Now that it is officially the spring season in Cleveland Ohio, it is that time of year again to conduct your spring home maintenance and spring cleaning. This is also a great opportunity to look around your basement for any vulnerabilities to basement moisture problems and basement mold growth. Proper maintenance in a timely manner can go a long way in preventing basement mold growth during the spring season in Cleveland OH.
What Causes Basement Mold Growth In Cleveland Ohio Basements?
In order to effectively prevent basement mold growth in your Ohio home or business, we must take a closer look at what causes mold growth in the first place. One of the main causes of basement mold growth is moisture. Once dormant mold spores come into contact with an adequate moisture source, the spores will begin to germinate and spread to previously clean, cellulose based building materials. So, what causes moisture buildup in your basement that can fuel a mold problem? Basement moisture problems are not limited to the obvious and visually apparent (i.e: leaks and flooding). Easy to miss problems like high humidity, limited air ventilation and foundation wall seepage can all provide a sufficient moisture source for serious mold growth.
Some of the most common causes of basement mold include the following:
- Elevated humidity – over 55%
- Inadequate air circulation
- Ductwork condensation
- Leaks or seepage through foundation walls
Spring Season Basement Mold Prevention- Interior Basement Maintenance Check
The spring season is notoriously fickle and often difficult to predict. With varying degrees of precipitation and fluctuating temperatures, it can be difficult to maintain a clean and dry basement throughout the season. Ohio homeowners are encouraged to conduct routine maintenance checks throughout the property at least twice a year (once during the spring and once during the fall). You should include a basement mold and moisture check with your other maintenance checks.
Look for any leaks or signs of leaks in your basement:
During your check, you should take a look at your basement ceiling for signs of water leaks from the living spaces above. It is important to address all leaks and water damage immediately. You may need to contact a professional for assistance. You should also assess for leaks and condensation at your HVAC and plumbing components that run through the basement. Have these issues assessed immediately as well.
Assess your foundation walls from the interior, look for signs of damage or water intrusion:
When assessing your foundation walls, you should pay attention for signs of moisture or water intrusion. If you notice seepage or water leaks through your walls, you may need to contact a professional to waterproof your basement. You should keep your eyes peeled for signs of damage like cracks, masonry damage, or interior signs in the main living space. It is important to manage drainage around your foundation and make sure that all rain runoff is running away from your home.
If your basement suffers constant moisture intrusion at your foundation walls, you might need to consider basement waterproofing:
Basement waterproofing involves techniques and materials used to prevent water from penetrating the basement of a building structure. If your basement is below ground level, it may require basement waterproofing to help combat seepage or moisture buildup from groundwater. Basement waterproofing can mean the application of sealant materials, the installation of drains and sump pumps, and more. If you are considering basement waterproofing, you should consult a trained basement waterproofing professional.
Installing a basement dehumidifier can help to keep basement humidity levels below 50%:
Basement dehumidifiers are designed to manage humidity levels and keep your basement humidity below 50%. If your basement is especially damp or humid, a dehumidifier can help. If you decide that a dehumidifier will be the way to go, you need to make sure that you pick a dehumidifier that is the right size and capacity for the needs of that specific space to ensure effectiveness. Regular dehumidifier maintenance will help to preserve the quality and effectiveness of your unit.
Declutter your basement to increase air circulation:
Basements are often used for storage. Excessive stored items can restrict air circulation and allow moisture buildup. Take some time to regularly organize and purge some of your stored items. This will open up your basement and help to optimize air flow.
Spring Season Basement Mold Prevention- Exterior Basement Maintenance Check
After conducting your interior basement maintenance check, pick a nice day and check out the exterior area around your basement. While most basement moisture and mold problems can be assessed from the interior, it is equally important to conduct an exterior maintenance and moisture check. The exterior components of your property and the surround elements can equally contribute to basement mold growth.
Get out there and check your lawn, trees and other landscaping:
Conditions around the property can be equally important to help keep your basement dry this spring. Trees need to be planted at a safe distance away from your home. Tree roots are aggressive and their growth can apply unwanted pressure to your foundation walls. Your lawn should slope away from your home. If you notice that your lawn is graded in the wrong direction (towards your home) your home may be vulnerable to flooding. You should consult a landscaper for an appropriate solution. You need to pay attention the water pattern during periods of heavy springtime rain. If you notice constant pooling anywhere, contact a landscaper or excavation contractor for advice on how to direct the water away from your Ohio home. When placing mulch, be sure to leave a 6-inch gap between the mulch and the siding of the home. The moisture in the mulch can wick into the siding and rot away the building materials.
Check drains regularly to make sure that they are free of obstructions and functioning effectively:
If you have basement floor drains, check them regularly to look for any obstructions in or around the drain (dirt, debris, storage items, etc.). Optimized drainage will help to avoid flooding. If you have steps leading to your basement, make sure the drain at the base of the steps is free and clear of debris. Stair drains in older homes tend to be on the smaller size and are prone to clogging.
Regularly check gutters and downspouts maintenance opportunities:
Your gutters and down spouts need be free of obstruction, draining properly and directing water away from the home. Gutters and downspouts should always direct water AWAY from foundation walls. Downspouts should extend at least six feet out. You should clean your gutters regularly as part of your home maintenance routine– your gutters should be free of all debris to avoid backups. To help prevent leaves from getting into your gutter, you can install gutter guards. Make sure that the downspouts are not connected to your foundation footer drain tiles or to underground dry wells.
Discovering Basement Mold Growth During Spring Maintenance
Routine home maintenance is key to maintaining the condition of your home and stretching the lifespan of your building structure and building materials. It is also a great opportunity to look for underlying moisture issues and possible vulnerabilities to mold development. In the event you discover a mold problem in your basement during your spring maintenance check, you might need to consider contacting a professional basement mold removal company in Cleveland Ohio for help. Basement mold growth can mean potential health implications and expensive property damage. Mold needs to be actively removed by a trained basement mold remediation professional in order to prevent additional damage and potentially costlier repairs.
If you are in need of mold removal services for your Ohio basement, Mastertech Environmental can help. Our team of basement mold removal technicians are professionally trained to properly assess and safely remove mold from your Cleveland Ohio basement.