How Serious is Water in a Basement?
Unattended water in a basement can be very serious as it will lead to mold, musty smells, damaged walls, floors, and ruined furniture and belongings. And if that is not enough, it will in due time, cause health problems.
Many people don’t even think about their health and basement relationship until they experience a problem, such as flooding or leaks. However, the condition of your basement can actually have a significant impact on your health.
Mold, mildew, and other wet basement byproducts contribute to many severe health problems, including but not limited to respiratory infections, asthma, and allergic reactions. Allergic, asthmatic, and respiratory symptoms can include difficulty breathing, headache, fatigue, watery eyes, and congestion.
For example, while sometimes dampness and mold are common in basements, both trigger asthma attacks. In addition, dust mites thrive in humid environments and are known to cause allergies and asthma. Therefore, if you suffer from asthma or allergies and have frequent flooding, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to hire a restoration company, make sure to waterproof the basement and then keep it free of mold and dust going forward.
My grandparents’ house in Michigan is a perfect example. It was a finished, beautiful basement where we gathered for all our holidays and special events. It was the typical Italian, old-school basement with a full kitchen and a full bar. Lots of great memories down there! Unfortunately, it also included that “stinky” moldy smell that seemed to never go away. It was constantly flooding as the house aged and settled. Precious heirlooms and pictures were lost on several occasions when that basement flooded.
Additionally, my mom, her mom, and her siblings all suffered from either upper respiratory problems (myself and my uncle included) or had asthma. As a result, we all were very sick growing up. My mom was the oldest, so she always had me “in toe” when visiting her parents and younger siblings; thus, we spent a lot of time over there. The basement was also mine and my cousins’ “playroom.” My one cousin had bad asthma; when I look back, he should have never been down there!
While a damp basement may not seem like a big deal, it can actually pose a serious threat to your health. Therefore, the importance of ensuring your basement is entirely waterproofed and the foundation is checked or repaired is significant.
How do I know if my basement is making me sick?
Sick building syndrome is a term used to describe a set of symptoms that people experience when they are inside an unhealthy building. The symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, itchy skin, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. Sick building syndrome is often caused by too much moisture in the basement of the affected building.
If you work or spend a lot of time in a basement, it’s essential to take steps to waterproof and keep it free of mold and dust. For example, you could:
- Install a dehumidifier
- Use an air purifier
- Check for leaks and repair them immediately
- Keep the basement well ventilated
- Use fans to circulate air
- Clean mold and mildew regularly
If you suspect your basement is making you or your family sick, it’s important to see a doctor so they can properly diagnose and treat you.
It cannot be stressed enough that if you suffer from asthma or allergies, you must take the necessary steps suggested above to keep your home free of mold and dust the best you can.
Waterproofing your basement will help to keep you healthy and prevent any further damage that may have occurred to your belongings.
How do you test for mold and mildew in a basement?
Mold is often easily noticeable, but sometimes small or hidden growths only make a surface look dirty. Test for mold by dipping a swab in diluted bleach (1 part bleach, 16 parts water) and dabbing it on the wall. If the spot quickly lightens (or keeps coming back after cleaning), it is most likely mold. Just to be safe, it’s always best to call a professional.
Mildew is a surface fungus that is often white, gray, or black. Unlike mold, mildew will not cause structural damage to your home. But if you do not address it, it can cause discoloration, staining, and an unpleasant odor. You can test for mildew by dabbing a cotton ball or swabbing in rubbing alcohol and pressing it against the surface. If the area changes color, you most likely have mildew growth.
The difference between mold and mildew is often confusing, but it’s essential to know the difference because they require different cleaning solutions. For example, bleach will kill mold, but mildew can sometimes be removed with just soap and water. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to call a professional.
If you think you may have mold or mildew in your basement, you can do a few things to prevent it from growing.
- Keep the humidity level low by using a dehumidifier or opening windows.
- Make sure there is good ventilation throughout the basement.
- Clean up any water spills immediately.
- Fix any leaks in the walls or floors.
- Don’t store anything wet or damp in the basement.
- Regularly clean mold and mildew with a solution of bleach and water.
If you have mold or mildew in your basement, it’s important to take care of it immediately. Not only will it make your basement smell bad, but it will begin to cause health problems for you and your family. It is a fact that mold and mildew can cause respiratory problems, as we have already mentioned, so do not ignore them.
If you have any questions about mold or mildew in your basement, please don’t hesitate to contact a professional.
How serious is water in a basement?
In conclusion, remember to always keep your home up to date on all safety and health concerns including the health of your basement. If you think there might be a mold or mildew issue, talking to a professional is the best way to get started on fixing the problem. They will be able to help you get rid of the problem and provide solutions to keep your home dry, healthy and safe.
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