One of the places in the house where you’ll most often find mold is the basement. This is because most basements are damp and have poor air circulation.
Causes of mold growth in the basement
- Condensation. As mentioned earlier, basements are often damp. Dampness may result from condensation. Because of poor ventilation, high humidity and the often cold temperatures in the basement produces a lot of condensation. Organic materials that become damp or wet due to condensation then develop mold.
- Flooding. One of the biggest causes of mold in the basement is flooding. Basements are prone to flooding. If the flood water is not quickly removed and dried, then the end result is mold growth.
- Leaking pipes in the basement. Leaking pipes in the basement or in nearby rooms lead to basement mold growth. Water in the ground can also find its way into the basement through cracks in the walls.
Signs of Mold in Basement
Earthy or musty smell is a strong indicator of possible mold growth. Because of limited air movement in the basement, odors build up and become very noticeable.
When looking for mold in the basement you should begin by trying to find any signs of moisture. Areas where there are signs of water damage or leaks are likely spots for mold growth.
Mold can grow on any organic materials. These include building materials such as drywall, wooden building frames, carpet, insulation, wallpaper, furniture or cardboard boxes.
Inspecting for Mold in the Basement
If you cannot find mold in the basement but because of the musty smell you suspect it is growing somewhere you can conduct air testing. You can also carry out a thorough visual inspection of the following:
- Wall cavities
- Wooden building frames
- Storage boxes
- Ducts and vents
Controlling Mold Growth in the Basement
To control basement mold you must first control moisture. Therefore, find and fix any water problems in the basement like leaking pipes, condensation or a leaking ceiling. If there’s water seeping in through the walls you can get your basement professionally waterproofed to fix it. Otherwise you can apply sealant to walls or floors to stop water getting in. Any cracks should be filled up using a water proof filler.
Keeping the humidity in the basement below 55% will significantly reduce mold growth. Humidity can be reduced by use of dehumidifiers and also improving air circulation.