Here is how if you have a Wet Basement? Prevent a mold outbreak.
If you have a damp basement, you’re not alone. The American Society of Home Inspectors estimates 60 percent of U.S. homes have wet basements and 38 percent run the risk of basement mold.
First lets talk about where the water comes from.
- Surface water running down foundation walls
- Are the gutters overflowing because they are blocked with leaves? Keeping gutters clean of debris should be a part of every homeowner’s routine maintenance program. Depending on the surrounding trees, gutter cleaning may be required a few times a year. Products are available to prevent leaves from getting into the gutters.
- Groundwater in water-saturated soils that’s pushed into the basement by hydrostatic pressure
- Usually the installation of an interior perimeter basement drain system (French Drain) connected to a sump pump will take care of the problem. The interior perimeter basement drain system can usually pump the water out and away from the home.
- Storm sewer water from the municipal storm sewer system backing up into the home’s existing perimeter foundation drain and leaking into the basement (this can only occur if the perimeter foundation drain system is connected to the municipal sewer system)
- If you have an older house within a downtown area that has a basement with no sump pump, it is likely the perimeter foundation drain system connects directly into the city storm sewer system. If the basement is below the street level, there is the potential of storm water backing up in the city storm sewer system and being pushed into the perimeter foundation drain system. This can saturate the soils around the house at the basement level with storm water under hydrostatic pressure, causing water to leak in.
You must first dry the basement out. If there are several inches or feet you will need a pump. It there are just some puddles then a wet/dry vacuum will do. Be sure to empty and clean the inside of the vacuum and hoses because mold can grow in there. If the basement is just damp then a dehumidifier is necessary. Buy the largest one you can from a home improvement store, a professional model is not always necessary. Ideally the dehumidifier should drain into a sink or the sump pump hole, otherwise constant emptying will be necessary. A product called a humidex can also be handy if a window or vent is available to move the expelled air out of the house. A humidex is basically a fan in a tube which has a humidity sensor on the bottom. When the air reaches whatever level humidity you set it at the fan turns on and sucks the moist, heavy air from the basement and vents it outside.
The humidity in the basement should be lower than 55 percent to prevent mold growth. Once you have achieved this, it’s important to clean up any existing mold colonies that are present. Since the humidity level in the basement is less than 55 percent they will not be active, but the colony will stil be alive. If it is a small area then you can tackle it yourself by scrubbing the non-porous surfaces with soap and water. Porous surfaces like carpeting and ceiling tile will most likely need to be thrown away. Always wear protective gear like a respirator and rubber gloves. If you are uncomfortable with or unsure about how to properly treat a mold problem you should hire a mold Remediation service. Professionals use advanced mold detection and cleaning technologies to safely clean up a mold outbreak and restore materials and structures. Once problem areas are detected, trained mold removal experts are able to use advanced HEPA vacuums and chemical treatments to fully rid the area of spores.