How to prevent mold in your basement
What is one of the first things you think about when you think of your home’s basement? Many Louisiana homes in New Orleans have finished basements, which can be used for additional living or recreational space. Others are just used for home storage and utility. Regardless of what purpose your basement serves, they all have one thing in common: the tendency to collect excess water/ mold and moisture that can lead to mold damage and mold spore growth.
As a New Orleans homeowner, discovering mold in your basement can be an unsettling experience–especially since many types of molds in New Orleans produce microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) that are harmful to human health. Even if your basement appears dry, mold could still be hiding behind walls, under carpeting, or beneath your furniture. This could be due to moisture vapor and humidity seeping into your foundation or a leaky pipe.
There are several ways to prevent mold in New Orleans from growing in basements. They all involve reducing moisture levels in lower levels of the home. These methods include:
- Leakage repair and insulation
- Repair cracks in your foundation
- Sealing and insulation of windows and window wells
- Keeping your gutters clean
- Make sure your yard is properly gradated
- Floodwater needs to be addressed immediately
- Using a basement dehumidifier
- Avoid putting houseplants into your basement
- Responsible laundering
- Professional basement waterproofing services
Before we get into the details of mold prevention ideas of these preventive measures, it is important to first understand what mold is and how it can grow in your basement.
What is Mold?
Molds are microscopic organisms that belong to the kingdom of fungi. They play an important role in our natural environment. Molds can be found outdoors in damp, moist areas. They use enzymes to decompose organic matter such as soil, trees, and plants. Molds reproduce by spores, much like other species (e.g. mushrooms) that are released into the air.
Are Molds Dangerous?
While molds are essential to the process of living things decomposing, some molds can pose a serious threat to our health. Although mold spores are everywhere, some mold spores can cause serious allergic reactions or toxic reactions in people who are sensitive. It is important to check your basement in New Orleans for mold growth as they could spread harmful spores throughout your home.
How do molds grow indoors?
We mentioned that mold spores are everywhere, so they can also be found in the air within your home. Molds can only grow indoors if there is excessive moisture or organic matter. This includes drywall, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, and insulation. Mold can quickly take root in indoor spaces of a house if they are exposed to high humidity or moisture levels. Basements are especially vulnerable because they have poor ventilation.
*Two main sources of basement moisture are indoor and outdoor moisture sources
Outdoor Moisture Sources
Louisiana Rain, floods, and groundwater are all outdoor moisture sources. These can seep into your foundation through cracks or poorly sealed window wells. Poor yard grading or clogged gutters could also contribute to moisture buildup in your basement.
Indoor Moisture Sources
Leaky pipes, laundry clothes, and overwatering houseplants are all indoor moisture sources. A moisture-prone basement can be caused by any activity in the home that creates high humidity, such as showering, cooking, or breathing.
Harmful Molds in Basements
Cladosporium and Penicillium are the most harmful molds that can be found in basements. Stachybotrys chart arum, also known as “black mold”, is a rarer indoor mold. You don’t need to know the exact species of mold growing in your home. Instead, a NORMI- certified professional should address any mold presence with the appropriate knowledge and protective equipment. Contact ‘Ace House Leveling in New Orleans LA today to get a free mold remediation assessment and quote.
How to Prevent Mold from Your Basement
You can prevent New Orleans, LA mold growth in your basement by taking preventative steps to stop moisture and humidity from building up inside your home. These DIY moisture prevention techniques can reduce the likelihood of you inhaling harmful mold spores and could prevent expensive structural repairs down the line.
Insulate and Repair Leaky Pipes
Leaky pipes can be a problem in many homes. They could be the result of poor installation or expansion that leads to loosened connections. Leaky pipes can be difficult to spot until it is too late. It is important to regularly inspect your pipe infrastructure for any leaks or poor connections.
You can find a leaking pipe by applying a plumber’s tape or pipe joint compound to it. If this happens, give a professional plumber an opportunity. Insulate pipes before temperatures drop if you live in harsh winter areas. Uninsulated pipes can freeze and burst which could lead to significant water damage and mold growth.
Repair Cracks in Your Foundation
Cracks in your foundation which allow water to seep can lead to mold growth in your basement. If possible, inspect your foundation from the outside perimeter of your home to your basement walls.
Seal any cracks immediately with flexible and expandable epoxy. They won’t dry out or crack. To provide even greater protection, you can add additional outdoor downspouts or a French drain system for water drainage to your foundation. To improve yard grading, you can remove any landscaping near foundation cracks and add soil.
Window Wells and Windows Insulated
Poorly sealed basement windows and window wells can lead to excessive moisture in your below-grade flooring. You should seal any windows that have visible condensation or air leakage with silicone latex-based caulk. This is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. Installing window well drains or adding gravel to your basement windows can keep hydrostatic pressure at bay. Window well covers New Orleans can also be installed to prevent water from entering your window well.
Keep Your Gutters Clear
To promote water drainage from your home, it is important to keep your gutters clear and free of debris. For easy maintenance, make sure you check your gutters regularly and remove any obstructions. Install gutter downspout extensions if your yard isn’t well-graded to prevent water from pooling around your foundation.
Make Sure Your Yard Is Properly Graded
Poor drainage can cause groundwater or rain to pool around your foundation. Proper yard grading is crucial to ensure that water flows away from your home and does not put hydrostatic pressure onto your basement walls or foundation. The first step in grading your yard is to determine its slope and high and low points. You can add dirt to your foundation, and then gradually reduce the amount of dirt as you get closer. To regrade your yard, you can hire a professional landscaper.
Note: If dirt added to your yard isn’t properly packed, even regarding won’t always move enough water away to your foundation to prevent hydrostatic pressure from building up against your foundation walls.
Flood Water Immediately
Floodwater from rivers, heavy rains, and burst pipes can easily get into your basement, despite all the precautions taken. It is crucial to act quickly if this happens, as mold can grow within 24 hours of being exposed. Make sure you remove any furniture or other items from the basement as soon as possible and dry them in a well-ventilated place. You should also remove any drywall, carpet, or insulation that is wet as they can quickly grow mold.
After removing all wet items, it is important to begin drying immediately. To speed up drying, remove any water standing with a vacuum cleaner or sump pump.
Use a basement dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers can be used to dry basements that are naturally susceptible to moisture, humidity, and condensation. It is important to measure the area of your basement before you decide on a dehumidifier. This will ensure that it has enough power to keep it dry. Sometimes, multiple dehumidifiers may be needed.
Do Not Allow Houseplants to Grow in Your Basement
Although houseplants can be a great way of sprucing up your basement living area, the soil and leaves they produce are a perfect breeding ground for mold in New Orleans. If you do decide to keep plants on the lower level of your house, make sure they are not overwatered, inspect their soil regularly, and repot them with new soil if there is any mold or mildew.
Many homeowners convert a part of their basement to a laundry area. Moisture and humidity are created during the drying and washing process. A dehumidifier in New Orleans can be installed in a basement laundry room.
Book Professional Basement Waterproofing Services
Even with the best DIY moisture prevention strategies in place, water can still get into your basement and cause mold growth. Professional basement waterproofing New Orleans solutions are the best way to protect your basement from mold and moisture all year.
Exterior Waterproofing Service
Exterior basement waterproofing systems use a waterproof coating to cover your foundation and a perimeter drainage system (sometimes called a French drain, or curtain drain). Exterior waterproofing solutions are expensive because they require heavy equipment to remove soil, landscaping, and install the waterproof coating. The exterior drain lines can become clogged with silt, so the whole system will need to be excavated again to make repairs.
Interior Waterproofing Services
Interior basement waterproofing systems can be more cost-effective and longer-lasting than traditional methods. Interior basement waterproofing systems use a perimeter drainage system indoors, rather than digging into the soil to install a waterproof coating. The system collects water, which is then carried to a sump pump, which pumps the water out of the basement.
Trust Ace House Leveling in New Orleans LA to Your Basement Waterproofing Needs
Our interior basement waterproofing systems install perimeter drain lines where the floor meets the basement walls. This makes the system virtually invisible. These lines then lead to a sump pit, where sump pumps are installed. The pump activates when water accumulates in the pit.
Our crawlspace sealing services will also help to keep moisture out of your crawlspace. You can be sure that your crawlspace is dry by sealing any air gaps and crawlspace vents with foam insulation. Then, seal your floor, walls, and columns with a 20-millimeter-thick vapor barrier.
New Orleans is a Louisiana city on the Mississippi River, near the Gulf of Mexico. Nicknamed the “Big Easy”, it’s known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. Embodying its festive spirit is Mardi Gras, the late-winter carnival famed for raucous costumed parades and street parties. ― Google. Zipcodes: 70114. 70127. 70128. 70056. 70058. 70118. 70119. 70005. 70032. 70115. 70053. 70125. 70094. 70130. 70116. 70113. 70121. 70112. 70148.