Basement Mould Prevention 101: Tips to Keep Your Home Safe and Healthy

February 26, 2023

Mould growth is a common problem in damp, dark, and humid basements. And that can be dangerous for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, mould poses the following health risks:

  • Throat, nose, and eye irritation
  • Coughing
  • Phlegm build-up
  • Exacerbation of asthma symptoms
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Allergic reactions

These can be particularly risky for young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, according to government research. But mould can also damage your basement and compromise your home’s structural integrity over time.

With all that in mind, it’s crucial that you take steps to prevent mould in your basement. We’ll explore seven ideas to help you do just that below.

Use Dehumidifiers to Air Your Basement Out

Weak airflow in your basement can increase humidity levels and create a fertile space for mould development. If your basement feels humid, pick up a humidity meter to take an accurate measurement. A humidity level above 50% is too high, and you need to bring it down to reduce your risk of mould.

Fortunately, setting up a couple of dehumidifiers can keep levels low and make your basement less conducive to mould growth. They’re also indispensable when clearing your basement out after a flood, as they will help to remove moisture from the air efficiently.

There are plenty of dehumidifiers on the market, some better than others. Check customer reviews and product descriptions carefully to find the best one for your basement.

Fix Leaks in Your Basement Walls or Ceiling

If you suspect that you have a leaking pipe in a basement wall or the ceiling, have it fixed as soon as possible. A tiny drip or damp spot may be easy to ignore for a while, but that could escalate into a bigger problem if left unaddressed.

Check all Basement Windows for Damage

Windows play a key part in basement waterproofing. If one or more windows allow rainwater into your home, even at a slow rate, you could end up fighting a mould infestation before you even realize there’s a problem.

Examine your basement windows for cracks. Ensure that each pane of glass sits securely in its frame — even the slightest gap could provide a channel into your home. If you spot any problems with a basement window, have it fixed as soon as possible, especially if your area is experiencing a lot of wet weather.

Clean Up Properly After a Leak or Flood

Damp environments are a perfect breeding ground for mould. Even a wet patch in one corner of your basement could lead to mould formation, and once mould starts to grow, it can easily spread to other areas via airborne spores.

The extent of cleaning involved will depend on the amount of water inside your basement. You can address a minor leak quickly, especially when you call in a professional cleaning crew, but a flood will be more difficult and time-consuming to put right.

You should also fix the source of the leak or flood as soon as possible. That may involve patching up a broken pipe or a more complex process, such as hiring a basement waterproofing company. But preventing mould growth, and the associated damage it can cause, is worth the effort.

Allow Air to Flow Through Your Basement

A clear airflow through your basement helps to keep it fresh and maintain low humidity levels. Without adequate air movement, the risk of mould forming and spreading will increase.

But it can be difficult to maintain a healthy airflow if your basement is overloaded with boxes of old clothes, school projects, newspapers, and any other items you store in bulk. It’s easy to let non-essential goods pile up when it’s out of sight, but try to stay on top of your basement storage.

If you have a lot of stored items in your basement but can’t bear to throw all of it away, maybe move some of it into your attic or garage. The less clutter you have in one space, the more freely air can move through it.

Another way to allow airflow in your basement is to leave your windows open for a little while on dry days (not when it’s raining or the air feels moist). If your basement doesn’t have windows, consider changing that. Just make sure they’re properly sealed to keep moisture out.

You may also set up fans in your basement to get air moving and manage humidity levels, even if you have windows open.

Replace Wet Carpets and Upholstery to Prevent Mould Formation

One of the most important steps to take after a flood or leak in your basement is to remove soaked carpets, rugs, or upholstered furniture.

If your rugs, carpets, or upholstered furniture are soaked, it’s likely that you’ll need to throw them out. They can retain moisture for long periods and mould may become deeply ingrained, which would make them difficult to clean thoroughly. Avoid using carpets and rugs in your basement entirely, just in case.

Invest in Professional Basement Waterproofing

Expert basement waterproofing is the most effective way to prevent mould forming.

An experienced company providing basement waterproofing services will reduce the risk of water penetrating your home through its lowest level. Whether you choose interior or exterior waterproofing, or both, a good team will undertake extensive work to keep water outside — where it belongs.

Exterior waterproofing involves excavating down to the foundation, sealing all foundation cracks, performing water flow tests, and installing new weeping tiles to ensure proper drainage.

During the interior waterproofing process, a team will scrape the foundation clean, install a trench along the foundation wall, and set up a weeping tile system. They will connect this system to a sump pump or drain, and confirm that it flows properly.

Speak to Basement Waterproofing Experts Today

Aluneed is a family-run basement waterproofing company serving the Toronto area. We provide interior and exterior waterproofing to protect your basement, using the latest techniques.

Get in touch with Aluneed to learn more about how our basement waterproofing services can protect your home from mould.

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