Basement mold can be a real issue for landlords and property managers in many parts of the country. The maintenance checkup this week, provided by Keepe, discusses basement mold. Preventing it is key to guaranteeing a safe, healthy living environment for tenants.

What makes a room mold-friendly?

 Mold only grows and thrives in spaces that present its ideal living conditions, especially basements. It’s fundamental to address the elements causing a certain environment to become mold-friendly.

  • Simply cleaning up a moldy area won’t be effective on the long run. The mold will eventually grow back.
  • Mold that is easy to see and smell. Molds generally smell musty and earthy which indicates an advanced state of mold growth. Living spaces where mold is easily visible must be treated as soon as possible.
  • Moisture and ventilation are the factors to consider first to eradicate a mold problem. Piping, HVAC and insulation are the first elements to inspect upon discovering mold.
  • Preventive maintenance projects can help you achieve a safe and mold-proof space. They also address lingering maintenance issues that you might be overlooking.

7 basement mold preventative maintenance steps

 Basements provide ideal living conditions for mold to grow and thrive. They are dark, humid and not ventilated. Low air flow and high moisture are the main culprits aiding mold to form.

No. 1 – Monitor humidity levels

The more humid a basement is, the more mold-friendly it becomes. Our experts recommend utilizing a hygrometer to measure humidity levels in the basement. This can ensure that they do not surpass readings of 45% or higher, which are indicative of excessive humidity.

No. 2 – Reduce high humidity levels with insulation

It is important to check the insulation of all piping located in proximity of the basement. Make sure to have a professional plumber repair any loose insulation or leaks. Second, check exposed pipes. They typically exhibit condensation during the cold season. They should be insulated by a professional to remove extra moisture and can help avoid basement mold.

No. 3 Reduce high humidity levels with proper water drainage

It is fundamental to have an effective water drainage system. You want water directed away from the property.  If your property experiences flooding and poor drainage after rain and seasonal weather, it is a  sign that the property’s drainage system is ineffective. That could lead to even more severe structural issues in addition to basement mold issues.

No. 4 – Reduce high humidity levels from appliances

Washers, dryers, heaters and air conditioners should have their exhaust systems be checked to guarantee that they are properly functioning. They should be directing exhaust away from the property’s interiors and pushing the moisture from their exhaust outside.

No. 5 – Avoid moisture-absorbing flooring

Carpet and wooden flooring absorb moisture and remain damp. This creates the perfect living condition for basement mold while also contributing to the overall humidity of the space. It is best to substitute carpet and wooden flooring with more impermeable flooring, such as tiles, linoleum, or natural stone.

No. 6 – Improve ventilation

Installing an exhaust fan allows proper ventilation of basements. It is also recommended to open windows regularly to air out the space. Our experts recommend hiring an HVAC specialist. The specialist can perform an evaluation of the property’s ventilation capacities and suggest necessary improvements.

No. 7 – Bonus tip

Let tenants know why being mindful of humidity and ventilation is important to basement mold prevention. Simple steps can be taken by tenants to avoid creating mold-friendly conditions. Our mold experts suggest avoiding drying clothes and growing houseplants in the basement. Those activities contribute to raising humidity levels and welcoming mold growth.

Summary

Mold is a serious maintenance issue. It can compromise the health of tenants and the overall safety, appeal and look of a property. Molds and fungi can develop into parasitic growths harmful to humans in their indoor living spaces. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn about the dangers of mold exposure. It can significantly worsen respiratory conditions and cause severe rashes, irritation and infections. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) similarly linked indoor mold exposure to the development of coughing, wheezing and reported difficulty with breathing by otherwise healthy people. Not only is this harmful, but it can quickly get out of hand. Mold can grow rapidly when it is not addressed immediately.

Other recent maintenance Keepe posts you may have missed:

7 Types Of Pest Preventative Maintenance Steps For Rentals

About Keepe:

Keepe is an on-demand maintenance solution for property managers and independent landlords. Keepe makes hundreds of independent contractors and handymen available for maintenance projects at rental properties. The service is available in the Greater Seattle area, Greater Phoenix area, San Francisco Bay area. Learn more about Keepe at http://www.keepe.com