Manage Your Moisture: How to Prevent Mold in Your Basement

Basement TV area

A recent study found that all homes have some form of mold. Regular exposure to mold and dampness can lead to several health issues. Mold is everywhere, but the last place you want it is growing in your home.

Mold’s best friends? Those would be moisture and water. Mold’s worst enemy? Well, that’d be you, my friend. Here’s how to prevent mold in your basement.

How to Prevent Mold in Your Basement? First, Control Moisture

Mold grows with moisture, so the number one way to prevent mold is to control excess moisture in your basement. Mold needs about 70% relative humidity to produce spores and be active. Relative humidity rises in the summer, so you need to take actions to prevent access moisture in your basement.

Run a dehumidifier and make sure the relative humidity is below 65%. Ideally, you should set the relative humidity range between 30% and 50%.

You should get a dehumidifier that is adequately sized for your basement. You need to remember to empty the reservoir every few days, or you can drain into a sump basin automatically. 

Insulate walls, windows and pipes

Insulate Walls, Windows, and Pipes

You should check your pipes regularly for leaks and insulate to prevent condensation. If you see any water drops on pipes, they need to be sealed immediately. You can use fiberglass, pipe sleeves, or other insulation to wrap the pipes.

You need to also insulate windows in the winter because condensation builds up when the outside cold air comes in contact with your heated indoor air. The inside air sweats condensation because it can’t hold moisture. This is why you need to have either storm windows or another coating to keep the cold air and warm air separated. 

Kill any existing mold

Kill Any Existing Mold

If you spot any mold, take action immediately with a good scrub. You can use a 50/50 solution with water and vinegar to kill existing mold. Let the vinegar solution sit on surfaces for at least 5-10 minutes to give it time to combat the mold.

Rinse and reapply to deter the mold from returning. Bleach is not as effective as vinegar because the active ingredient does no reach the roots of the mold on porous surfaces. Ammonia can actually affect your health, so stay away from those cleaners and stick to eco-friendly solutions.

Dry Wet Areas Immediately

Mold needs moisture to grow, so you need to dry wet areas immediately. If you have storm damage after heavy rainfall or drips from a leaky pipe, dry that area within 24 to 48 hours. With a flooded basement, you need to remove any wet carpet, furniture, or bedding if it can’t dry completely.

Don’t let other wet items lay around the house, including the towels you used to clean up a spill. You also need to make sure you don’t leave wet clothes in a washing machine because mold spreads quickly.

Roof downspout

Direct Water Away from Your Home

Be sure that your landscape slopes away from your home, so rain and snow don’t flow toward your house. The water will begin to pool around your foundation and increase your chances of a leaky basement. 

House plants

Keep an Eye on Indoor Plants

Plants are nice for home decor and can keep your air clean. You should keep those plants in sunny locations, and not in your basement. 

Watch the soil of your indoor plants because it’s the perfect area for mold. You can add Taheebo tea to the water you use for your plants. It hinders mold growth and can even withstand fungi in rain forests.

Improve Air Flow with Proper Ventilation

When temperatures start to fall, air holds less moisture. If air is not flowing properly throughout your home, you can get a build up of moisture on your floors, walls, or windows.

It’s important to improve this airflow to reduce dampness. You can do this by opening doors between rooms, keeping closet doors open, moving furniture away from walls, and letting some fresh air in when the weather is nice.

You could be encouraging the growth of mold with simple daily activities like taking a shower, cooking dinner, or washing clothes. All appliances that create moisture like stoves and dryers should vent to the outside. You may want to use your AC units and dehumidifiers in these areas especially when humidity levels are higher in the summer.

If you are showering, run your exhaust fan during and after your shower. You can also crack windows to let air in when you wash dishes, cook, or running laundry for extra ventilation.

Reduce clutter

Reduce Clutter

You need to keep your basement free from clutter. Too much stuff can also block air flow and decrease your ventilation.

Items like books and clothes can easily grow mildew n the basement. Be sure you have limited amounts of items stored in your basement, and keep them away for touching your floors or walls.

Use Mold-Resistant Products

If you are renovating your home or building a new one, use some mold-resistant products like drywall, Sheetrock, and paints with mold inhibitors. Traditional drywall has gypsum plaster between two plies of paper.

The mold-resistant drywall is paperless, so it is more water-resistant. You should definitely use moisture-resistant drywall in areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms that are prone to get wet.

It is hard to get rid of mold in traditional drywall, so you would most likely have to remove or replace if you get mold, which can get expensive. You may want to have a professional company, like H&N Basement Worx, waterproof your basement before you finish your basement.

Clean or Repair Roof Gutters

If your gutters are clogged or not working properly, your roof can leak, causing dampness and mold. You should have your gutters cleaned and inspected regularly.

Repair your gutters if they are damaged as soon as possible because it helps move water away from your roof and home. If you see water stains on your walls or ceiling after a storm, you may have a leak.

Clean, mold-free house

Keeping Your House Clean and Free of Mold

Now that you know how to prevent mold in your basement, follow these steps and you can breathe easy. 

Whether you are planning to sell your home, stay there for a while, or looking to purchase a new home, check out our site for additional advice. Start with these tips on how to clean your home!

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