Molds And Fungus: What You Need To Know

basement-mold

Homeowners have long been bearing the nuisance that they experience when molds, mildew, and other fungal growth thrive in their homes. These growths often arise whenever our homes are exposed to recurrent flooding, or when lower level room such as the basements and cellars, and these pose a serious threat to the foundation of your building, as well as to your health, too. We provided below an overview of what you should know about molds and how to deal with them.

They Can Be a Health Threat

Just like other fungi, molds and mildew flourish and grow best in dark, humid, and warm environments, which is often the case for or basements, or any rooms built under the ground level. Some other very common places molds throve in our homes are the bathrooms, recently flooded spaces, neglected sump pits, as well as other areas with poor ventilation or accumulation of damp air.

Aside from causing billions of dollars in maintenance and repair costs, frequent exposure to these molds also causes several health conditions such as sore throat, asthma, headache, pneumonia, allergies, rashes, hives, sinus problems, and nasal airway blockage to name a few.

mold-damage

Important Facts about Molds

  • Damp, dark, and humid spaces are the best breeding ground for all molds and fungi to grow in. They just love those conditions.
  • If treated or removed early, or in their primary stage of growth, molds can be controlled and eliminated.
  • An atmospheric barrier is needed in order to completely eliminate molds
  • When there is initial exposure to water, moisture, or humidity, there is a 24-48-hour window period to eliminate those elements to prevent mold buildup and settlement.
  • Removing molds from hard surfaces is definitely easier than trying to remove it from soft and absorbent surfaces.
  • Molds and fungi are able to produce spores that contain harmful bio-toxins, which are mainly responsible for causing the health problems previously mentioned. These spores are spread through the air.
  • Personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves should be used while cleaning to avoid having direct or airborne contact with the molds.

mold-in-basement

Prevention is better than Finding Solutions

It is definitely easier to prevent mold from accumulating and growing rather than spend a lot of time, not to mention a whole lot of money, in repair and maintenance costs. Homeowners should perform a periodic checkup of the neglected spaces in their homes where humidity is very high. Dampness should be removed immediately, and water seepage should be monitored and stopped.

Causes of Molds and Mildew

  • Natural Calamities – They are often unpredictable and unannounced, so the best way to avoid getting molds is to be well prepared, using utilities such as sump pumps. These pumps can help avert flooding in your basement when heavy rains and downpours occur.

  • Faulty or Leaking Roof – Inadequate upkeep of the home’s roofs can lead to roof leaks. This creates a suitable reproduction ground for mold and mildew. The current drawback becomes worse once the water starts to ooze into unmonitored places, since the mold infestation is confirmed only when signs show that it has become severe. Recovering and removing this problem can be very hard and expensive.

  • Constantly Overflowing Sinks and Tubs – The most common causes of the seepage of excess water is overflowing sinks or bath tubs. These are relatively very easy to limit and you can always control the severity of the mold problem by taking simple and precise preventive actions.

  • Weather – There are certain periods of time when the heavy rainfall you experience can lead to basement or cellar flooding. Even if such natural emergencies do not happen often, they still need important remedial measures such as immediately pumping out excess water using sump pumps.

  • Backflow of Sewage – Sewage that flows back into the discharge pipe of your home is one of the most common reasons for the buildup of unnecessary moisture in the house. Having such constant damp spaces attract mold and even bacterial growth, which in turn can definitely be a cause of concern for your home and your health. Aside from that, this type of leakage can create other problems on different levels. As an example, sewage backflow is known to discharge foul stench and could cause severe health problems as well

  • Faulty Plumbing – Defective or incorrect plumbing, or in some cases, old and aged plumbing, are very usual reasons for developing leakage. This in turn creates and collects excessive dampness inside the building. Such constant leakages give a suitable breeding ground for mold and mildew

  • Higher Groundwater Table – Higher levels of the water table is another common reason for leaching of water into the basement’s foundation. The groundwater table is the level of naturally occurring ground water. When ground water runs through underground natural conduits and penetrates through the walls, this results in water seepage in the basement of your home. These seepages are nonstop and pumping the water is the only answer to overcome the problem.
Signs of Presence of Mold and Fungus

Identifying the presence of molds in your home can help treat the problem and remove the causes within 24 to 48 hours. This time frame should be considered as it takes this much time for the molds and their spores to settle. Here are some signs that you can watch out for when inspecting for molds and mildew:

  • Musty smell - Musty odor reveals the presence of molds in closed spaces. Musty smell in dampened basements or bathrooms should alert you, but be sure to check other signs as well.
  • Dark Patches - Search for any dark patches in the basement walls, floor, and furniture. These dark spots and patches are colonies of mold and are easily noticeable. These patches are the ones producing the musty smell.

Detecting the signs of mold buildup in your home is the initial step to resolve the mold infestation. Many other different ways and means are available to fight these molds, and we will talk about that later on in this article.

Mold Removal Expenses

How much exactly does one shell out when having a professional to inspect and remove the unwanted molds and mildew in your home. Their price ranges from as low as $100, up to $4000. You can do the inspection yourself, but at extensive levels do seek the professionals.

The costs for the removal of molds depend upon the size of the infiltration, and the quality of work that the cleaning company entails. You can eliminate smaller patches on your own simply by using a scrub brush and some laundry detergent. Do keep in mind though, that large patches of molds and fungi need professional services to ensure total removal, and to have the entire house checked for any starting growth as well.

Mold Removal Techniques

There are many known techniques for mold removal and elimination. It is considered best practice to use products like bleach or scrub brushes every day. These come very handy while doing such heavy cleaning, but there are of course alternative ways to do it than traditional cleaning. Below are some of the best methods of removing molds from your home:

  • Use a sump pump - Removing excess water from basements is the initial step in waterproofing your home. There are numerous approaches to pumping groundwater, and a variety of products that can help you do so. Usually, a submersible sump pump is utilized for better removal of fluids and water from basements. These pumps are a good investment in case heavy rains or flooding occur, so it’s a good idea to keep them at standby. These sump pumps are offered in several features and capabilities, and many companies now offer quick and easy installation.

  • Use Your Elbow Grease - You can get rid of molds in your home manually by scrubbing hard with bleach. The best solution is to incorporate three parts of water into one part of bleach. Apply this solution to the patches of mold and scrub until they disappear. It is important, however, to use safety protective equipment such as gloves, face masks, and goggles. Make sure to provide adequate ventilation if possible, and avoid inhaling the bleach fumes as you clean.

  • Let the Pros Do the Work – You can always pay a professional to do the cleaning and mold removal for you. It is stress-free, and you ensure that everything is completely eliminated for a small fee. Depending on your budget, this is often a good idea. This is also a good consideration to make if you have small children in the house. Just remember to always take note of the terms or contract of work prior to paying, to avoid any future inconveniences.

As a homeowner, molds and mildews should not be underestimated as they can cause serious damage to your home’s foundation in the long run if neglected. Remember those tips and info provided above to help protect and save your home from potential damage. Preventing molds from occurring is better than having to undergo the tedious process of removing them, so keep your home dry and moisture-free.

Photo Credit: 

  • http://www.ohiostatewaterproofing.com/learning-center-blog/safeguarding-your-home-against-basement-mold/
  • http://apexwaterproofing.net/basement-waterproofing-washington-dc/
  • http://www.mold-advisor.com/white-mold-in-basement.html

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