A wet basement can be a disaster or it can be an inconvenience. The typical homeowner who faces a disastrous water problem – soaked carpeting, ruined furniture, destruction of stored goods – usually fixes the problem right away.
On the other hand, the homeowner who might be experiencing only a wet concrete wall or floor or, at worst, some damp drywall, might be inclined to just air things out and let it slide. Wishful thinking often creates the false hope that “maybe it will just go away.”
Let’s face it -– the leaky basement is not going to heal itself. It will leak again. What’s worse, allowing even a small leak to continue can create a big problem – mold.
How Does Basement Seepage Cause Mold Growth?
Mold and mildew (mold in its early stages) grow on organic materials that provide food — wood, drywall, wallpaper, carpets, fabric and insulation. Mold reproduces through tiny seeds called spores that travel through the air; mold colonies can take root on a damp surface in only 24 to 48 hours! Mold will destroy any porous surfaces it grows on and will continue to grow as long as it has three things: warmth, moisture and food.
Take away any one of these three things and the mold will stop growing, but it will continue to live. Mold spores will remain dormant, and if the missing element reappears, mold will begin to grow again. In other words, it’s just not going to go away unless you do something about it and that begins with solving the water problem.
This is not just a basement waterproofing company waving a red flag. The National Association of Home Builders also chimes in on basement and crawl space water problems, recommending that homeowners “clean up affected areas as quickly as possible and take immediate steps to resolve the source of the problem.” Not only can the continued exposure to even small amounts of water create mold but it will also rot wood, rust metal and swell and deteriorate drywall.
Even a basement with high humidity, with no apparent leaks, is at risk for mold growth.
Why is Mold in my Basement Dangerous to my Family?
So, what’s the big deal about a little mold? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency points out that not only can mold destroy the items that it colonizes on, but mold spores can create health problems for everyone in your home. Respiratory problems are the most common effect of elevated mold spore counts and are especially troublesome for people with asthma, allergies and immune deficiencies. Exposure to mold can also cause irritation and burning sensation in the eyes, nose, throat and lungs and on the skin.
People with weakened immune systems are at particular risk from mold as they may be more vulnerable to infections when inhaled mold spores start growing in their lungs. Immune-compromised children may be especially vulnerable.
The EPA recommends that if you have a moldy area larger than 10 square feet, you should seek professional help. Mold remediation can be very costly, running into thousands of dollars and you may have to move out of your house while the work is done. Of course, any mold remediation company you hire will want you to fix the leak that started it all; you’ll need an experienced basement waterproofing company for that!
Saving money by not fixing your basement seepage problem may end up costing far more in the long run and can create serious health problems. So why wait? If you have a water problem, consult a professional waterproofing company that can solve your problem in no time.
In our 55 years in the basement waterproofing business, the pros at U.S. Waterproofing have prevented the growth of mold in thousands of homes by repairing basement water seepage promptly and permanently. If you’re wondering whether a small leak in your basement can lead to bigger problems, get in touch for a free consultation.