Understanding Sick Building Syndrome

The status of your basement or crawlspace could be making you and your family sick.

The EPA says nearly 50% of indoor air comes from the lower levels of the house.  Think of how a chimney works; this same natural principle happens in our homes.  Pressure naturally pulls air up from the lower levels into the upper levels of the house. This is what they call stake effect.

When the air in the basement or crawlspace is too humid or full of chemical or biological contaminants, it can cause “sick building syndrome.”  This is when stack effect pulls the humid, contaminated air up into the living space and makes the inhabitants sick.

Some symptoms of sick building syndrome include headaches, dizziness, nausea, irritating eyes, nose and throat; a dry cough, dry or itchy skin, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and sensitivity to odors.

Too much moisture in the basement is one of the main causes of sick building syndrome.  High humidity levels, stagnant water in the basement, or moisture accumulating in ducts, humidifiers and drain pans can be a breeding ground for bacteria, molds, pollen and viruses.

Controlling the moisture in the basement or crawlspace and keeping the relative humidity level at 50% will help control the contaminants that will make it up to the upper levels of the house causing sick building syndrome.

Waterproofers and Basement Health professionals can help keep your indoor air in your home healthy and clean.