White mold, much like any other type of toxic mold, only needs two key factors to thrive: moisture and organic materials, such as wood, drywall, fabric, etc. This means that you can find it in various places in your home, such as your laundry room, the attic or your garage.
Whether it is due to water damage or the lack of airflow, the high level of humidity creates the perfect environment for the growth of white mold in your basement.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as mold removal and remediation experts consider toxic mold a health hazard. The spores emanating from mold cause serious health problems and allergic reactions, including skin rash, breathing problems or even asthma attacks for people suffering from this condition. It is important to catch the early signs and act upon them immediately, before they cause any health problems or deteriorate your home.
We have put together a guide that helps you identify white mold, learn what causes it and how you can prevent it.
What is white mold?
Although commonly called ‘white mold’, it is not actually a specific type of mold. Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Cladosporium are all types of mold that appear white. One of the causes is that some spores lack pigmentation due to the material they grow on. Another cause is that some molds look white in the early stage of development and change their color later on, as they produce more spores.
White looking molds are not as well known as black molds or other types of mold, but it is just as dangerous, You can recognize the ‘white mold’ by its powdery and stringy texture. However, that is just the outside look, as white mold grows deep within organic materials.
If you have experienced a flood or any other type of water damage, you will notice the white cottony fungus growing on the organic items that have been affected by the water damage.
Efflorescence versus white mold
Most of the time, white mold might look very similar to efflorescence and it is important to tell them apart. Efflorescence develops when water evaporates from brick or concrete, leaving a salty residue. While it looks unappealing, efflorescence will not cause any damage to your health or the structure of your home.
In order to test if you are dealing with minerals or mold, you can spray a small amount of water and watch the reaction. Efflorescence will dissolve away, mold will not.
Even with that simple test, it is sometimes difficult to tell if it is mold. If you are not sure what type of mold it is, you should immediately call the mold removal and remediation experts to perform tests and get rid of the mold for you.
What causes white mold in the basement?
Your basement is most probably the coolest area in your home. However, concrete is a fairly poor insulator and causes condensation. During the warm season, the outside hot air coming into contact with the cold walls creates moisture droplets that favor mold growth. While concrete itself is not a source for mold growth, the moisture combined with the thin layer of dust that settles on the walls provide the right environment for white mold growth.
The dust on the concrete is a food source for mold. However, it is very unlikely you will clean the walls. Therefore, what you can control is the temperature and humidity level in your basement to prevent the white mold on concrete.
How to prevent white mold in basement
- Fix any leaks or broken pipes as soon as they occur
In case you have experience flooding or some other type of water damage, it is important to fix the leak and also completely dry the basement. Mold can grow within 48 hours from the water damage incident, so you have to act fast. You should call the water damage restoration professionals, as they use advanced equipment and techniques to make sure your basement is completely dry and sanitized.
- Use waterproof materials
Acrylic waterproof paint helps seal and prevent small leaks. You can also use concrete waterproof coatings or silicate concrete sealers.
- Increase the temperature.
Especially during the very hot time of the year, you do not want a very big difference in temperature between your basement and the outside. By increasing the temperature in the basement, the walls will also get warmer and thus you will avoid condensation.
- Use an air-dehumidifier
Ventilation is key in preventing white mold in the basement. You can use an air-dehumidifier to reduce the moisture leading to mold growth. You should also open the window if possible or use an air-purifier to increase the air quality. It is very important to get rid of the musty odor and chemical fumes that may affect your health.
White mold removal in New York
The EPA highly recommends that you contact a professional mold removal and remediation company to assist you with the basement mold removal. Mold removal contractors have the necessary tools and knowledge to identify the mold and remove it for good.
iFlooded Restoration technicians are New York State licensed mold remediation contractors, License #MR01129.
We are certified to perform mold remediation and make sure you and your family are safe from the dangers of mold.
If this is a covered loss, we bill your insurance company directly as soon as your home is mold-free and sanitized. This way, you have one less thing to worry about while you get your life back to normal.
Are you concerned you may have mold in your basement? Give us a call and we’ll perform a free assessment! We serve all 5 boroughs of New York, Westchester, and Long Island.