Wet Basement? Check These 5 Places For Hidden Mold Growth


If you have an unfinished basement, you might think you don't have to worry about short-term floods. But if sump pump failure or heavy rains leave water pooling across the basement floor, you could be in for a mold infestation. Here are the 5 places you need to check after the sump pump fails.

Behind the washer and dryer. Laundry machines are typically placed against the basement wall. Mold doesn't grow well on concrete, but it loves organic material—such as dryer lint. If the dryer vent isn't sealed properly or if the space behind the machines has collected dryer sheets, stray socks, or other debris, this could be enough to start a mold colony.

Under and around boxes in storage. Cardboard is an ideal food for mold. Even if you've taken care to elevate boxes, check the sides and bottoms of boxes located over areas where water has collected. Better yet, switch to heavy duty plastic tubs. This will reduce the chances of mold growth and keep your things dry in the future.

Built-in workbenches and shelves. Mold loves wood, including the various pressed wood products used to make build-it-yourself furniture. Once the area has dried, check any workbench or shelf elements that come into contact with the floor. If you see watermarks or the beginnings of mold growth, clean them right away.

Carpet or vinyl flooring. If you installed sheet vinyl flooring or put down a rug in the basement, water is a special problem. Carpet backing can stay damp for a long time, and if water seeps under the vinyl it will remain there, acting like a giant petri dish for mold. If possible, remove the flooring so it—and the basement floor—can dry thoroughly. Floor coverings that can't be moved or dried may need to be replaced.

Dividing walls. Walls used to divide the basement should be checked to make sure they are free of mold. Look for a water line near the bottom edge of the wall. If the wall is covered with plywood or inexpensive paneling with a paper coating, it may need to be replaced, since mold can infiltrate the material very quickly.

Tips and tricks

  • A wet-dry workshop vacuum cleaner is useful for removing standing water. If carpet is involved, use a commercial water extractor or carpet cleaner. No household machine will be able to do the job.
  • Mold grows best in warm conditions, so keep the basement cool until drying is complete.
  • For big jobs, get an industrial air mover or dehumidifier. These work more quickly than household models, so mold will have less time to take hold.

If mold is already established, take precautions against inhaling spores. Consult a professional (like Central Flood Management Inc) if the mold covers more than 10 square feet.


18 September 2015

Home Damage Guide: Do's and Dont's For Emergency Situations

When my home was flooded last year, I was nearly in tears after surveying the damage. The carpets were soaked, the furniture was filthy and the house had a terrible odor. I didn't know how I was ever going to clean up the mess good enough so my home would be livable again. After speaking with my neighbor, whose home was also flooded, I found out about damage contractors. My name is Arlene Bell and I am here to sing the praises of the restoration crew that cleaned up my home. They worked tirelessly for days until every drop of water was gone. My home looks terrific and there are no signs that it was ever flooded. Read my blog to learn what you should and shouldn't do if you ever have emergency damage to your home.