The fungus that grows in most homes is in damp and dark areas. What are basements if not damp and dark? In many regions of the country, basements are a nesting home for mold growth. And, because so many homeowners neglect the basement for most months out of the year, how would they know mold’s been growing until they step down there? Until that arduous odor hits them when they step downstairs, most homeowners aren’t aware that mold’s growing in the area. But, mold isn’t only smelly, it’s also dangerous to you (your family’s) health. Therefore, understanding some ways you can prevent mold from growing in the first place is the best measure you can advance as a homeowner.
Let’s cover a few ways you can prevent mold development and growth in your home’s basement.
Get rid of Congestion
Eliminate the clutter. Do you know how you throw a ton of items you don’t use down into the basement? This is a huge mistake! The reason is that with more clutter and blockage in the basement, air can’t flow freely throughout the space. And, we’re already dealing with darker and more humid conditions than we’re dealing with throughout the rest of the home. So, blocking airflow and obstructing passages, will only help create a safer growing place for mold and mildew to develop.
Items like clothing, books, newspapers, or shoes, are thick. These items can become damp when humidity levels increase. So, not only will mold develop in the basement, but it can penetrate your winter boots and coats that you only take out of the basement once a year. The best solution is to store as little as possible in the basement. And, if you do have to store items down there, make sure you don’t overdo it. You want as much space as possible for air to penetrate freely to push out the old, muggy, congested air, and allow clean air to penetrate the space. You may need to look into renting a rolloff dumpster. Read more.
Monitor the Ventilation
In addition to the dehumidifier, there are a few additional things you can do to help improve ventilation in the basement. You might choose to
-Install a foundation drain
-Set thermal planes up in the
-Insulate the walls and flooring
The more insulation you can add to the basement, the easier it is going to be for you to control humidity levels. And, in regions of the country which are known for high humidity levels, taking these steps will greatly help improve the quality of clean airflow in the space.
Use a Dehumidifier in the Basement
The name says it all! A high-quality dehumidifier will help reduce or pull out humidity from the room. And, they’re not only useful in basements, but you can also use them in any room of your home to help improve the air quality. Dehumidifiers work to pull out the humidity in the air, circulate fresh air, and keep high humidity levels under control. This is exactly what you want to do in the basement where moisture and humidity levels are the highest in your home.
Don’t skimp on a dehumidifier. It’s not worth buying a $20 product online and expecting it to work in the home. Make sure you invest in something that’s well-made and has enough power to help maintain low humidity levels throughout the basement. Also make sure that you choose a dehumidifier that’s intended for the size of your basement (manufacturers will include the square footage on the product, so shop according to these figures).
Know Water is Flowing Away from the Home
Many homeowners don’t think about this factor. But, if there’s pooling around your home, this can lead to leaks and water sitting around the basement. Therefore, you’ll want to
-Make sure your gutter systems are working properly
-Ensure water isn’t pooling around the sides of the home after storms
-Take appropriate steps to make sure water is flowing away from your home
If water pools around the home, it’s pretty much guaranteed that mold is going to develop on the siding and can make its way into the basement. Therefore, have your home’s gutters inspected, and if issues are present, make sure they’re taken care of as soon as possible.
Insulation is Important
The water pipes that are in the basement should be properly insulated. The cold-water pipes in your basement allow condensation to form on them. If that condensation pools, you know you’re dealing with mold and mildew growth after a few days or weeks. If, however, you insulate the cold-water pipes properly, this will help reduce condensation. When condensation is minimized or reduced, the humidity levels are also going to decrease. By reducing moisture and humidity from the basement, you’re preventing mold and bacteria from growing.
Spills or Leaks? Tend to them Immediately
If a spill or leak is persistent you need to repair it immediately. And, if there’s sitting water in the basement, from that leak, you need to dry it immediately. If you are dealing with a basement flood, read our blog on how to handle this HERE. The longer you allow water to permeate, the more damage it will do. Especially in those dark and damp conditions. Therefore, if you know there’s a leak, don’t put it off! Repair it immediately. And, if there’s standing water make sure you remove it after the repairs are completed. You might want to set up an exhaust fan in the area after repairing the leak and drying the water. Exhaust fans are powerful and will push out the musty, smelly air, allowing fresh air to penetrate the area.
You can’t check your basement every day of the year to make sure you don’t smell mold or signs of mildew. However, there are preventive measures you can take to help prevent the concern from becoming a problem in the first place. These are some of those steps and tips to consider when you’re trying to prevent mold growth and ensure your basement’s clean year-round. Consider utilizing a few of these tips when you’re performing maintenance checks around your home and make your way down to the basement.