Basement mold is a common problem in homes. If you basement smells moldy or 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 cannot see it, mold may be hidden behind drywall, behind paneling or wallpaper, on the top side of ceiling tiles, or beneath carpeting and padding. Air conditioning and heating ducts can also hide mold. Other common areas for mold to grow is around leaking pipes or pipes that are continually damp with condensation.
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.
3. Keep the basement free of water. Clean up spills as quickly as possible, and dry out any wet building materials within 24 hours.
4. Do not 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.
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.
Consider having an experienced mold remediation professional present when investigating for mold in the basement. Even the act of searching for mold, such as when pulling down sheet rock or pulling up carpet, can release a large amount of hazardous mold spores.