Mold grows in basements because of the presence of moisture, warmth, and source of food for nourishment. This creates a perfect environment that accelerates their growth in damp conditions. Your basement can probably be a breeding ground for mold if it has a musty odor or feels damp. Since mold spores are invisible to the eye, allergic individuals may experience mold symptoms such as itchy and watery eyes, stuffy or runny noses, and wheezing. It is important to take the necessary steps that will minimize the spread of molds in your basement walls and floor surfaces.
Here are 3 tips you can use to prevent mold from growing in your basement:
Avoid Overloading Your Basement
Moisture and organic food source are some of the essential components molds need to grow. Lowering the humidity levels and cutting down their food source helps solve the mold problem in your basement. The old things you keep in your basement such as carpets, books, clothes, and cardboard boxes are a better food source for molds. The confined, dark spaces behind this garbage could be harboring moisture, leading to mold growth. Avoid overstuffing your basement by eliminating everything you do not need. It is important to allow free circulation of air in your basement and the only way you can do this is to leave most spaces open.
If you must use your basement for storage, then you should ensure everything inside is properly dried and kept away from the walls. If your basement was flooded or experienced significant leaks, then you should take out everything exposed to the water and allow it to dry thoroughly prior to putting it back. Before you store any new items in the basement, make sure they are clean and dry. Think of the extra clothes, sleeping bags, tents and other items you throw in the back of the room and keep forgetting until the need for use arises. All these can be major causes of mold growth if they are not taken care of in a proper way.
Although plants are beneficial to a home, the last place you should consider placing them is in the basement. This only makes the room cozier since plants are one of the perfect sources of food for molds. You can choose to eliminate them completely or limit the number of plants you place inside your basement. If you must keep the plants in your basement as part of your home décor, then it is important to ensure that they are free from molds.
Insulate your Walls, Windows, and Pipes
It is necessary to control water and moisture on fixtures, fittings and building materials in the basement. Inspect every pipe for any signs of leaks and insulate them properly to prevent condensation that occurs as a result of differences in temperatures between the pipe and in the air. It will be a good idea to ensure that all pipes are changed and properly sealed if you happen to notice water leaks around them. Wrap these pipes using fiberglass, pipe sleeves and other insulation materials.
You can also cover any windows that are available in the basement to prevent condensation during winter. The dew point is considered one of the biggest causes of indoor mold and mostly occurs in basements. Condensation or dew point is usually caused by ineffective insulation on malfunctioning sump pipes, or behind walls. Other causes include inadequate under padding for floors and carpets, and corrosion of water tanks.
Installing dehumidifiers or turning on air ventilators could help in the process. Avoid drying your clothes in the basement, as they increase the level of humidity and dampens the basement. The best way to prevent mold is to allow your clothes to dry outside in the sunshine or windy weather.
Make Outside Ground Slope Away from the House
Outdoor moisture is another cause of mold in the basement since floods and rains are a direct source of water. Checking for the access part of flood or the flow path of rainwater can give you the best clue as to why you are having molds inside your basement. Start with the place where rainwater flows after falling on your roof. Rainwater could be getting into your basement if the ground that surrounds your home is higher or on the same level as your house.
A contractor can help you heap soil onto the ground or make the outside ground slope away from your home. The rains can also be a problem even before they touch the ground. Check your window wells for signs of potential build-up issues or insulation problems. In addition, don’t forget to clean the gutter as it allows for proper flow of rainwater from the roof. If the grading is not optimal, make sure that all dropouts extend far away from the house. This allows rainwater to flow away from your home and not into the house.
Although it might be difficult to prevent floodwater from getting into your basement, it is important to take quick action the moment it happens to prevent the growth of molds. If there were floods in your basement, take out everything out to dry in fresh air. This includes all appliances, furniture, and carpets. Open all the windows to your basement if you have them to allow in free circulation of air. You can also speed up the drying process using dehumidifiers which suck all moisture from the walls.
If you want to prevent mold from growing in your basement, it is important to understand what causes its growth and how you can deal with the situation. Since water and moisture are the major factors that lead to mold growth, it is important to cut off all of its sources to reduce the level of humidity in your basement. Both indoor and outdoor moisture can cause mold to grow inside your home. The best way to keep your home safe is to address these issues as soon as possible to free your basement from molds.