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Is Your Wet Basement Harboring Mold?

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Control Moisture to Eliminate Mold Danger

For many of us, the term mold conjures images of a blueish loaf of bread decaying on the kitchen counter. At Blue Umbrella Waterproofing, we deal with more dangerous types of mold that grow in damp basements and crawl spaces. Some of these molds contaminate indoor air quality and pose a genuine health risk to occupants.

You may have mold in your basement if:

  • The space smells musty.
  • You find pooling caused by rising groundwater, slab or wall infiltration or leaky windows.
  • Your basement has flooded during rain and hail storms.
  • Your house suffers from condensation due to excessive humidity and poor ventilation.

If you suspect basement mold growth, the first step is to call a water restoration specialist or waterproofing professional. In the meantime, here are a few signs to watch for:

  • Nasty smell blowing from HVAC vents. Basement AC units can harbor mold, and mold spores can spread through your ventilation system. A technician will look for mold or corrosion and thoroughly clean your HVAC unit during scheduled AC and heating inspections. 
  • Black, green, white or brown spots. Mold comes in a spectrum of colors and often grows in round patches. Common mold indicators are pink or yellowish stains on drywall or slimy green and black patches growing on basement surfaces. White, fuzzy spots may be mold but could also be efflorescence. Efflorescence is a chalky white mineral residue that appears after water seeps through foundation or basement walls. It is not related to mold, but it does indicate the presence of moisture. (Homeowner hint: If you’re unsure whether white spots in your basement are mold or efflorescence, mist them with water. Efflorescence dissolves when water is applied to the surface, while mold does not.)
  • Damp, warped or peeling wallboard & paint. When water gets behind wallpaper or paint, it causes bubbling or damaged wall surfaces. Peeling or damaged walls mean that there is moisture in your space—and moisture is a precursor to mold growth.
  • Constant runny nose or cold symptoms. Some Blue Umbrella customers complain of long-lasting head colds or year-round allergies. If you are allergic to mold or there is a more toxic form of mold in your home, you may feel like you have a perpetual cold.
  • Illness & respiratory distress. Some people’s exposure to molds causes symptoms like wheezing, asthma attacks, throat irritation, dermatitis and red or itchy eyes. Individuals with weakened immunity and those who have asthma may react with extreme shortness of breath, fevers and other severe symptoms.
  • Long-term leaks & moisture problems. Perpetually leaky basements with condensation, storm damage or water infiltration are almost sure to have some degree of mold growth. Contact a basement waterproofing specialist if you have ongoing water problems in your Union County basement.

Possible Consequences of NJ Mold Growth

There are countless reports of severe illness tied to mold-damaged buildings. According to the American Society for Microbiology, valid concerns exist between indoor mold exposure and disease since some types of mold are human pathogens. Other types of mold produce mycotoxins, which can lead to chronic illness.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AHIA) says leading organizations agree that working or living in a mold-damaged building may increase the risk of respiratory disease. “Mold and fungal spores occur naturally outdoors, where fungi are the earth’s most important recyclers. Indoors, mold needs moisture to grow; it becomes a problem only where there is water damage, elevated and prolonged humidity, or dampness.”

Black Mold: Is It Really Hazardous?

Toxic black mold is of particular concern to NJ homeowners. Black molds like Stachybotrys chartum are found in grain, soil, water-damaged buildings and areas with high moisture and poor ventilation. S. chartum has been linked to claims of health problems since the 1930s. Scientists still debate black mold as a cause of “sick building syndrome,” but there is no question some people are vulnerable to S. chartum and similar pathogens.

“These molds are not dangerous in themselves, but they can release harmful toxins into the surrounding environment. Inhaling these toxins may lead to certain health effects and symptoms. People with lung disease or weakened immune systems tend to have a higher risk of experiencing these effects,” says Medical News Today (Oct. 2018).

Blue Umbrella Solves Basement Mold Problems

Blue Umbrella Waterproofing technicians routinely find mold growth in Union County wet basements and crawl spaces. This is a health concern for everyone and is especially concerning in homes with small children, aging adult residents, asthma sufferers and immune-compromised family members. If mold is a symptom of your wet basement problem, it’s important to address both the mold and the moisture source fueling it.

Based on what doctors know about mold symptoms in some individuals, mold removal should be left to skilled professionals to prevent hazardous spores from entering the air you breathe. Blue Umbrella Waterproofing recommends basement waterproofing solutions and partners with highly qualified mold mitigation specialists to restore your house to the safe-haven it once was.

Learn more about Blue Umbrella owner Steve Karlik and his experienced basement waterproofers on our About page, or call 908.432.8858 to request a no-obligation waterproofing consultation or inquire about mold removal in Union County.

Steve Karlik
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