It’s important to keep an eye on mold growing in your basement and taking steps to remove it if necessary. Many have heard of the various health issues that can arise from exposure to mold, which ranges from mild respiratory issues and allergic reactions to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia and bleeding in the lungs. Mold growth in the basement can spread to other areas of the home, which may mean paying for costly mold remediation down the road. So addressing mold issues in an area of the house you may not think about often–your basement–can potentially protect your family’s health and home environment. Below are some measures to take to do that.
Why Is Mold Growth So Common In Basements?
Anyone with an unfinished basement knows how naturally damp these below-ground areas can be. Furthermore, thanks to an abundance of rainwater that sometimes causes flooding, an overall lack of ventilation, and installed appliances such as washing machines and dryers, which can cause humidity, a basement can be a breeding ground for unwanted mold that can grow on pipes, the floor, on furniture, in insulation, on the ceiling and in numerous other spots.
Basement water leaks from an out-of-the-way appliance such as a water heater can also be an issue and may go unnoticed for too long, allowing mold to grow at will. Adding insult to injury, since some basements rarely get cleaned, the accumulated dust and dirt provide food for mold spores, only exacerbating the problem. As you’ve learned, things such as condensation, flooding, and high humidity can all cause mold in basements to thrive. Learn more about causes of mold in the home and discover where it often grows.
What Do I Do Prior To Removing Mold In My Basement?
Prior to removing mold, track down where it is in your house, making sure to look in all the nooks and crannies such as under the carpet, inside walls, and inside heating ducts. If you need help finding mold that hides, call a professional to inspect your home. Items that aren’t affected by mold can be removed from the work area. Remember, removing mold causes spores to spread, so you don’t want to unintentionally spread mold to clean areas. Immovable items should be covered with a heavy plastic sheet, and do the same for areas of the floor that don’t contain mold.
Make sure you’re wearing protective gear before handling moldy materials or working near mold. You’ll want disposable latex or vinyl gloves, an N-95 or N-99 face mask, disposable shoe covers, and a disposable hair cover. As for clothing, buy disposable coveralls or wear pants and long sleeves that you can launder in hot water when you’re done working. If the mold removal takes more than one day–and there’s a good chance it will–make sure to wear a new set of personal protective gear every day.
What Is The Process Of Removing Mold From My Basement?
First, you’ll need to get rid of all the moldy materials that cannot be properly cleaned. Since it’s not possible to totally remove mold from porous materials found on items such as books, couches, papers, and mattresses, they must be thrown away and replaced.
But prior to carrying moldy materials all around the house, items must be tightly secured in heavy plastic sheets or enclosed in heavy plastic trash bags so as not to inadvertently spread mold to other areas of the house. After removing all the porous material, mold has to be removed from nonporous surfaces such as tile, concrete, metal, and glass. This can be done with an antifungal cleanser and a scrub brush and other mold removal products.
Removing mold from heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems is not a DIY project for the typical homeowner. If there is mold in your HVAC system, call in an experienced professional with all the proper equipment.
Who Can Help Remove Mold In Basement If It’s Too Complicated?
Don’t worry if this all sounds overwhelming. Removing mold from basements can be a huge job, and thankfully, scheduling a free consultation with a mold remediation professional is a viable option.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends seeking professional mold-removing assistance when:
- Mold in your basement covers an area greater than 10 square feet.
- There is mold in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts.
- Mold began to grow after your basement was flooded with water that may have been contaminated by something hazardous, like sewage or toxic chemicals.
You are experiencing mold-related health problems or have other health problems that might be made worse by increased exposure to mold, such as asthma or disorders of the immune system.
An experienced mold remediation professional will come to your home, inspect for mold, and provide advice on what needs to be done. It’s free and there is no obligation on your part to purchase any service.