Tips For Preventing Basement Mold
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- Increase air flow. Use fans to circulate the air in your basement. Open your basement windows when the weather outside is nice. By increasing the overall air flow in your basement, you can avoid stagnant air and excess moisture. Be sure to install exhaust fans in any basement bathrooms or laundry rooms.
- Eliminate standing water from your basement. Mold growth can begin within 24 to 48 hours, so be sure to eliminate any standing water from your basement as soon as possible. Whatever you do, don’t leave standing water in your basement for longer than 48 hours. Any bedding, carpeting, clothing, or furniture can harbor mold if these items have been exposed for a long enough time. If you notice the telltale smell of mildew, wash all affected surfaces with warm soapy water and allow to dry completely. Damaged items that are beyond repair should be removed from your home.
- Be familiar with your property. Does the ground surrounding your home slope away from the foundation or towards it? Downward sloping ground can direct unwanted water toward your home’s foundation which can result in basement water seepage. You want the ground surrounding your home to slope away from, not towards, your foundation. If the ground surrounding your home is sloping in the wrong direction, don’t worry. There’s no need to start looking for another house. You can build up the soil around your home’s foundation so that it slopes away from the house, directing water away from your home’s foundation. If you don’t feel up to the job of creating this slope on your own, hire a professional to do the job for you.
- Be vigilant when it comes to indoor humidity levels. High relative humidity can lead to basement mold growth. To track the humidity levels in your home, consider installing a humidity meter. These meters allow you to track the moisture levels in the air. You can pick one up at your favorite local hardware store. You should monitor the humidity levels in your basement regularly to ensure that indoor humidity does not exceed 60%. If you consistently observe higher levels of indoor humidity, install a dehumidifier to suck the moisture from the air and reduce the humidity levels in your basement.
In addition to these important preventative measures, there are a few other things you can do to keep basement moisture levels in check and thereby avoid mold growth. Make sure that all basement clothes dryers vent outside. Never let them vent indoors. This will up your basement humidity and lead to mold growth. Another important consideration in your fight against basement mold is the amount of insulation. Is your basement properly insulated? If the answer is “No” or “I don’t know,” you should hire an inspector to determine if your basement insulation is adequate to prevent mold growth.
Finally, be sure to keep all rain gutters and downspouts clutter free. Excess debris in these already-moist areas can lead to increased mold growth. Make sure all downspouts are directing water away from your home, as water that trickles down to your home’s foundation can easily cause foundation damage leading to water intrusion and eventually basement mold growth.