Is Mold In Your Basement Making You Sick?By
Is Mold In Your Basement Making You Sick?
Musty odors are often the first indication of a moisture/mold problem. Moist, humid basements provide a perfect environment for mold growth. There are plenty of organic materials in a damp basement for mold to feed on: carpeting, cloth, wood, cardboard and drywall just to name a few.
And what’s even worse, mold spores can drift up from your basement into your house and adversely affect your health.
Molds are microscopic organisms that are a type of fungi with over 100,000 species identified. Molds digest organic matter and reproduce by releasing spores. Mold in your basement will produce invisible mold spores that become airborne. These airborne spores then drift upward into your home where you and your family breathe them in. Natural airborne patterns, referred to as the “Stack Effect”, draws air from your basement upwards into your home.
Exposure to mold (through inhaling or touching) can cause irritation of your eyes, nose, skin, throat and lungs. Mold spores can also cause allergic reactions or asthma attacks in sensitive individuals.
Humid basements are a common problem in the United States, in part because of the way basements are designed. The problem can become even worse without the use of basement dehumidifiers to remove the excess moisture. There are several warning signs to alert you that you have a humidity problem in your basement. Visible signs of excessive basement moisture include:
• Condensation on windows
• Peeling paint
• Small black or white spots on walls
• Rusting metal objects
• Warped wood around window sills
• Damp carpets
• Musty odors
Once mold has invaded your home, it can cause a myriad of health problems, depending on your susceptibility. Individuals who are the most vulnerable to mold are those with allergies, asthmatics, those with existing respiratory problems, infants and small children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of exposure to mold include:
• Allergic reactions
• Asthma attacks
• Increased susceptibility to colds and flu
• Increased sinus infections
There are even dangerous strains of mold that can be toxic. Strachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as “black mold”, is a type of toxic mold found in basements. Black mold can be a contributing factor to illnesses like asthma and bronchitis. Symptoms of exposure to toxic mold include:
• Nasal congestion
• Skin irritation
• Eye irritation
• Sinus inflammation
• Sore throat
Mold can have many adverse effects on the health of both you and your family. The best way to keep mold from growing in your basement is to remove the excess moisture from the air. The best way to accomplish this is with a high quality basement dehumidifier. Typical appliance grades dehumidifiers won’t get the job down. Use a basement dehumidifier that is designed especially for harsh basement environments.
About the Author – Chuck Jaymes writes frequently about Basement Dehumidifiers and air quality issues for OscarAir, Inc.