Waterproofing for Health: Mold & Air Quality Issues
Air quality is a very important part of owning a home. The air you breathe each day affects your health and the health of your family.
What about Air Quality?
One of the biggest issues with a wet or leaking basement is that it will affect the quality of air in your basement and via circulation, the rest of your home.
This is why mold must be dealt as an immediate problem.
Even if you are not finishing your basement, the air quality can be affected in the rest of the house if water and moisture is present in your basement.
Protect Against Seasonal Moisture
Canada sees winters with lots of snow and eventual melting in the spring. This amount of moisture is always a threat to home’s that aren’t properly sealed or where drainage is insufficient.
YES it is a home maintenance and structural issue, but it is also a health issue.
Signs That You May Have a Mold Issue
Mold is not always visible. Hidden mold is very common, but there are signs indicating its presence. First, does the basement feel damp and musty? Mold can often give off a smell indicating its presence. Is there a known water issue or leakage in your basement? If so, the odds of mold growth increase as moisture is a precondition for mold growth, and it can even appear as early as 24-48 hours after moisture has entered.
FAQ: How can mold affect my health?
Mold can reduce the quality of air circulating in your home and it can lead to lung infections, allergic reactions and general sickness from breathing it in. These can have long-term effects that are hazardous to your health.
FAQ: What can I do about mold removal?
Since mold can eat away at your building materials, it will eventually spread if left unchecked This is a serious structural threat in your home. Mold removal should be prioritized if large quantities of mold are detected. Expert mold removal contractors are required to diagnose the issue, the extent of the spread, and the best methods for removal.
If you suspect that you have a mold issue due to smell, visual inspection, or the presence of moisture, contact Stay Dry as soon as possible before your home and your health is threatened.
Perform a Visual Inspection
In terms of a visual inspection, mold can appear in a variety of colors, ranging from black, green, brown and grey. It can appear in circular patches or streaks and can be on your drywall, pipes and in the corners of your basement. Mold feeds off of building materials such as wood and drywall, so check these for mold if you have a moisture issue.
How to Prevent Mold Growth
Ensuring your basement is properly sealed is one of the first steps. Make sure to take care of any foundation issues or water leaking into your home.
Second, keep water away from your home’s exterior. This is a core concept of maintaining a waterproof home. Make sure your gutters are connected properly to downspouts that lead water away from the home and are clear of debris. Check that the grading of your property takes the water from the downspouts away, not towards, your foundation.
Ensure sump pumps have backup batteries in case of power outages during storms with rainfall. If the power is knocked out, and the rain continues to saturate the soil, you will want the sump pump to be battery powered and continue working.
Major Flooding & Leaks
If you do experience flooding or leaks, address the issue immediately. If it is a small amount of water, determine where the source of entry was in your basement and decide how it will be fixed. Ask yourself the following questions if you find water in your basement:
- Are your windows leaking and/or require sealing?
- Does your window well pool with water?
- Is your window well clogged with debris that could prevent drainage?
- Does your window well require a custom cover to prevent debris from entering?
- Is water pooling against your foundation, indicating poor grading or lack of downspouts?
- Are there pools of water inside areas of your basement? Are there cracks near these areas in the foundation?
- Did a pipe burst from cold weather?
- Is an exterior basement stairwell drain clogged, letting water pool in the stairwell?
- Is water coming from upstairs? Check your attic and roof shingles for any damage, especially after a storm.
- Is your basement washing machine leaking? Inspection connections to ensure proper seals
- Is your basement hot water tank leaking? Inspect these connections as well
FAQ: When should I contact waterproofing experts ?
If you find issues with any of the above points, or if you notice mold growth (either visible or from the smell) and especially if you have experienced a flood or large amount of water damage, contact the Stay Dry waterproofing experts to diagnose and repair so you can have the peace of mind that your home is protected and your air quality will be restored.
Waterproofing and Structural Issues in Your Home
The structural health of your home is also affected when mold starts to growth in your basement. Know that basement mold and moisture will eventually affect the entire home. Many people think basement issues stay in the basement and can be contained. Unfortunately, mold spreads rapidly as it eats away at building materials and can start to move from the basement up into the main floor if left unchecked.
This is why mold is considered a threat to the structural health of your home. Mold eats building materials such as drywall, carpet padding and wood. Mold feeds on moisture. This is why we cannot treat mold as if it is only a ‘basement problem’. Even if you do not use the basement as a recreation or living space, moisture issues found down there must be addressed for the sake of the rest of the home.
Professional Tip: It bears repeating that keeping water away from your home, and keeping your basement dry, is the first step in defense against these larger mold issues. MOLD WILL NOT GROW WITHOUT MOISTURE. Eliminating moisture from your home, and keeping your basement dry, are the best preventative measures for any waterproofing strategy.
Checking for Mold in Your Basement Carpet
If you have carpeting in your basement, mold can grow because it feeds off of moisture in carpet padding. Since it starts underneath the carpet where moisture creeps in, it can be difficult to detect at first.
If there is a damp or musty odor in your basement, and you have carpet, there is a possibility mold has found its way underneath. Is your carpet damp as well? Did your carpet suffer water damage? Small spills are ok, but if there was a large leak or water issue in your basement and the carpet was soaked, mold is a very high possibility. Drying your carpet is an obvious first solution, however, if mold has already grown, it likely has eaten away at the padding or carpet fibers and you may need to replace that carpet to remove the mold.
Beware of Leaking floors
Water can also find its way from under your basement floor due to hydrostatic pressure. If water has leaked in through the concrete of your basement floor, it will have soaked the underside of your carpet and if left undetected, mold has likely started to grow.
Visually, if you see streaks of mold on your carpet (i.e. green, black or grey), then you can see the mold and this indicates a larger problem underneath your carpet. In this scenario, you should lift the carpet and inspect the damage to determine your next steps. You can also use a mold testing kit to verify the presence of mold in your basement or on your carpet.