03 Nov Basement Molds
Molds are fungi and are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, indoors and outdoors, year round. Molds grow best in warm, damp, dimly lit and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements, bathrooms, crawl spaces and attics. Mold is also common in other areas if there is a leak in the roof, leaky windows, leaky pipes, or seasonal flooding.
Because mold spores are very tiny and very light, they easily become airborne. Once floating around in the air, mold spores are easily inhaled by anyone in the vicinity. It’s not healthy to inhale any type of mold spores and some people are extremely sensitive or even allergic to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as headaches, fever, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, eye irritation, sore throats, wheezing, shortness of breath, skin irritation and even lung infections.
It is very common to find mold in basement since basements are often damp places. Most people may not notice mold is growing there until the problem becomes severe. Basement mold removal can be difficult, so prevention is important.
Preventing Basement Mold
- Use a dehumidifier if the basement feels damp or smells musty at all.
- Check for leaks around any basement windows and make any needed repairs as soon as possible.
- If you have a washer and dryer in the basement, make sure there are no leaky pipes or hoses and that the dryer is properly vented to the outdoors.
- If your hot water heater is in the basement and is getting old, monitor it for leaks.
- If you have a bathroom in the basement, make sure there are no leaks around the toilet or under the sink
- If you find mold growing elsewhere in the house, deal with it as soon as possible. Most kinds of mold spread quickly and easily and a mold problem that starts upstairs can soon end up causing problems in the basement, as well.
Mold in Basement Removal
Sometimes, despite the best efforts at prevention, homeowners end up with mold in their basement. Basement mold removal can either be simple or complex depending on the extent of the mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold is growing. If your basement has concrete walls and a concrete floor, mold can usually be removed with an antimicrobial cleanser and a scrub brush. If you have a finished basement and there is mold on drywall, ceiling tiles or carpet, the process becomes more complicated. It is almost always impossible to remove mold completely from porous surfaces because the microscopic mold spores get inside the microscopic pores in the materials and even when you clean the visible mold from the surface, some mold spores remain. Those types of materials must be removed and replaced with new, mold-free materials.
Before beginning the process, the work area should be sealed off with heavy sheets of plastic to prevent mold spores from spreading to other areas of the home. Materials should be sealed in plastic trash bags before they are carried out of the home. It’s important to wear safety gear, including an N-95 respirator mask, during mold in basement removal to prevent exposure to mold spores that can make you sick.