we don’t haphazardly remove molded drywall. Instead, we remove it past the extent of mold growth to a point that will be easiest for the contractor to put back. We make our cuts straight and center them on studs or joists so there is no prep work to be done before new drywall can be installed.

Learn Whether a Contractor is Licensed and Insured for Environmental Work

Contractors must carry Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL) insurance to cover any damages that may occur while performing environmental work, and they must be licensed by the state of Georgia to inspect and abate asbestos and lead. The abatement license is much more specific than a business license or general contractor license, and Branch is both insured and licensed to perform asbestos and lead inspections and abatement.

Contractors performing mold inspection and remediation don’t require the same licensing, because these activities are not regulated by the state of Georgia or the federal government. For this reason, anyone can claim to be a mold inspector or remediator even if they don’t have prior experience in this area. Get a better feel for a contractor’s proficiency by asking for references to previous inspection and remediation customers.

Be Cautious Before Choosing the Environmental Contractor with the Lowest Bid

When it comes to environmental work, you definitely get what you pay for. If one contractor’s bid is significantly lower than the others, there is probably a reason. The reality is that it isn’t cheap to do it right, and the health of your family is at stake. Contact Branch Environmental if you need an inspection, abatement, or remediation for asbestos, mold or lead. We have the experience and integrity necessary to take care of all your environmental needs.

HVAC in crawl space

Customers frequently call us to come out and perform a mold inspection when they smell moldy, musty odors or feel generally unwell when in their home. In these situations, one of the first components we check is the HVAC system, especially when it’s located in the crawl space.

5 Reasons the Crawl Space is the Wrong Place for Your HVAC System

The location of your HVAC system is more important than many people think, and the crawl space may be the most unfavorable area to house your HVAC system.

  1. Access to the unit is often limited and difficult.
  2. If your air filter is located at the unit, you have to change it either by ducking into the crawl space yourself, or by hiring someone to do it for you.
  3. Crawl spaces are almost always humid, dirty, and full of stagnant air.
  4. Even the best HVAC systems are prone to leaks. HVAC systems may leak at the supply, return, or air filter cover. Leaks in the HVAC system reduce the system’s efficiency, increase heating and cooling costs and potentially introduce dirty, unfiltered air into the living space of the home.
  5. An HVAC system can add moisture to a crawl space through condensation or leaking condensate drain lines.

Is Your HVAC System Sucking in Nasty Crawl Space Air?

A leak in the supply or return lines can suck dirty air into the ducts and blow it directly into your home. On several occasions, we have performed inspections where the only real problem was that the HVAC system was sucking in unfiltered air.

We’ve discovered disconnected supply and return ducts, loose and leaking joints between sections of ductwork, holes chewed into flex ducts by rodents, rodents—dead and alive—inside ductwork, missing air filters and covers, unsealed ductwork, and more.

A particularly bad situation is one in which there is a leak in the return ducts and the air filters are located in the floor or walls inside the conditioned space. In this case, airflow is slightly restricted by the filters. Like water, air will take the path of least resistance. Unfiltered air from the crawl space will be drawn directly into the return ducts. This dirty air is then heated or cooled and blown directly back into the living space through the supply ducts.

Improperly sealed and leaking returns and supplies are more common in older homes, but newer homes are not immune to these problems.

How Branch Environmental Can Help

At Branch Environmental, we provide comprehensive packages that address the air quality inside your home, basement, and crawl space.

Call us at (706) 310-0097 today if you would like to schedule a basement assessment, crawl space inspection, or indoor air quality inspection. As part of our inspection, we will check your HVAC system for signs of leaks that could negatively impact your indoor air quality.

To learn more about factors that affect the air you breathe inside your home, check out the rest of our indoor air quality posts!

Prevent wet crawl space

If you have problems with water in your crawl space, you may be looking for ways to dry it out and avoid moisture damage. A wet crawl space will become a moldy crawl space if the problem is not addressed in a timely manner.

Odors and mold that develop inside a crawl space can make their way into the living space of the home and negatively impact indoor air quality. We’ve come up with a few ways to keep your space safe and dry.

6 Tips for Keeping Water Out of Your Crawl Space

  1. Divert water away from the foundation.
  2. Grade the soil/landscape so that it slopes away from the house.
  3. Keep gutters clear of leaves and debris.
  4. Direct downspouts away from the foundation and use a length of pipe to ensure the water is carried away.
  5. Install French drains to capture water as it soaks into the ground and carry it away from the foundation.
  6. Waterproof the exterior of foundation walls to prevent water from moving through the foundation.

The idea is to keep water out of the crawl space, but if moisture does get inside, it should be removed as quickly as possible. In crawl spaces where water cannot be stopped from entering from outside, interior French drains or a sump pump may be required to remove the water.

Call Branch Environmental today if you would like to schedule a crawl space inspection and assessment. We will inspect your wet crawl space to determine what specific steps you need to take to keep your crawl space dry and prevent unwanted odors and mold.

Efflorescence on foundation wall

Poke your head inside your basement or crawl space. Do you see a white substance on the foundation walls? About once a week we receive a call from someone claiming to have white mold on the foundation walls in their basement or crawl space.

The thing is, that white substance isn’t mold, it’s efflorescence. Keep reading to find out why efflorescence may indicate that you have, or will likely have, a mold problem in your home.

What is Efflorescence?

Efflorescence is a white, powdery substance left behind when water containing minerals evaporates. Water picks up minerals as it moves through brick, stucco, and concrete, including poured concrete and concrete blocks. These minerals are left behind on the surface once the water evaporates. Efflorescence is commonly made up of gypsum, salt, or calcite. It’s most common in environments with high humidity, like crawl spaces and basements.

Efflorescence, although unsightly, is not harmful. The minerals don’t harm the surface on which they are deposited, and efflorescence poses no specific health concerns. The bigger concern is what efflorescence represents.

Why Do I Have Efflorescence?

If you have efflorescence, it’s an indication that water is moving through your foundation, and that your basement or crawl space is humid. The water may be wicking up into the foundation from groundwater in the soil below, or by lateral movement through the foundation walls.

Both of these scenarios are problematic, and if not addressed, may cause structural issues over time. Water moving under or through your home’s foundation will eventually weaken the foundation. This can lead to settling, cracking, and more problems.

Efflorescence is an Indication of Humid Air

In order for efflorescence to develop, water must evaporate from a surface. This water vapor accumulates in the air inside your basement or crawl space, further elevating the humidity level of the already damp, stagnant air.

Humid air inside a basement or crawl space will inevitably lead to mold growth, starting with the wood floor joists, subfloor, and paper face of floor insulation. Relative humidity around 60% and above will support mold growth and lead to musty odors.

What To Do About Efflorescence

To reduce humidity in the basement, you may approach the problem with an appropriate dehumidifier in addition to proper ventilation and air conditioning, but these solutions treat the symptoms of moisture, not the cause. Because efflorescence may indicate conditions that lead to structural damage, it may be time to seek a professional assessment.

At Branch Environmental, we provide comprehensive packages that address the air quality inside your home and basement. We have you covered, from prevention to inspection to mold remediation.

Call us today at (706) 310-0097 if you would like to schedule a basement assessment, crawl space inspection, or indoor air quality inspection!

Bat removal

Bats can cause a great deal of physical and environmental damage to your home, in addition to the variety of associated health and wellness risks to you and your family. As we note in this post, it’s no secret why bat removal is the top priority when you have an infestation.

Branch Environmental is a leading provider of bat remediation services, but we rely on wildlife removal experts to handle the actual removal of bats. One reason for this is that bats have special protection by the state of Georgia given their important role in the ecosystem.

At Branch, we always want customers to be able to make informed decisions. That’s why we reached out to the bat removal specialists behind Southern Wildlife Management in Athens, GA to help you better understand bats and what’s involved in the bat removal process. Here’s what they have to say about removing bats humanely:

What should homeowners keep in mind when it comes to bat removal?

Bats are protected in the state of Georgia. Bats are also vector species, which means that they are capable of carrying rabies. Bats should never be handled by an inexperienced person.

You can have bats in your attic or your gable vents and never physically see them. They can even hide in a crack the width of a pencil.

How does the bat removal process work?

We first have to establish that there is a colony—known as either a bachelor pad or a maternity ward—living in the dwelling. If we can see them and if it’s not the maternity season, we simply remove them or install a custom one-way valve so when they leave at dusk they cannot return. Then we make a return trip to remove the valve and seal up the final exit.

How long does bat removal take?

It depends. There are a lot of factors that go into the timeline: Is it maternity season? Has there been a breach? We do the job as quickly as we can, but we are always sure to do it properly.

What’s the biggest bat removal case you’ve worked on?

Three jobs come to mind:

  1. Doing work for the University Housing building in Athens. This was not our most expensive job, but it was the most challenging because we had to use a lift and shut down a street in order to access where the bats were getting in.
  2. A multi-million dollar indoor horse riding facility in Madison, which ended up being our most expensive job yet.
  3. Our most labor intensive job was a log cabin in South Georgia. Log cabins can be quite trying, since every crack between the logs has to be sealed.

Are bat infestations seasonal or year-round?

Bats can live in our attics year-round in the state of Georgia. But the maternity season, between May 1st and August 15th, has us scurrying every year.

What makes your team the best choice for a homeowner to call?

We are the only company that we know of in the state that also has a Licensed Wildlife Rehabber. What this means to the homeowner is that we have a more intimate understanding of animals and their behavior—not just bats—so our abilities are above and beyond those of the average trapper.

To me the most important issues, and the issues I emphasize every day, are:

  • You cannot harm bats. They are a vital part of our ecosystem, and we need them.
  • We can humanely get bats out.
  • Whatever you use to clean up guano better be disposable. Never use a broom and then bring it back into the house. Never use a vacuum that you use in the house, etc. Leave the guano to experts who use HEPA filtration, respirators, and hazmat suits to remove it.
  • It is not the end of the world if you have bats. They are not trying to get inside your house. They are not trying to “get you.” Simply hire someone to safely remove them and your life will continue on.

Once the bats have been removed, Branch can proceed with remediation of the damage using our own specialized equipment and careful attention to detail. Before that, however, we advise customers to call a bat removal specialist like Southern Wildlife Management. When you’re ready for the next step, we welcome you to contact us.

freestanding dehumidifier

If you’ve checked out our last post, “How to Choose Between Freestanding and Built-In Basement Dehumidifiers,” you may have already decided to purchase a freestanding dehumidifier. But how do you choose the right one?

Answering a few key questions will have you on the right track to choosing the best freestanding dehumidifier for your specific application. Several things to look for in any basement dehumidifier include low temperature operation, automatic defrost, automatic restart, and a digital dehumidistat for humidity control.

How Large is Your Basement?

The main considerations when choosing a freestanding dehumidifier are the size and layout of your basement. The larger the basement, the more you’ll need higher water removal capacity, normally listed as pints of water removed per day. If the basement consists of multiple rooms and/or closed doors, you will need a larger capacity dehumidifier, multiple units, or possibly a built-in dehumidifier, sometimes called an inline or whole-house dehumidifier.

Generally speaking, the following guidelines will help determine the capacity you will need. A damp to wet basement up to 1,000 square feet will require a dehumidifier with the capacity to remove 25 to 35 pints per day. A damp to wet basement between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet will require a dehumidifier with the capacity to remove 40 to 50 pints per day. A damp to wet basement larger than 2,000 square feet will require a dehumidifier with the capacity to remove 60 to 70 pints per day. Larger basements or basements with multiple rooms may benefit from a built-in dehumidifier.

In addition to the guidelines above, if your basement is excessively damp or wet, has limited ventilation, high ceilings, or a large amount of contents, you may need a dehumidifier with a larger capacity.

Do You Prefer Manual or Automatic Emptying?

An important consideration when choosing a basement dehumidifier is the method used to empty the reservoir that fills with water as the air is dried. Most freestanding dehumidifiers require that the reservoir be manually emptied, and it can be a real pain in the rear to go down into your basement every day or two and empty a bucket.

Normally there is a provision to connect a hose to the dehumidifier and gravity drain the water into a floor drain or sump pump. Another option is to purchase a dehumidifier with a built-in pump that will pump the water into a sink drain or outside of the basement.

Your dehumidifier will be most effective at reducing the relative humidity in your basement if it does not shut off when the reservoir is full, requiring you to manually empty it. If the unit is not running, then it is not dehumidifying.

Other Options to Consider

Heavy duty freestanding dehumidifiers are also available. These units will cost more than the typical residential dehumidifiers found at big box home improvement stores, but they are also built to last longer, work more efficiently, and often have a higher water removal capacity. You can also choose among Energy Star dehumidifiers, which consume less electricity. Some dehumidifiers have higher quality air filters than others, so they will filter more particulate matter out of the air as an added benefit.

Whichever dehumidifier you choose for your basement, make sure to set it to maintain the relative humidity below 60%. Ideally, set it around 40-50%, so that you ensure the relative humidity stays below 60% to prevent mold growth and musty odors.

How Branch Environmental Can Help

At Branch Environmental, we provide comprehensive packages that address the air quality inside your home and basement. We have you covered from inspection to mold remediation to dehumidifier selection and installation.

Call us at (706) 310-0097 today if you would like to schedule a basement or indoor air quality inspection, or if you simply want advice on which type of dehumidifier is right for your basement.

basement dehumidifier

Once you have decided that a basement dehumidifier is right for you, how do you choose between a built-in unit, also called a whole-house or inline dehumidifier, or a freestanding unit? Keep reading to learn what you need to know to make the right choice among basement dehumidifiers.

What’s The Difference Between Freestanding and Built-In Dehumidifiers?

The following chart highlights the differences between freestanding and built-in dehumidifiers to help you make the right choice for your specific application:

Freestanding Dehumidifier Built-In Dehumidifier
Initial Cost Lower Higher
Cost to Operate Higher Lower
Moisture Removed Less More
Maintenance More Less
Portability High Not At All
Area Serviced Smaller Larger
Air Filtering Less More
Installation Homeowner HVAC Technician
Lifespan Shorter Longer

Freestanding Dehumidifiers

A freestanding dehumidifier is one that can be easily moved from room to room, typically weighs less than 75 pounds, and plugs into any normal receptacle supplying 120 volts. Freestanding dehumidifiers are normally controlled with a digital relative humidity setting or a dial that reads dry to wet. An onboard reservoir fills with water as the air is dried. The units will cut off once the reservoir is full and must be manually emptied. Freestanding dehumidifiers can be configured to gravity drain or fitted with a pump for automatic emptying of the reservoir.

Built-in Dehumidifiers

Built-in dehumidifiers are installed in line with the HVAC system utilizing the existing return and supply ducts and the air handler’s fan and condensate drain line. Built-in units are controlled with a dehumidistat, similar to the thermostat that controls HVAC systems. When the dehumidistat detects that the air in the basement has a higher relative humidity than the set point, it turns on the dehumidifier and the air handler’s fan to draw in humid air from the basement through the return ducts, dry it and pump the now dry air back out into the basement through the supply ducts.

This system will operate independently of the temperature, whereas an air conditioner only dries the air if it is cooling the air. If you are not running your air conditioner because the temperature of the air in your basement is comfortable, then the air is not being filtered or dried.

Which Type of Basement Dehumidifier Is Best For Me?

A freestanding dehumidifier is likely the best choice if you have a basement that is smaller than 1000 square feet, and it has no or few interior walls/partitions/rooms. A freestanding dehumidifier should also meet your needs if you don’t mind manually emptying the reservoir on a regular basis, and you do not want to spend more than about $500. Freestanding dehumidifiers can be purchased at most home improvement stores and are installed by simply plugging in the power cord. Units are available with higher volume capacities and higher efficiency, but those units come at a higher cost.

A built-in dehumidifier is likely the best choice if you have a basement that is larger than 1000 square feet, or if it has multiple interior walls, partitions, or rooms. It’s also the better choice if you prefer a unit that automatically drains the reservoir, you want to filter the air, you already have or are willing to install an HVAC system in the basement, and you can afford to spend approximately $2,000-$3,000.

Built-in dehumidifiers are located near the HVAC system air handler and connect to the existing ductwork, so they should be installed by a qualified HVAC technician. As we mentioned, another benefit of built-in units is that the air is filtered — not just dried — as it passes through the HVAC system’s filter.

How Branch Environmental Can Help

At Branch Environmental, we provide comprehensive packages that address the air quality inside your home and basement. We have you covered from inspection to mold remediation to dehumidifier selection and installation.

Contact us today if you would like to schedule a basement assessment, indoor air quality inspection, or simply want advice on which type of dehumidifier is right for your basement.