One of the most common problems with basements is mold, especially in dark, damp basements. Mold is a fast growing fungus that thrives in humid conditions. Once it has established itself in your basement, mold is extremely difficult to get rid of. Mold can spread from your basement to other areas of your home, including the air ducts, which can lead to health problems, such as allergies, congestion, and asthma. Whether you have already had mold testing or it's something you're planning to have done in the near future, it is common for homeowners to have questions about basement mold. So, here are the answers to four commonly asked questions about mold in the basement.
What Causes Mold in the Basement?
Basements have several sources of moisture; and since most basements don't get sunlight and have little ventilation, it takes a long time for them to dry out. Unfortunately, once mold has begun to grow in the basement, it may go unnoticed for a long time. Some of the most common causes of mold in the basement include:
- Groundwater seepage
- Damaged gutters
- Damaged or poorly designed window wells
- Cracks in the foundation
- An insufficient subsurface drainage system
- Humidity from internal sources, such as frequent cooking or humidifiers
What are the Signs of Mold in the Basement?
One of the first and most obvious signs there is mold present is the smell, so you shouldn't ignore a musty odor in the basement because it generally means you have a problem with mold in the basement. Other signs may include:
- Peeling drywall
- Difficulty breathing while in the basement and it isn't caused by dust
- Basement floods, which is one of the most common causes of mold, so if the basement frequently floods, there's a good chance you have a mold problem as a result.
Where Does Mold Grow in the Basement?
Some of the most common places where you may find mold in your basement include:
- The walls, especially along the bottom near the floor or in cavities
- Ceiling and floor
- Vents and ducts
- Storage boxes
- Furniture and clothing
- Wooden framing
How Can You Prevent Mold in the Basement?
In order to prevent basement mold, you must minimize the moisture. You must find and repair any type of water problem in the basement, such as condensation, leaking pipes, or cracks in the foundation.
The first places to begin looking for mold are in areas where there are noticeable leaks or signs of moisture and water damage. If you smell an odor and suspect mold is growing somewhere in the basement, but you can't find it, you should contact a mold remediation professional to do an inspection and mold testing. The best way to ensure all mold has been removed and that repairs have been done to prevent re-occurring mold is to contact a mold testing specialist.