I went to visit my 86-year-old mom over the holidays. She is a widow and lives in Nebraska. She is a pristine housekeeper, but she has been ill with one thing or another since July. She has an iron absorption problem and it is slowing her down while the doctors try to fix it. She and my dad built the home in 1994. It is a ranch with a finished basement – not a walk out.
I visit a few times a year and stay in the basement bedroom. A few years ago I had noticed a little mildew on some books on a bookshelf in the basement. My mom noticed it too and I helped her buy a dehumidifier. I never noticed more than a small problem in all these years – even before the dehumidifier. However, on this visit I discovered mildew/mold growing all over the place in the basement:eek:. Every wooden piece of wood had some including the headboard of my bed:eek::eek:. A table and set of 6 chairs were particularly bad.
There are two storage areas. The one with the furnace looked all right, but I noticed the steel beam and one of the supports was rusty. The other storage area had mold/mildew on everything – fortunately there isn’t much in there. I bought Clorox wipes, mold killing/preventative spray, mask, disposable gloves etc and set to work. I cleaned everything but some of the storage room which my sisters are going to clean. My sinus were killing me before I discovered the mold, but fine after I cleaned it up.
Mom had not run the dehumidifier this past summer because she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to go down and empty the water. Still – there was never mildew like that before. Mom said she got a new furnace last year – I don’t know the size or brand. I connected a hose to the dehumidifier and ran it to the drain and turned it on.
I could see no sign of water leaking into the basement except I was unsure of the storage room wall (see pic). The drywall was fine and carpet looked OK. I told my sisters to check it out after any big rains this spring and to check for mildew / mold re-growth. There is a sump pit, but no pump (at least I didn’t see one), but also no sign of overflow. There are cracks in the floor, but no sign of water intrusion. The walls look good but outer corners show peeling paint and possible rust.
My questions are: 1) Is there any other cleaning that needs to be done in the basement (other than the storage room)? The carpet looked fine but I’m not sure. Air vents cleaned? Other? 2) Any ideas as to why this suddenly became such a huge problem – the new furnace maybe?
A few pictures:
Furnace room – rusty beam:
Wall in storage room. Is that dampness?
Not very pretty mold/mildew:
Wall corner. The peeling rusty area is at the outer corner next to a short wall (which looks a lighter color – a little deceiving in the pic.