Basements are highly susceptible to excess moisture, leaks, and flooding and that means a greater possibility of mold. All it takes is oxygen, moisture, and organic material for mold to grow, so it’s no surprise that basements are a perfect breeding ground. Causes of mold can come from the inside or outside of your home. It’s important to be aware of these common causes and take proper steps to prevent mold and other water damage.
Outdoor Causes of Mold
- Mold thrives when moisture is present.Outside influences that allow water to enter the basement can create the perfect breeding ground for mold growth. Measures must be taken to prevent water from entering the home.
- To avoid risk, the slope of your yard should direct water away from your house so it doesn’t get inside walls or damaging your foundation. Do a perimeter walk and take notice of any areas where you notice water pooling.
- Any signs of water buildup around the exterior of the home should be addressed immediately. If you notice pools of water, then you may have a drainage issue. Most of these problems can be solved with clever landscaping solutions like the use of downspouts, heavier mulch, creating a rain garden, or digging out a small indention, or swale, to divert water. More serious landscape issues may require you to regrade your lawn.
- If mulch is used in flower beds and other parts of the home, be sure to keep a barrier of at least 6 inches between house walls and the landscaping.
- Every spring and fall gutters need to be cleared and repaired. Holes and blockages can cause water to dump directly near your home and foundation. Water needs to be diverted at least 4-5 feet away. A downspout extender or splash block can be added if needed.
- Window wells need to be inspected regularly. If they become filled with water, then water may leak into your space.
- If flooding does occur, time is everything. Water must be dried up as quickly as possible. Some flooding may be manageable on your own, but most flood cleanups will require a water restoration professional. They will have the tools and training to properly clear and clean the area and ensure you are mold free.
Indoor Causes of Mold
- Humidity is the number one cause of indoor mold. Levels of humidity should not be above 50-60 percent. Your basement needs regular monitoring to ensure levels are not too high. Air ventilators may help to improve overall air flow and keep humidity low. If possible, windows should be opened often, and time should be taken to air out closets and confined spaces every so often. If humidity levels still rise, you may have to use a humidifier to help regulate.
- Plants should not be in the basement.Their leaves and soil provide a perfect source of food for mold.
- Mold loves to feed on organic materials like paper, fabric, and wood. Remove items from the basement including clothes, old papers, scrap wood, books, cardboard, etc. that could easily become mold’s next food source. Eliminating clutter also allows for better air flow and less of a food source for mold. If you do store materials, be sure they are placed away from walls and completely dry.
- Take care of any leaks or spills immediately. Even small leaks can turn into big problems. Burst or leaky pipes, broken supply hoses, or a leaking water tank or heater are often the culprits. Pipes, appliances, and hoses should be inspected and maintained on a regular basis to avoid water damage.
- Reduce the use of things that may add humidity. Avoid drying wet clothes in the basement. When using appliances like dryers, heaters, stoves, and air conditioners, be sure they exhaust to the outside and are free of any obstructions. Avoid carpets and wood flooring in the basement.
- Water pipes should be insulated to avoid condensation when temperatures get cold. It will also help reduce humidity levels.
Once mold is present it can be difficult to eliminate. The risks of water damage in your basement are high, so it is crucial that steps are carefully followed to prevent it. If you do find mold in your basement or are dealing with leaks or flooding issues, you will want to take action quickly. Mold can begin forming in as little as 24 hours under the right conditions. Calling in the professionals will be the best way to eliminate the problem for good. At Pro Response Restoration we are here to take your call 24/7 and answer any questions you may have. Our IICRC certified team are highly trained and ready to tackle your water damage problems with care and skill. Give us a call today 469-909-8932.
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