A basement conversion project is a great opportunity to improve your living space, particularly in terms of the quality of air inside. Most people look for a basement lighting scheme that will enhance the available natural light, but it’s surprising how few take the next logical step and look at how to enhance the natural available air.
The air we breathe inside our houses can be polluted with all manner of toxins. Furniture finishes, dry cleaning, paints, cleaning sprays, mould, dust, pet dander and mites can all be present. In London, opening a window doesn’t so much bring in fresh air as allow exhaust gases and particulates to flood the living space.
Climate control can allow more design freedom
So converting a basement in London is a good opportunity to live in a cleaner environment. It’s also a relatively cheap extra that can make a huge difference to enjoying the time in your new space. A conversion project means you can design in clean air and climate control, from the start. In fact, if you decide to control the temperature of the air, you may gain more freedom in designing the basement. Designs with lots of glass, which maximise light, can make it difficult to control the temperature inside the space because in summer the glass can intensify high temperatures. With climate control, you have more flexibility about the amount of glass you use.
Ventilation and air conditioning systems use temperature and humidity control, provided by inlets and outlets. But to get a clean air zone, you’ll need to filter the air that is coming into the basement. More sophisticated systems have sensors that can detect unwelcome dusts, gases, allergens or particulates.
Smart air monitoring
There are also now standalone smart monitors that measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fine particulate matter (PMs), carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature and humidity. These can be integrated into an automated home control system. They check the air every five minutes and then send the information to the place you’ve specified.
The good thing about this is that when you see the carbon dioxide level going up, you know more fresh air is needed, and you can do something about it before you’re feeling sluggish and headachy a couple of hours later. Or you can simply automate the entire thing.
There are also “fit and forget” technologies that may be worth looking at, such as Positive Input Ventilation, which costs very little to run. This introduces filtered, fresh air which disperses humidity. There are a million of this type of system in use in homes today, so they have proved their worth.