Identifying the Root: What Causes Mold in Basement Areas?

Are your allergies getting worse? Do you feel like your eyes, nose and throat are always itchy and watery? These symptoms may be common seasonal allergies, or they may be the effects of growing mold in basement areas. Even if your basement appears clean, mold could be growing in hidden areas, wreaking havoc on you and your house. 

Water damage and mold in basement.  Image for home renovation and house industry.

Small amounts of mold exist everywhere. In the air, in dust and on many surfaces. Mold is a fungus that grows in moist areas, both indoors and out. It reproduces by dispersing mold spores that can enter your home through vents, windows and doors. They can also attach to your clothes and accessories. Add a little moisture and the mold will grow. Mold growing in basement areas and other parts of your house can cause allergies and infections.

The Effects of Mold on Your Health

Exposure to mold can cause several health issues or none at all. This depends on your health, mold sensitivity and the amount of mold you encounter. The most common symptoms of mold are a stuffy nose, itchy throat, coughing, sneezing and eye irritation. In some cases, you may experience skin irritation such as rashes. Severe cases and long-term exposure to mold can lead to more serious health issues. Even healthy people can experience sinus infections, bronchial infections and asthma-like symptoms. These health issues are worse for people who are allergic or sensitive to mold. Individuals with existing health conditions or have immune system complications should stay away from any area that may have mold. Mold can cause severe infections and pneumonia. Knowing what causes mold can help you prevent it from growing in your house. That way, you and your family can stay healthy.

Ingredients for Mold Growth

Mold doesn’t grow out of thin air. It needs the right combination of moisture, temperature and time to form and spread.

Mold Spores

In order for mold to grow, there needs to be mold spores. Mold spores are all over everything. They’re in the air, on your clothes and get into your home through open windows and doors. No matter how much cleaning you do, mold spores will always get into your home. The good news is most mold spores are so sparse they’re harmless.

Humidity & Moisture

Basements are naturally humid areas, and mold needs moisture to grow. Moisture comes through the walls and floor causing mold in basement areas. Changing seasons, such as summer and fall, can cause the humidity in your home to increase.

A Source of Food

Mold needs something to grow and feed on, which can be almost anything. You can find mold growing on drywall, wood, clothing, shoes, laminate and more.

A Damp, Dark and Warm Place

Mold grows in dark, damp and warm areas. If there’s a lot of sunlight, mold won’t grow. Combine that with oxygen and in about 24-48 hours you will have mold.

Causes of Mold in Basement Areas

Moisture is the key ingredient causing mold in basement areas, but there’s more than just a little moisture that can lead to a mold infestation.

Excess Moisture

Leaks, spills and cracks in your foundation can also lead to higher humidity and moisture. If you don’t catch and fix these issues right away, mold will begin growing. Try adding a dehumidifier in your basement to keep humidity and moisture low. Using air conditioning during the summer months will also help decrease the humidity and prevent the spread of mold.

Leaks in Your Roof and Walls

Water that leaks in from your roof or pipes are the number one causes of mold in basement areas. A leak brings an endless supply of water and moisture to dark areas in your home. Since most pipes and roofs have a layer of drywall and insulation around them, they make perfect places for mold to grow. As the mold spreads, you can start seeing it growing on your walls and ceilings. At this point, you’ll need to fix the leaks and repair the moldy areas.

Flooding

Excess water in your basement and home is never a good sign. Flooding causes excess water to leak and accumulate in your basement. Not only are floors wet, but the floodwater will increase humidity making even the dry areas susceptible to mold. If you don’t start drying the area within 24 hours, mold will start to grow. Fortunately, there are many effective cleaning methods to get your home dry fast.

Wet Clothing

Do you exercise a lot or have you just come in from the rain? Wet clothes are another culprit of mold in basement areas. If you throw your clothes in the basement hamper while they’re wet, mold can start to grow on them. Clean clothes that are left in the washer for a day or longer causes mold to grow on the clothes and the washer. The mold can spread from your clothes onto the floor, and in extreme cases, onto the walls of your basement. Always spread out and dry your clothes to keep both them and your home free of mold.

Condensation

Excess condensation causes mold around windows, doors, cold pipes and concrete floors. When these surfaces are cold, condensation will form. You’ll find some of these to be particularly cold during the winter months. Areas with or near condensation are prime areas for mold growth. Carpet over concrete floors can lead to mold in basement areas even if you can’t see it.

Poor Ventilation and HVAC

A house with poor ventilation can cause moist stagnant air to produce mold in basement areas and your ventilation. Dirty filters in your HVAC system can house mold and mildew. Moisture gets into the air from steam made by cooking, cleaning and bathing. Fans and ventilation in your home disperse the moisture to prevent mold. However, when the ventilation isn’t working, mold can grow around bathroom fans and in the vents.

Prevent Mold in Basement Areas 

Discovering mold in your house is never a fun situation. Learning the causes of mold in basement areas can help you prevent mold damage and eliminate existing mold growth. Do you have questions about mold or want to remove the existing mold? Let us know right away. We offer emergency services and helpful tips make the mold-cleaning process safe and effective.