Learn some tips on how to identify mold growth in basement from a local expert
Mold is a type of fungi that exists everywhere in small amounts. It is present in the air, in dust, indoors, outdoors, and on many surfaces. Mold spores can enter your basement through vents and windows. They just need a little moisture to grow. Here is how you can identify mold growth in basement.
Signs Of Mold Growth
The warning signs that indicate the presence of mold growth in your home include:
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), mold is one of the most common indoor triggers for asthma. Airborne irritants including mold spores and mVOCs can exacerbate symptoms of asthma and allergy. The followings symptoms may worsen in areas with mold growth:
- Nasal congestion or sneezing
- Shortness of breath
- Watery, red, and itchy eyes
- Scaly and dry skin
Unexplained Fatigue And Headaches
- Mold growth in basement increases the risk of toxins exposure. Mold toxins such as mycotoxins contribute to the development of sick building syndrome. Poor air quality in enclosed spaces leads to a health condition known as sick building syndrome (SBS).
SBS is associated with a variety of nonspecific symptoms but the general symptoms include headaches and fatigue. The symptoms are triggered a few hours after entering the area affected by mold growth. The symptoms usually improve within a few minutes after leaving the building.
Recent Moisture Issues
- Mold spores are inactive and harmless in the air. Since mold spores require a wet environment to germinate, they remain inactive in the absence of moisture. The risk of germination doubles with water leaks, flooding, or other moisture-related issues in the basement. So if you recently had a water leak, it is advisable to call in a professional for a thorough basement inspection.
Strange Musty Odors
- One of the common signs of mold growth in basement is the presence of a musty, stale odor in the home. Mold releases microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) and pungent chemicals including aldehydes, benzenes, carboxylic acids, and terpenes. The mVOCs and pungent chemicals mix to give off an unpleasant odor that intensifies over time.
Staining On Walls Or Ceilings
- Dark stains or patches on walls and ceilings of the basement are other important indicators of mold growth in basement. The discoloration can be in different shades and colors, however black and brown are the most common colors. Mold can also grow on walls in patches of green, grey, white, blue, and yellow.
A close inspection of the stain’s texture can confirm the presence of mold. Mold can be easily smeared. It is slimy, soft, and fuzzy to the touch. Dabbing mold with a few drops of diluted bleach is a quick method for determining mold growth in basement. If the bleached stain lightens, it is mold. In contrast, a stain that remains dark is likely due to dirt.
- If you have wallpapers in your home that seem to be bubbling or peeling moisture and mold may be growing underneath them. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity occur especially during the hot months. These changes result in the formation of condensation on the backside of wallpapers. The wallpapers become loose because of the trapped moisture.
This gives mold a perfect opportunity to grow and spread. Sometimes, peeling is also caused by other factors such as improper application. But if it occurs in combination with other signs of mold growth, it is better to hire professionals for an inspection.
Causes Of Mold Growth
Understanding the factors that lead to mold growth in basement can help prevent its occurrence. Here is why mold grows in the basement:
- Heavy rainfall or melting snow can oversaturate the ground around your home. This causes your basement to become wet. In addition, cracks in the foundation can allow water to enter your basement. Mold begins to grow in the wet basement and the spaces between the walls.
Most of the time mold remains hidden behind the wall. Hiring a professional for basement inspection helps you identify the hidden mold. Professionals drill a hole in the wall and perform tests to determine if the mold is growing behind your drywall.
- Plumbing fixtures that are located in the basement can also cause trouble. Clogged drains and water leakage can cause the water to overflow into different areas of the basement. Thus providing an ideal environment for mold to germinate and grow.
In addition, stagnant water on the floor can make a basement’s environment damp and humid which further exacerbates mold growth.
- Most often, the HVAC ducts run through basement walls. They provide an ideal environment for mold to thrive. Keep an eye on the dripping pan, if it is left uncleaned for long it can provide a breeding place for basement mold.
In addition, condensation on the inside and outside of HVAC ducts can accelerate mold growth. The problems get worse if the basement lacks proper ventilation.
- Basements usually lack proper ventilation. The poor air circulation and humid environment make the basements an ideal place for mold to grow. Stale odor, discolored floor, and stains on walls and ceilings are some of the early signs of mold growth in basement. Installation of proper ventilation systems is crucial as it helps get rid of moisture and in turn mold growth in basement.
Treating Mold Growth
Here are some ways through which professionals get rid of mold growth.
Waterproofing The Basement
- There is no point in treating mold if you are not going to seal the entry points of water. It is best to hire professional help for this purpose. Professionals use specialized equipment to get rid of mold and waterproof the basement. When damp areas that promote mold growth are dried out, the chances of future mold growth are reduced.
The process used for drying out water depends on the location of the leakage. Once the source of water is found, necessary measures are taken to waterproof the basement.
Drying Out The Affected Area
- Porous materials such as mattresses, cushions, etc. that may have absorbed mold are disposed of. Industrial fans and dehumidifiers are then used to dry out the affected area.
Mold Clean Up
- The affected area is isolated using plastic sheets. This step is useful in preventing the spread of mold spores. An assortment of cleaning methods is used depending on the surfaces involved. Doors and windows in the basement are opened to allow free air circulation.
Waterproof your basement to prevent mold growth and other moisture-related issues. Book an appointment with Crack X. We make sure your basement is waterproofed and in optimum condition before you start your finishing project. Call us at 877-727-2259. Crack X is a civil structures repair company located in Maine and New Hampshire.