Basement Mould Prevention Tips for Your Home
Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in moist and humid conditions. They can grow in any place that offers them sufficient oxygen, organic feeding material, and moisture. Your basement can be a safe habitat for them because it provides them everything they need in abundance. Even if your basement appears dry, there can be mold growth in carpets, underneath the furniture, or behind the walls.
Basement mould prevention is extremely important because some of the mould species are extremely toxic in nature and may pose serious health concerns for the occupants. The presence of mould is considered to be responsible for numerous health conditions including infections, asthma, cough, congestion, rashes, and allergies.
How to Detect Mould in the Basement?
The best way to detect the presence of mould is by sniffing around for a musty odour. Visual signs are not the best indicators of mould infestations because they prefer growing in areas that are seldom visited by people. As a thumb rule, however, visible black spots on the wall indicate severe mould growth. In fact, just one black spot can very easily be millions of spores.
Common Causes of Basement Mould:
As mentioned briefly earlier, excess moisture is the primary factor leading to basement mould. However, in order to deal with this problem, it is important to get to the root of the problem. The moisture responsible for mould growth may come from both inside or outside the basement.
There are two major water sources for the basement.
- External sources such as floods, groundwater, and rain.
- Internal sources such as high humidity level and human activities such as cooking, drying clothes, etc.
Because of their structural pattern, basements are prone to water seepage from the window wells and foundation walls. Also, being the lowest part of the building, any water present throughout the building structure tends to settle in the basement due to gravity.
Flood and rain are two of the most significant causes of water in the basement. Without proper downspouts, gutters, and grading, rainwater can flow into your basement very easily. During a flood, the basement gets flooded immediately and it remains waterlogged even after the flood has receded.
There can be many different causes of internal moisture such as ineffective insulation and excess steam created by activities such as showering, cooking, and even breathing.
Now that we have discussed the causes in detail, it is time to take the necessary measures to prevent the growth of basement mould.
Elimination of External Causes of Basement Mould:
To start with, you must have adequate information and knowledge related to rain and flood in your area because these are direct water sources for your basement. You can gather enough information by following the flood’s access path and the path of rainwater flow.
Carefully notice the direction of the rainwater after it falls on the roof. If the level of the building is same or lower compared to the surrounding ground, rainwater will travel unrestricted into the basement. In such instances, get in touch with your contractor and make sure that the slope of the ground outside your home directs away from the building.
The windows can also cause problems during rain. Inspect all windows and check if there are any signs of potential build-up issues or insulation problems. Moreover, it is also important to ensure proper water flow by cleaning the gutters regularly. In case of non-optimal grading, all your downspouts must be extended far away from the building.
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to restrict floodwater from entering the basement. However, mould growth can be prevented by taking prompt action. After a basement gets flooded, all appliances, furniture, carpets, etc must be taken out and allowed to dry in fresh air. All basement windows must be opened for drying up the walls. Specialised machines can be used to speed up this process by absorbing moisture from the walls.
Elimination of Internal Causes of Basement Mould:
- Monitoring Humidity: Mould growth can be prevented most effectively by eliminating the supply of moisture. It is important to keep an eye on the basement’s humidity level. Within the basement, humidity is caused mostly by improper air flow. Therefore, addition of air ventilators is a must for all basements. Also, grow the habit of opening the basement windows regularly. In case the humidity starts to fall, try to keep the windows open for as long as possible. Dehumidifiers can be an excellent addition, particularly for areas with a highly humid climate.
- Insulation of the windows, basement pipes, and walls: Examine all the pipes carefully and insulate them so that there is no condensation because of temperature difference between the air and pipe. If you ever notice water droplets on the pipe surfaces, replace them and have them properly sealed. During the winter season, condensation can be prevented by wrapping the pipes with fiberglass, pipe sleeves, and other insulating materials.
- Avoid Basement Overload: Things that we generally store in the basement are excellent food sources for mould. This includes books, clothes, carpets and even the cardboard storage boxes. Therefore, avoid stuffing the basement with these materials.
- Change Your Habits: If required, be prepared to change certain habits such as drying clothes or keeping plants inside the basement. Both these activities are seriously responsible for increasing the humidity within your basement.
Be it mould infestation or any other sub-floor ventilation related problem, ExtractAir can eradicate all such issues to help maximise the life of your home, improve its air quality, and reduce maintenance costs. Please contact us today to discuss your needs.