Mold is commonly found in basements because water leaks and moisture so often occur there. But we rarely check our basements for mold. Why? Because we tend to use them as giant storage facilities or laundry facilities. Otherwise, we ignore them.
It’s important to inspect to check for mold in your basement. Yes, even though you don’t go there often, mold in a basement can affect your breathing and air quality even in upstairs rooms and floors.
Let’s look at the 4 primary suspects for mold in basements, which can also cause tremendous water damage if not properly dealt with.
Mold in Basement: Here’s Where to Look
Let’s begin with the pipes that pass through the basement ceiling (from the floor above). Inspect each pipe carefully for old leaks.
Also, inspect the materials around the pipes. Look for discolored wood or stains. Unusual discoloration of the wood indicates a water leak that needs to be fixed before any mold remediation can begin. But at least you might have found the source of the mold.
2. Sump Pumps
The presence of a sump pump area isn’t proof of moisture problems. However, many sump pumps are seated in wet wells (a basic hole with water in it), which increases the chance of mold-causing moisture.
If the hole is dry when you see it, and it’s intended to deal with basement flooding from an occasional disaster, you might not have a big problem. But it does show that there was a previous water problem that needed to be dealt with. If you’re purchasing a home with a sump pump, ask when water last got into the basement or overwhelmed the sump pump.
3. Ceilings & Beams
A basement ceiling in an unfinished basement is open to your inspection. Take advantage of it to inspect the floor joists that support the house and the floor above the basement.
Examine each joist’s full length and width. Look for discoloration of the wood. This will indicate a water leak at some point in its history. If wet to the touch, you have a problem that needs to be handled quickly.
It’s common for an isolated wood beam to have some visible mold growth even when the beam next to it seems perfectly fine. So make sure you’re thorough in examing all areas and parts of the ceiling, from joists to framing.
4. Floors & Gutters
Make sure to look closely at the entire floor, every square inch if possible. While moisture, like mold, can spread, it can also hide.
Thankfully, moisture can be easily seen in cinderblock and concrete floors. If the floor has water stains, or if the walls are damp, you will need to call in a professional to determine the cause.
Most basement leaks come from groundwater that seeps in from outside. If you see such a leak on the wall, note where it is. Then head outside to examine the exterior. About 75 percent of the time, you’ll discover a gutter nearby. Drainage problems with gutters need to be fixed immediately. Check the ground too; it’s common to find ground that is pooled with water because it doesn’t slope away from the home properly.
What To Do About Mold in Basement?
I’ll cut straight to the point: hire 2 professionals. Why two? Because you’re going to need an expert plumber to determine and fix the original problem, which could likely be your plumbing.
That plumber should also have resources to help you mitigate the moisture problem. That means, someone needs to professional clear out the moisture with industrial-strength equipment and remove the mold safely so it does no more harm.
An unfinished basement is nothing more than a big hole that collects water. Okay, it’s more than that, but you get my point. Water flows downhill, so you’re basement is ripe for flooding, water damage, and mold growth.
The best way to keep mold from growing in your home is to inspect — every square inch, once every 6 months — your unfinished basement’s (1) pipes and plumbing, (2) sump pumps, (3) ceilings and beams, and (4) floors and gutters.
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1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.