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5 Causes Of Basement Mold That Your Inspector Will Check For

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A major part of a mold inspection is determining the source of the moisture that is causing the mold growth. The reason is simple — mold removal and full remediation can only be successful if the cause of the mold is repaired. There are a few likely moisture culprits that your inspector will look for.

1. Foundation Damage

Damage to the foundation doesn't have to be major for mold to occur. Small cracks or holes can allow in moisture, which will then cause mold to grow on walls, ceilings, or in carpets and padding. If the walls are finished with paneling or drywall, your inspector will have to carefully look for discolored or soft spots that indicate moisture has leaked through behind them. Unfinished walls are easier to visually inspect for damage.

2. Flood Exposure

Floods are a more obvious cause of mold problems. Both natural floods from heavy rains as well as floods caused by plumbing issues can result in mold problems, especially if the basement wasn't dried out quickly afterward. Depending on the cause of the flood, your inspector may recommend installing a sump pump or other drainage system to prevent future issues.

3. Weak Ventilation

Although heat and the moisture it carries tends to rise, it can become trapped inside the basement if there is insufficient ventilation. This is especially common in damp or humid climates, particularly for basements that are kept closed off from the rest of the home upstairs. Mold from ventilation problems tends to be widespread, so your inspector may find it on wall surfaces and ceilings, as well as any other exposed surfaces in the basement.

4. Leaking Windows

Many basements have windows, either narrow ones near the top of the walls or full-size windows with exterior egress pits. Both types can develop leaks over time, although the pit-style egress windows are sometimes more prone to leaks because water can collect in the pit. Leaking windows are often easy to spot since mold and mildew buildup will be more severe around the window frame area.

5. Appliance Moisture 

Many homes put the utility room for the washer and dryer in the basement. It's also common to keep other appliances, like freezers and hot water heaters, in the basement. Dryers without proper ventilation exhausts, heat from compressors and motors, and condensation buildup on the outside of poorly insulated water heater tanks and pipes can all lead to mold issues. Generally, the mold will be heavier around the problem appliance if they are the issue.

For more information on mold inspections, contact a company near you.