Basement mold or mildew is a common problem in homes. If you basement smells moldy or musty and you can see visible mold growth, it’s possible that you could have a mold infestation that can effect the health of your family.
Even if you can’t see it, mold could be hiding behind finished walls, ceilings or flooring. Air conditioning and heating ducts can also hide mold. Other common areas for mold to grow are near leaking pipes or pipes that are continually damp with condensation, leaking basement cracks, ties or other deficiencies or faulty weeping tile around the foundation.
Controlling dampness is the most effective way to prevent mold growth in your home. Mold growth cannot begin without water. That’s why it’s important to keep your home clean and dry. Once there is water or moisture present, the conventional construction materials used in basements provide a great source of nutrition for all types of mold.
Here are some tips to prevent mold from growing in your basement:
1. Make sure the ground outside your home slopes away, so that water is directed away from the house instead of collecting near the basement.
2. Make sure other sources of water are not deposited near the basement. This includes water from downspouts and outdoor sprinkler sprays that could hit the outside basement walls and windows. Make sure windows are caulked and if necessary have a window well professionally installed.
3. Keep the basement free of water. Clean up any spills right away, and dry out any wet building materials within 24 hours.
4. Don’t use carpeting in the basement or in any bathrooms (even your upstairs bathrooms).
5. Condensation on your basement pipes or windows are a danger sign of high humidity. Wrap cold surfaces (such as basement water pipes) with insulation to prevent condensation.
6. Keep your basement humidity below 60 percent. If necessary, run a dehumidifier in your basement. You won’t likely have to run it all year round, just during the summer months.
7. Make sure your clothes dryer vents to the outside of your home.
8. Install an exhaust fan to pull moist air out of the bathroom (in the basement or upstairs) while running the shower. After finishing, allow the exhaust fan to run another 20 minutes.
9. Keep your basement well ventilated. Fans can be used to keep the air moving.
10. If necessary, increase the temperature of your basement. Warmer air can hold more moisture without causing condensation on cold surfaces.
11. Make sure any cracks, drainage problems or other deficiencies and potentials for water infiltration are professionally repaired.
If you suspect mold, consider having a professional company that deals with mold available if you’re looking for mold in the basement, as when looking even pulling away drywall or pulling up carpeting or flooring could release mold spores into the air.