Thursday, May 12, 2022

How To Tell If Your Basement Has Mold

Condensation And Persistent Moisture

How Do I Know If I Have Mold?

Whether there is excess moisture on your windows, or condensation dripping from your pipes, a damp home is an ideal breeding ground for mold, and can be an indicator that mold is already present in your home. The best dehumidifiers serve as a good solution to reduce excess moisture as they will set the humidity in your home to the level you indicate on the dehumidifier. They aren’t a permanent solution, however, and you should consider getting your windows swapped for double-glazed panes, or having them re-sealed by a professional.

If you’re finding moisture on pipes, a plumber can help diagnose the problem here. In some instances, putting insulation around pipes can prevent moisture build-up, and in others you can consider running warm-water pipes away from cold ones, to avoid excess moisture build-up.

Specific Health Concerns With Basement Mold Growth

Basement mold problems are significantly more likely to affect the indoor air quality, and subsequently the health of sensitive occupants, more than other areas of the home. There are a few reasons for this. As noted above, basements often have less ventilation than the rest of the home. Either the registers are closed to save money or in many cases, the hvac system simply wasnt designed to fully heat and ventilate the basement. Bathrooms in basements are also more likely to have an old or non-existent exhaust fan.

If the furnace isnt routinely exchanging the basement air, the furnace filter is less able to pull the mold spores from the air. And if bath fans are not present, humidity and pollutants will linger longer. Also, due to the stack effect , contaminated air from the basement will often infiltrate the upper portions of the home.

The potential for mold in the basement to cause health effects also depends much on the building materials used on the flooring and walls. For example, an unfinished basement with bare concrete walls and flooring, will provide far fewer food sources for the mold. However, a finished basement with insulation, sheet rock and carpeting provides dramatically more food sources.

Regardless of the source, mold testing is a great way to get quantitative data about the mold levels in the basement.

What You Need To Know About Mold From Basement Flooding

The first thing you need to check for after a flooded basement is mold and fungus growth. Not only can mold cause serious health issues for you and your entire family, but if you let it get out of control and invade your home it can be incredibly difficult to get rid of.

The best way to prevent mold is to avoid leaks, floods and humid and musty air.

Its important to educate yourself about what mold and mildew is, where it grows, why it grows and how you can prevent it from growing in your home and basement.

If you do however find mold in your home you also need to know how to get rid of it effectively, how to sanitize your home properly and protect your home from future growth.

Weve put together a comprehensive guide to help you understand mold and mildew and how you can prevent it from invading your home.

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B How Can Mold Damage A Home

Along with adverse health effects, mold can also damage your home by taking over large areas that require removal or even demolitions to eliminate. It can be expensive to remove mold and may even require that you replace personal items and furniture along the way.

Mold can break down the wood, drywall, tiles, and other materials throughout a home. The national average cost for mold removal starts at around $2,500. This cost will be much higher for larger spaces or more complex situations such as crawl space water intrusion, or water damage from a second story damaging the first floor. In that case, water restoration and mold remediation must take place for both levels of the property. Consequently, the price for restoration will go up when there is more mold present, as it must be carefully removed. Identifying mold in your home early on can eliminate the need for expensive mold remediation and repairs, which saves you both money and overall well-being.

How Do You Get The Musty Smell Out Of A Basement Concrete Floor

Growing Suspicions: Heres How to Tell If Your House Has ...

Place bowls of baking soda around the basement. The baking soda will begin to absorb the odors and should make a significant difference over the course of a few days. You can also use bowls of white vinegar or clean cat litterboth will absorb odors as well.

Most mold is unmistakable, but sometimes small or largely hidden growths just make a surface look dirty. A quick test for mold can be done when you dip a swab in diluted bleach and dab it on the wall. If the spot quickly lightens , assume its mold.

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Find Mold Before It Becomes A Major Mold Problem

Mold is dangerous. It reproduces quickly, and once mold spores get into the air, they can be difficult to remove. Knowing this makes it quite disheartening when a homeowner finds a mold problem in the home they live in.

Discovering that you have mold within your home can cause you to feel a strange gamut of emotions. You might initially feel disgusted, frustrated or you may even feel a sense of being overwhelmed. Placing your home up for sale might be the first thing that pops into your mind, but that should be a last resort. Having a mold problem does not mean that you cannot get your house back.

However, it does mean that you must take immediate action. Many people actually live in a home with mold and never realize it is there. They ignore the warning signs until the problem reaches a point where the mold is taking over and affecting their health.

If you can find mold BEFORE it becomes a major problem, the remediation process will be substantially cheaper and easier to complete. There are warning signs that can alert homeowners to a potential problem. If you notice any of these warning signs, take the necessary actions to inspect and remediate.

Using A Mold Exposure Test

A mold exposure test is often the best way for you to check for mold on your own. You can pick one up at any home improvement or home supply store.

Simply follow the instructions on the box. Usually, youll just brush the surface where you think mold may be present, and send the test strip or brush in for a laboratory analysis. If mold is present, youll be notified.

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How To Eliminate Mold

Once youve found mold, its fortunately quite easy to get rid of. Basic soap and water are suitable for eliminating most mold. In more difficult cases, you can resort to bleach.

Either way, most mold can be eliminated easily. If your home is afflicted to an unusual degree, you can always call some experts to restore your home to its former mold-free glory.

Mold Poisoning Symptoms In Humans

A FREE DIY Mold test to confirm a Moldy Basement

Mold poisoning can cause a number of different symptoms, depending on the age of the affected individual, the strength of their immune system, and whether or not they have a pre-existing mold allergy. Here are a few of the most common signs and symptoms of mold poisoning in humans.

  • A stuffy or runny nose
  • Sinus issues or infections
  • Worsening or development of asthma
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Skin itchiness, redness, or discomfort
  • Fever and shortness of breath
  • Rashes

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An Overview Of Solutions To Basement Moisture Problems

The best way to approach any building problem is to first do the things that are easy and low cost. Then proceed in a logical order doing the next least costly technique with the most positive likely result. With moisture problems, the best approach is almost always to remove or control the source of the moisture, not to try to stop it at the last line of defense.

  • First, the simplest and least costly techniques are to remove excessive internal moisture sources in the basement and ventilate other sources .

  • Second, if condensation in the summer is the problem, do not ventilate the basement directly with warm, humid air. Ventilation through an air conditioning system or with a dessicant-type heat exchanger is recommended.

  • You Feel Like You Have A Cold That Just Wont Go Away

    Symptoms of a mold reaction can be as subtle as a perpetually runny nose and sneezing fits. That cold that you just cant seem to shake could actually be a sneaky sign of a mold problem.

    Try to notice if your symptoms seem to worsen after spending time in a particular room or immediately after you finish doing laundry in the basement, for example.

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    Mold Symptoms And Health Problems

    Usually, indoor mold isnt a problem. The trouble begins, however, when mold finds a nice damp surface to take root.

    Here, mold will start to grow. As it does, it will also start to cause health problems.

    Growing mold produces allergens. Allergens are simply substances that cause allergic reactions. They can also cause various forms of physical irritation.

    You might also experience an allergic reaction to mold if you touch it or inhale it. Mold is especially problematic for people who are sensitive to it.

    These individuals might develop allergic responses to mold. They might include hay-fever like symptoms. For example, someone whos allergic to mold might show symptoms such as:

    Red eyes Sneezing

    Among people who are susceptible to mold, these kinds of reactions are common.

    Someone might exhibit a reaction to mold right away or over time. Some people can even have an asthma attack because of mold exposure.

    Ways To Determine If Your Finished Basement Has Mold

    Metropolitan Tenants Organization » Mold  FAQ

    A finished basement adds usable space to the home whether it be for recreation, a kids play area, or organized storage. It also can bring an unexpected bonus to potential homebuyers. An unfinished basement is typically easier to detect mold. Finished basements, however, present a greater challenge as mold can be hidden behind your drywall, paneling or other finished surfaces.

    Here are a few tips to determine if you have mold without ripping apart your finished basement:

  • If you have had a prior basement seepage issue, there is a good chance you might have mold. Mold requires water intrusion and organic material for it to grow on . If you are concerned about your mold levels, you might want to have a mold test.
  • Check the floors, baseboards, and finished walls of the basement for streaks, stains or patches that appear slimy and/or are colored black, green or white with orange spots. Also, look for stains with a yellowish tint. Under ideal conditions it can take between 24 to 48 hours for mold to germinate and grow. Typically, the spores begin to colonize in 3-12 days and become visible in about 18-21 days.
  • Ready to get started?

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    In On And Under The Kitchen Sink

    A lot happens in your kitchen sink. Dirty dishes pile up , food goes through the garbage disposal, wet sponges sit in the sink or in caddies and collect bacteria, and faucets run. All of these things contribute to the potential for mold growth, so check in these areas often if you want to prevent mold. Oh, and dont forget to check underneath the sink leaky pipes are a big problem for mold.

    Can You Get Sick From Mold In Your House

    Yes. Those will allergies, compromised immune systems, asthma, or other such issues are at a higher risk as even minor, non-toxic molds could cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Mold in your house is rarely life-threatening. However, prolonged exposure is far from ideal for a number of reasons.

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    Why You Should Check For Mold In Basement

    If youve never had to deal with mold before, then I can understand why you dont consider mold growth as a crisis. Well, it is, and Ill be giving you several reasons why.

    First of all, mold looks terrible, so if you allow it to grow on your basement walls, ceilings, and floors, your beautiful living space will turn ugly and unappealing.

    Keep in mind that you will have to spend hundreds or thousands of Dollars removing the mold, repainting the walls, and restoring your basement to its glorious looks.

    An early inspection can save you from these inconveniences.

    The second problem with mold growth is far more serious than bad looks. Mold has been proven to be a health hazard. They can cause all sorts of allergies on the skin and throat and can infect human lungs and make breathing problematic.

    Lastly, mold produces a terrible musty smell, which can make life uncomfortable in your basement. The smell is worse when the mold colony is full-blown.

    You can avoid all the health and aesthetic problems that mold causes simply by testing for mold in the early stages.

    Clean The Material If It Can Be Cleaned Or Pitch It If It Must Be Pitched

    Basement Mold Check and Assessment

    This process differs for various materials . Hereâs a breakdown:

    Drywall

    If it is minimally affected and the water source is cut off, a small amount of soap and water may be able to clean the basement mold for good. But if mold is growing behind the wall or the drywall itself is significantly warped, it will probably have to be replaced.

    wood

    Finished wood is the most likely to survive a mold infestation because mold cannot get through it. A small amount of soap and water can do the trick here as well. Unfinished wood is another story and will likely need to be replaced. This can be pricey if it is from your wood framing, but it will end up causing even pricier damage if left alone.

    Fabric

    Run all of the fabrics affected by your basement mold through a cycle in your washing machine. Hopefully any furniture with fabric in your basement has a removable cover so you can easily toss them into the wash as well.

    Be sure to thoroughly clean your washing machine after these cycles to avoid passing mold spores along to other fabrics. If you cannot run fabric through the wash, like for example on upholstered couches and chairs, try to get them professionally cleaned. Otherwise, you may be out of luck and need to purchase new furniture.

    Carpet

    Try bringing in professional cleaners to deep clean the carpeting as it can harbor mold for very long periods of time. In many cases, mold infested carpeting cannot be saved.

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    How To Get Rid Of Mold In Basement Easily: Easy 7

    Remove all the severely damaged areas, then use a cleaning agent to kill the fungus. This method is how to get rid of mold in basement settings.

    Mold can be a pain it looks ugly, smells terrible, and can even be harmful to your health! You need to remove every trace of it once you have an infestation.

    Clean Up Safely After A Flood

    Flood water may contain bacteria, petroleum and chemicals. Mold can grow in a flooded home that is not properly cleaned and dried out.

    Learn how to safely clean your home after a flood:

    Mold , mushrooms, and yeast are all types of fungi. Fungi are found both indoors and outdoors. Hundreds of different kinds of mold are commonly found in the United States and New York City.

    Exposure to mold can cause or worsen asthma symptoms and allergies, such as hay fever. People who are allergic or sensitive to mold may experience congestion, runny nose, coughing and trouble breathing.

    Some people are at risk for more severe reactions to mold, such as fever and shortness of breath. This includes people who are exposed to large amounts of mold at work such as, agricultural workers and building demolition workers. People who have had or are undergoing certain medical procedures, such as bone marrow or organ transplants and chemotherapy, are also at risk. Health symptoms usually disappear after the mold has been removed.

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    Addressing Moisture And Mould In Your Home

    Health Canada considers indoor mould growth to be a significant health hazard. The word mould is a common term referring to fungi that can grow on building materials in homes or other buildings. Damp conditions and mould growth in homes increases the risk of respiratory allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma in mold-sensitive individuals. It is important to know how to identify, address and prevent moisture and mould in your home.

    People living in homes with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:

    • eye, nose and throat irritation
    • coughing and phlegm build-up
    • wheezing and shortness of breath
    • worsening of asthma symptoms

    The level of concern depends on the extent of mould, how long it has been present and the sensitivity and overall health of the residents. Some people are more susceptible than others. For example, infants, children, the elderly and those with health problems such as breathing difficulties are more at risk from mould and dampness.

    Any respiratory health concerns should be discussed with a physician if you suspect that these could be caused by poor indoor air quality. Your physician is best suited to determine if your symptoms may be related to environmental factors or some other underlying cause.

    Health Canada recommends controlling dampness indoors and cleaning up any mould regardless of the type of mould presentFootnote 1.

    Mold Prevention And Removal

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    The best way to prevent mold is to remove water and moisture sources. Fix leaks, dry damp areas and remove humidity from the air to help stop mold growth and keep it from coming back.

    To remove mold:

  • Seal off moldy areas using a plastic sheet and duct tape until cleaned. Keep children and pets away.
  • Use water and soap to clean small areas of mold on walls or other hard surfaces when you see it. Wear waterproof gloves while cleaning.
  • Dry the cleaned area completely.
  • Clean any visible dust from work areas. Use wet mops or HEPA vacuums.
  • Throw away all cleaning-related waste in heavy-duty plastic bags and seal securely.
  • If the mold returns quickly or spreads, there may be an underlying problem, such as a water leak. Report repeated mold problems to your landlord.

    If large areas of mold are present, you may need outside help such as a professional mold abatement company. Be sure your contractor is licensed and follows NYS Labor Law requirements.

    To report a large amount of mold in an apartment if you are a tenant, or if the mold is in a non-residential location, submit a complaint online or call 311.

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