Everybody has been asking the same thing over and over again, “Can the mold in my basement affect my upstairs living area?” A lot of people ask this question multiple times because they are either very much worried about their health and safety or they’re trying to deny the fact that their basement actually needs some serious repairs which obviously, might cost them a lot of money.
It’s not a surprise to find mold in your basement, especially since it is rarely used or even visited by people. Moreover, basements are more susceptible to fungi because it is surrounded by soil, dirt, and water; hence, the natural tendency of the earth is to try to fill that cavity which explains why basements are usually damper than the other parts of your home. For this reason, basements are commonly afflicted with various types of indoor mold.
Why is a Moldy Basement Dangerous?
One of the most infamous species of mold is Stachybotrys chartarum or what is popularly known as “black mold”. Black mold normally grows on areas of your home that are dark, damp, humid, and moist which explains why your basement is a perfect environment for black mold. This variety of fungi is actually menacing because not only it can cause structural issues by feeding on organic matter such as wood, furniture, insulation, and drywall, but also because it can cause a wide array of health complications.
If you think that the mold spores trapped beneath your basement can do no harm to you, you are unfortunately wrong. Yes, mold in basement is indeed problematic for a number of reasons. But what you should be most concerned about is how these airborne mold spores can actually cause serious health issues for you and for the other occupants in your house, specifically those with an already compromised respiratory health condition.
This is because of what is called the “Stack Effect”. The Stack Effect happens when the warm air rises to the upper levels of your home thereby drawing the air from your basement to move upwards including mold spores, dust mites, and everything else that has been trapped in the basement for a long time.
That being the case, this is also the reason why most mold removal experts will do an air sampling of your home to check the indoor air quality and see if it is already contaminated. Sadly, this could potentially be dangerous especially if the type of mold taking shelter in your basement is a black mold that releases toxic substances into the air. In fact, some of the illnesses and most common side effects that you can get from inhaling toxic mold spores are fungal infections, cold-flu symptoms, allergies, asthma, and in more serious cases, pulmonary hemosiderosis, a type of rare lung infection.
What Should You Do About Your Moldy Basement?
First, conduct a thorough inspection of your house particularly your basement and your attic. These are areas that are suitable for mold growth because they have high levels of moisture and humidity. Aside from this, look for problem areas or sources of moisture that could be contributing to the spread of unwanted fungi in your home. Do a complete visual inspection of every corner and then identify the contaminated areas. Sometimes, a professional mold contractor will be able to help you better in discovering hidden mold especially in areas that are concealed in the inner sections of your walls. If you have any mold allergies or already have respiratory issues like asthma then hire a professional to perform this inspection for you! It could be dangerous. Also, if you are going to do a visual inspection yourself then you may want to purchase a respirator.
Surface and air sampling are done to test if there are mold spores present in the upper levels of your house. This is also helpful in knowing if your indoor air quality is still at a normal and safe level. Most people think that the little test kits you buy at places like lowes are good enough, and while it’s true that they are good for testing small areas or specific growth they are not great indicators of testing air quality further away from any mold contamination.
There are certain cases where the mold removal should be handled by a professional particularly when they have identified that the strain of fungus present in the property is poisonous and should thus be handled only by experienced professionals. Treating the mold problem includes disposing of mold-infected items, doing repairs, replacing damaged components, and fixing water leaks.
While most house molds are generally harmless and can be eradicated with bleach or an anti-mold chemical, make sure to measure first the extent of the damage and contamination before getting yourself in trouble by insisting to do it on your own. Black mold can be very dangerous and should not be removed without special equipment. It’s not worth your health to make this a DIY project!
A popular option for homeowners is “encapsulation” which you can do to seal off the whole basement and prevent water penetration while also regulating the air circulation inside the room.
Now that you have successfully exterminated the fungi, the next step is to prevent it from happening again. You can do this by doing precautionary measures such as observing a regular cleaning schedule, installing proper ventilation, and avoiding household activities that can raise the moisture content in the air.
For mold inspections, removal, and other mold-related concerns, you can seek the help of black mold Fredericksburg and they are sure to provide you with budget-friendly solutions.