How To Prevent Mold in Your Basement Drywall

drywall mold

drywall mold

Our Basement Functioned as a Dehumidifier!
In our first year in our new home, we had one of the hottest most humid summers of all our years here. And within the first week of the first heat wave, we noticed that the rug in the basement was wet! Also, we could feel a dampness on the floor and the walls. Also, the drywall near the floor (pictured left) accumulated some mold from both this humidity and also some previous water leakage. Since it was early in the season, the floor and walls were very cold, with temperatures in the 50′s. And that drywall near the floor was cold as well. The air, however, had a dew point in the low 60′s. What we came to realize is that the floors and walls were acting as a dehumidifier! Incidentally, I replaced the moldy drywall shown – see my drywall repair article with step-by-step instructions, including how to tape and finish damage like this without replacing all the drywall.

Solution #1 – Seal off the Moisture & Use a Dehumidifier
We very quickly realized what was going on, so we shut all the doors and windows leading to the basement, and started up our dehumidifier. Within a day or two, the moisture was gone from the rugs, floor and walls. The air within our basement now was drier and had a dew point lower than the temperature of our walls and floors, so the only condensation that was occurring was on the cooling coils of our dehumidifier. And there is a lot of moisture in humid air – gallons of it!

Solution #2 – Add an AC Unit
One of the problems of a dehumidifier is that it creates a lot of heat from the compressor used to cool its coils. Through the course of a summer, this can result in a basement that starts getting uncomfortably warm. So we bought an AC unit from Sears made to fit in a basement window. It was rated to cool about 800 square feet, which was most of our basement, and more than the area of the finished half. In addition, the AC unit will also condense out moisture from the air, helping to dry it even more. This combination of the dehumidifier, the AC unit, and closing off the basement, resulted in a very dry basement with absolutely no mold problems.

Make Use of Mother Nature, When You Can!
You will find that when the air outside is cool and dry enough, there is no need for the AC unit and the dehumidifier. Watch the dew point, as shown in your local weather conditions – Accuweather.com displays such data. If the dew point is below 50, open up the doors and windows and even place a fan to help push the air through – this can freshen up the basement nicely. Then, as the humidity climbs, shut everything up again and turn your dehumidifier and AC unit back on.

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