Does your basement smell musty? Do your eyes water and breathing become tight when you go downstairs into the dark, moist cellar? You don’t need an air quality test to tell you that there is mold growing in your basement.

What causes basement mold? For mold to grow, it needs the right temperature, food, and moisture. Here are the top reasons why mold tends to grow in basements. They are presented in no particular order.

1) Leaky Pipes: That slow drip is feeding mold growth and releasing moisture into the air. Mold growth is even more likely when is in or around a wall cavity.

2) Poor Drainage: A functioning gutter and downspout system is necessary to move rainwater away from your home’s foundation. There should be a minimum six foot downspout extension to get the water far enough away from the house.

3) Foundation Slope: The grade or slope near your home’s foundation is important. Any water, such as rainwater, lawn sprinkler water, or even water used for car washing can accumulate near your home’s foundation and make its way into your basement.

4) Poor Ventilation:
Today’s home may actually be more vulnerable to mold growth than older homes due to higher insulation and less ventilation.

5) Warmth:
There isn’t much you can do about this cause. Most homes have their furnace and hot water heater in the basement or cellar. But those items put out heat, which can help provide one of the three elements for mold to grow.

This isn’t a complete list, but it covers the most obvious conditions that lead to mold growth.