A basement can be a wonderful addition to your house, or it can be the source of all of your miseries. Even when you turn off the lights and close the doors, the horrors of the basement can sometimes make themselves known throughout the rest of the house. While there are many terrible things that go wrong in the average basement, these are the top five problems that you will want to avoid:
• Flooding and wet basements
• Foundation cracks
• Weird smells
You might notice that some of these are connected to the others. For instance, you can get weird smells because of pests, mold, and wetness. A crack in the foundation can allow water to seep in, which can lead to mold. Pests can use that same crack to gain entry and set up their new home. While they are connected, we will treat each like a separate issue.
Flooding and Wet Basements
Some homes are more prone to flooding or wet basements than others. But don't think that because you live on a hill or are nowhere near a water source that you are in the clear. Flooding can happen anywhere and at any time, and it is important to know how serious a problem this can be as well as how to handle it.
• Flooding is often not covered by a standard insurance policy. You must buy a flood specific policy, especially if you live in a flood plain.
• Prolonged exposure to flood waters can increase the risk of damage to appliances in the basement as well as heating and cooling systems and more.
• Flood waters can warp basement floors and walls.
• Water increases the risk of mold.
• Some flood waters carry bacteria that can lead to serious illness, especially if the cleanup is not handled correctly.
Whether it is a bit of water or several feet, the first step will be to remove all water in the basement and dry the area up. In most cases you'll want a professional to do this for you. Sanitizing the area with bleach is vital to kill any spores or bacteria that might be left behind. If the damage is extensive, floors and walls may need to be replaced.
All electrical outlets and all systems that are in the basement will have to be carefully assessed for damage. If there is any doubt about their safety, have them replaced before using them.
Once the water has been removed and the cleanup has been completed, it is important to waterproof the area. This can be done by the homeowner or by a professional.
There are various types of mold, including the "dangerous" black mold. Most experts agree that with some rare exceptions, the dangers of mild to moderate black mold are limited to extra work rather than to real health problems. However, there are people, including those with heightened sensitivities and weakened immune systems, that can be endangered by this and other types of mold. You will first know that you have mold in your basement by the smell. It typically grows where it is damp, dark, and warm, but it can handle cooler temperatures. Some types of mold will grow fine in the light. Nearly all types will have a musty, unpleasant smell that can be detected throughout the house, especially once the heat is turned on.
Many of the materials found in the basement are favorites of most molds. You will see the powdery spots on various places. It is important to get rid of the mold as soon as you find itand to treat the area to prevent the mold from coming back. In some cases, you may need to cut the drywall out and replace it. Keeping the basement as dry as possible is key to minimizing the risk of mold.
This post was written by Goldleaf Partners.
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