Preventing Winter-time Mold in Your Basement
In the summer months, humidity can lead to moisture problems in your basement. The solution is often a dehumidifier, either a whole-home or one-room dehumidifier, which keeps moisture levels low in common high humidity areas. Not only does this keep these areas comfortable, but it also prevents the growth of mold and mildew. Now that the weather has cooled down and the leaves are falling, it is easy for homeowners to think that they are in the clear. WRONG! The winter months can also be a dangerous time that can promote the growth of unhealthy mold in your home. Why should I be concerned? Mold is one of the fastest growing and most dangerous pests in your home. Mold only needs two things to grow: a humid environment and food. Once mold has begun to grow inside of your home, it creates colonies which send out spores into the air. These spores travel throughout your home and are eventually breathed in by your loved ones. Mold spores can severely compromise your immune system and can be deadly for people who are already sick. How does mold begin to grow in my home? One of the two key factors for mold growth is a moist or humid environment. In basements, this usually occurs in the form of a leak. Even though it is not raining in the winter, water can still find its way into your home and make the perfect place for mold to grow. Common reasons for basement leaks during the winter include; -Bursting Pipes. Pipes can freeze when the temperature drops below the freezing point. If a pipe freezes with water inside of it, the newly forming ice can place a large amount of pressure on the pipe, causing it to burst. The water from the burst pipe can create the perfect wet environment for mold, which can begin growing in as little as 24 hours. Water can even find its way behind basement walls and remain undetected until the mold and mildew have become dangerous. -Poorly Sealed Windows and Doors Cold temperatures can also have an affect on the seals of the windows and doors of your basement. The cool weather can cause cracked and/or chipped sealing to deteriorate even faster, making the seal inefficient. Once snow falls and begins to melt, the water from the snow is able to easily find its way into your basement. Again, this water creates the perfect home for mold and mildew to occur. -Cluttered Gutters. Even though we all know that it’s important to clean our gutters, some still forget to do it. When gutters become filled with sticks, leaves, and other debris, it prevents rain and melting snow from properly draining away from your home. If water is left standing in your gutters it tends to refreeze causing ice dams. These ice dams not only damage your gutters by weighing them down, but also can damage your home’s siding if your gutters comes crashing down. Without gutters on your roof, water is more likely to collect around the perimeter of your home and enter into your basement. What can I do to prevent mold from growing in my basement? Although mold and water can be caused by many different factors there are some simple steps that you can do. By doing these few things before and immediately after a snowfall, you can make sure that your home will remain healthy. 1. Insulate your pipes. 2. Check the caulking/sealing around your windows and doors and repair if necessary. 3. Clean your gutters two times during the fall to prevent debris from collecting. 4. Place a cover over any egress windows in your basement. 5. Remove all snow from the perimeter of your home. 6. Check your basement for any musty or mildewy smells. Winter can be a great time to be a homeowner. The hanging of lights, a toasty fire, cozying up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate -- what’s not to love? Make sure that your winter is filled with warm memories by keeping your home as safe as possible. With this new knowledge and simple tricks you will be able to take full advantage of what the season has to offer. With over 30 years of basement waterproofing experience, Ameri-Dry offers patented, permanently dry systems that are backed by a full lifetime warranty. For more information about Ameri-Dry and Ameri-Dry Guy, visit (www.keepamericadry.com), follow Ameri-Dry on Facebook or Twitter.