Controlling Basement Mold and Mildew in Your Commercial or Residential Properties
Mold is a specific type of fungus that lives by feeding on moisture. For the homeowner, it is not only unappealing from an aesthetic standpoint, it can also have a negative impact on an individual’s health. Because of the higher levels of moisture that can accumulate in basement areas, mold spores are provided with a perfect breeding ground. Controlling basement mold and mildew involves controlling the accumulation or build-up of moisture. However, by taking the proper precautions, you can create a mold and mildew resistant basement.
If you suspect that you have a water leak call a professional – you want to repair these as quickly as possible so that no damage results. You might want to have your plumbing and roof checked for leaks as well. The investment in this type of inspection could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. In most cases, contractors will repair foundation and wall cracks with some type of water-resistant cement.
Increase the air flow in the basement – opening basement windows and using fans to circulate the air in the basement will help to increase the amount of air flow that it is exposed to. If there is a bathroom or a laundry room in the basement, be sure to install exhaust fans to pull the moisture out of the air.
Clean up any standing water within 48 hours – bedding, carpeting, clothing, and furniture make perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew if they have been exposed to moisture for long periods of time. If you find that they have developed a mildewy or moldy smell, be sure to clean or wash everything using hot, soapy water. If the damage is too extensive, remove these items from the basement completely.
Inspect the ground surrounding your home – does it slope away from your foundation or towards it? If it slopes down towards your home, build up the soil enough so that it slopes down from the house and directs water away. This will prevent any water from collecting around the foundation and eventually seeping into the basement. You can create that slope yourself or you can hire a professional to do the job for you.
Watch humidity levels – installing a humidity meter in your basement will help you track the level of moisture in the air. Most home improvement stores carry these. Monitor the humidity level regularly and ensure that it does not exceed 60%. If you notice levels higher than that, install a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity by pulling the moisture from the air.
Clothes dryer vents must lead to the outside – never vent your clothes dryer to the inside as this will raise humidity levels within the basement. Eventually, the build up of humidity is going to result in mold growing.
Be sure the basement is properly insulated – the amount of insulation that was required for older homes was considerably less than what it is today. If you live in an older home, you should have this inspected to determine whether or not you have the proper amount of insulation required by law. This will help you prevent any moisture build-up from occurring or eliminate it completely.
Check rain gutters and downspouts for clutter – clean out any debris that you find and make sure the downspouts direct water away from your home. Consider attaching a 6’ to 10’ extension to ensure the water is directed further away from the house. Make sure that your basement has been sealed and window wells have been installed. Additionally, if you ever notice that condensation or water droplets are accumulating on the windows, wipe them dry immediately to prevent the growth of basement mold.
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