Top Ten Steps to Finding Mold in the Basement

1. Follow the smell. Living mold gives off an odor (musty smell) as it digests the wet material it is growing on.

2. Turn all the basement lights on and bring a flashlight. Do not adjust any airflow. Leave windows, fans, and blowers in their normal, everyday positions.

3. Measure the length and width of the basement and, using bits of tape or paper, divide off approximately six equal areas on a floor. Make a sketch on a piece of paper of these six areas and mark them 1- 6.

4. Stand in each of the six areas and smell and look at the nearest wall and ceiling for dark blotches and stains. Record your smells and sightings.

5. Walk to the nearest wall and look closely at discolorations. Look at any stored goods for any signs of staining, blotches, or fuzzy-dusty looking surfaces, especially on cardboard boxes or leather or furniture.

6. If the wall is bare block or cement and has white powdery patches on it. This is not mold. This is almost always mineral salts leached out of the cement due to moisture in the wall. This is the same type of white powder you occasionally see staining red brick fireplace chimneys. Continue reading