10 Ways to Prevent Basement Mold

Basement mold is a common problem in homes that have damp, dark basements. Mold is a fungus which grows fast in moist, humid conditions. Once it establishes a presence in your basement, mold is very difficult to eliminate. Mold causes many health problems such as asthma, infections, cough, rashes, congestion and allergies. The best way to prevent mold growth is to control humidity and moisture in your basement.

Monitor Humidity Levels

High humidity levels provide the perfect growing environment for mold. You must ensure that humidity levels within your home, especially the basement, are within acceptable levels. Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity level. A humidity reading of 45% or more is high and can be conducive to growth of mold.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you detect high moisture levels in the basement, buy a high quality dehumidifier. This appliance is quite effective at keeping humidity levels under check.

Avoid Growing Plants Indoors

Plants in the basement provide a good diet for mold and mildew. Only grow plants in sunny, airy locations in your home. Avoid the basement for cultivation of any sorts.

Reduce Congestion in the Basement

Keep your basement free of clutter. Too many objects and storage items block the free flow of air and reduce ventilation. Items such as clothes and books stored in the basement are food for mold and mildew. Store minimal quantities of such items away from direct contact with the floor or walls.

Avoid Storing Wood in the Basement

Wood is another ideal habitat for mold. Never store wood in the basement. An open, airy location is the best location for storing wood.

Ensure That Water is Directed Away From Your Home

The boundary around your home must be sloped in such a way that snow and rain are directed away from the house. Otherwise, and moisture will pool around the structure, increasing moisture and leakage problems. In such a situation, mold is almost inevitable.

Take Care of Spills and Leaks Immediately

If there are any leaks in the basement, take care of them immediately. Wipe the water from the area and dry it thoroughly. Use of a dehumidifier and heater to accelerate the drying process.

Insulate Water Pipes in the Basement

Generally, cold water pipes in the basement show condensation on the exterior. Insulating such pipes reduces the humidity levels in the basement.

Use an Exhaust Fan

Air out stale, humid air and allow the intake of fresh air with the use of an exhaust fan. Try to open doors and windows to the basement regularly.

Reduce Humidifying Factors

Avoid drying wet clothes in the basement. Make sure appliances such as dryers, stoves, heaters, and air conditioners exhaust to the outside, or else the humidity can rise significantly. Avoid carpets and wood flooring in the basement.

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8 Ways to Winterize Your Home on a Budget

1. Clean Your Gutters

You’ve heard it before, but we can’t stress this enough. Making sure that water can flow freely through your gutters now will help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later.

Cost: Other than your sweat and time, free

2. Flush the Water Heater

Particles and sediment can collect over time in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit’s efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep you heater functional at its best.

Cost: 100% free!

3. Clockwise Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are everyone’s favorite summer budget-saver. But they can help out in the winter as well!  Have your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction so the push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor.  If they’re going counterclockwise, they won’t be as effective.

Cost: Free if you have a fan.

4. Replace Filters

Regularly changing the filters in your central air and heating system can significantly improve its efficiency and longevity, while easing the pressure on your wallet.

Cost: a new filter runs about $10.

5. Window Insulation Film

It may not be the most fashionable tip, but window insulation film can keep up to 70% of your heat from leaking out of windows.

Cost: $20 to $30 per kit.

6. Draft Guards

Draft Guards can help save heat from escaping under the door.

Cost: $10 to $15.

7. Just Caulk It Cost: $20 for a basic caulk gun and $5 to $10 for a tube of caulk.

Any remaining gaps in siding, windows, or doors can be filled with caulk. For extra drafty windows and doors, caulk the inside too, pulling off moldings to fill all gaps in the insulation.

8. Chimney Balloon

Your chimney is a huge source of heat loss come wintertime. If not in active use, plug it up with a chimney balloon to keep drafts out and heat it.

Cost: $55.