How Do I Keep My Basement Mold Free?
When was the last time you’ve checked your basement? A few weeks ago? A few months? A few years? If you’re one of those home owners who barely check their basements, let alone acknowledge its presence and it’s need to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis, you might be surprised to know that your basement could already be harboring toxic mold unbeknownst to you.
If you think those little black or green spots on the corners or on the walls of your basement are harmless, think again because these little spots in your basement can actually cause structural damage on your property if left untreated. Worse, you might be exposing yourself and your family to potential serious health risks brought about by the fungi in your basement.
First, what is black mold and why is it dangerous?
Stachybotrys chartarum or what is more popularly known as “toxic black mold” is a type of fungus that thrives in wet and damp places where there are high levels of moisture and humidity. Black mold is said to be dangerous to humans, particularly to individuals with low immune system because it releases toxins called “mycotoxins” that can trigger allergic reactions, skin inflammation, headache, and nausea. In more advanced cases, it can pose serious health problems such as immune system suppression and even damage to internal organs or neurological breakdown .
Apart from discomfort, allergic reactions and other health risks associated with mold, the presence of black mold in your house could also be an indication that the condition of the property is suitable for other fungi to grow and cause decay. If left untreated, colonies of mold will then start to damage your structural supports, joints and other areas of your home by gradually eating away the surface. Hence, take it that the first sight of mold is an indication that your home is in need of repair and maintenance.
Mold in basement is a very common household problem and yet, a lot of homeowners still suffer from common issues like this because of lack of proper care and attention. To learn how mold growth can be prevented, it is important to first understand what is causing mold to grow on your home’s surface.
Causes of Mold Growth
High moisture is the primary cause of mold growth. Apparently, the moisture in your basement comes from the high levels of humidity inside the house, rainfall, groundwater and sometimes flooding. Since the basement is typically below ground level, water from outside your home will naturally gravitate towards the lowest area of the house making the basement more susceptible to flooding and rainwater seeping through the walls and windows thereby pooling excessive moisture in your basement.
1 Pipe Leaks
Pipe leaks often occur in the basement and there a number of factors why this can happen. For one, natural wear and tear will eventually cause the pipes to break and leak. But if that is not the case for you, it could be because of a clogged or faulty pipeline or a damaged foundation.
On the other hand, natural causes such as soil movement or hydrostatic pressure rising from groundwater can cause damage to the pipes or the actual foundation causing it to split, crack, and leak.
1 Sump Pump Failure
Nearly every home has a sump pump. A sump pump is the pump located in the basement of your home which primary role is to keep water away from your property’s foundation by draining away water that has accumulated in a water-collecting sump basin.
2 Poor Ventilation
Poor ventilation will increase the condensation process inside your house, thereby pushing humidity levels up in the room and increasing moisture build up. Moreover, if you’re not regularly cleaning your basement, dust and dirt will eventually collect and make your basement a very suitable environment for mold growth. To improve your basement’s ventilation, you can do two things. First, you can add dehumidifiers and increase air flow or do a full encapsulation which is pretty common nowadays.
A full encapsulation will completely seal off your basement to minimize moisture and regulate the air flow in the room. With this, it will reduce the risk of mold growth and makes better air quality. Although if you opt to go this route, you need to take note that install a sump pump and dehumidifier.
To prevent mold from invading your home and exposing you and your family to potential health hazards, make sure to follow these three simple household tips.
Clean your basement.
When you do your general house cleaning, make sure to include cleaning your basement. Vacuum your basement and aerate it to minimize moisture.
1 Use dehumidifiers.
Install a dehumidifier to control the humidity level in your basement. You can also opt to use a hygrometer to regularly measure the humidity in the room and make sure that it is at least below 60%. Apart from dehumidifiers, you can also control dampness by running a fan in your basement for a few hours on a regular schedule or simply opening the windows to allow fresh air to enter.
1 Fix water leaks.
Conduct regular inspections and maintenance. Ensure that your pipes are in good working condition and fix leaks immediately. Leaks are not only limited to pipes alone, your window sills could also have some gaps or damage that could be a source of moisture so be sure to check thoroughly.
The secret to keeping your basement mold free is by making sure that you keep it clean and dry all the time. However if you suspect that basement could already be infested with mold, the best that you can do is to have a reliable professional perform a in your basement.