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Mold Prevention Guide

3/19/2024 (Permalink)

Mold on wall Mold on wall around outlets

Why Basement Mold Prevention?

The basement is one of the most common areas for mold to grow in your home. The reason is that in most basements, especially unfinished, there are mold triggers everywhere. There are usually high humidity levels, several places for condensation, congested spaces, leaks and even floods. The only way to prevent mold in your basement is to create an environment that eliminates these types of moisture-inviting scenarios. Continue reading this article for your basement mold prevention tips and tricks!

Monitor Humidity Levels

Mold has a tendency to grow where there are high levels of moisture. This is mostly because it’s spores are everywhere and those spores only need food, oxygen and moisture to grow and become a problem. Since oxygen and mold’s food is found all over your home, the last ingredient to add for a moldy basement is moisture. With that being said, basement mold prevention requires humidity control.

Most experts agree that humidity levels should remain between 30 – 60%. Anything above 60% is feeding grounds for mold. You can check humidity levels by purchasing a hydrometer from a local hardware store. If you test the air in your basement and the humidity level is below 60%, you are safe for the time being. However, you should run this test regularly. During summer months, basement humidity levels tend to rise and can easily creep above 60%. On the contrary, if you test the air and the humidity levels are above 60%, you will probably need to purchase a dehumidifier.

How to Choose a Dehumidifier

When choosing a dehumidifier, be sure that you are choosing one that is sufficiently sized for your basement. When shopping for a dehumidifier, also keep in mind how often you will be able to monitor the water levels. Some dehumidifiers use a draining feature which allows for continuous operation but requires a floor-level water drain. If you don’t have access to a floor-level drain and want to avoid regularly checking the water levels, consider a dehumidifier that pumps water vertically into a sink.


Another important step in basement mold prevention is to keep your basement organized. People around the world use their basement as a storage space for old clothes, shoes, papers, etc. That can turn into a moldy mess if not done correctly. Most of the items that people store into the basement contain porous materials, such as cloth, books, carpet, wooden materials, etc. These items cluttered together will block airflow, reduce ventilation and begin to dampen. When porous materials dampen, they soak and hold the moisture. This creates the perfect environment for mold growth.

The first thing that you should do if you use your basement for storage is to check the piles and clutter regularly for things that can be thrown out. Another method to uncluttering your basement would be to use plastic totes. Plastic totes are made of a non-porous material that will keep the materials inside dry.

Keep the Rain Out

As you know by now, basement mold prevention is pretty hard when you have moisture. Rain water, and other water sources from outdoors, can become a nightmare if they have access to the basement. If you want to keep the water out, you will have to direct the water away. There are two ways to do this.

  • Make sure that the ground your home sits on slopes away from the property. By making sure that the ground slopes away, you will prevent rain, snow and other water sources, such as lawn sprinklers, from creating puddles against your home. With consistency, sitting water around your home will eventually find or create an access point and begin to leak into your basement. Consider hiring an outdoor maintenance man that can develop a slope in the ground surrounding the property. If you would like to save some money on this, consider making it a do-it-yourself project.
  • Make sure that your downspouts are functioning correctly at all times. Before you worry so much about the downspouts, check your gutters frequently. Keep your gutters free from leaves and other debris so that it efficiently collects and processes the water through the downspout. If you don’t want to check your gutters on a frequent basis, you may want to consider a leaf guard. Another way to enhance your downspout is to install an extension. This is ideal for homes that do not sit on a slope. An extension will direct water even further away from your home and lower the chances of water leaking in.


Healthy air flow throughout the basement will help keep humidity levels down. This is vital for basement mold prevention. You can accomplish a healthy airflow system by regularly using fans and / or opening windows. This will allow humid air to escape and fresh air to come in. Some basements are known to house laundry rooms, full bathrooms and sometimes even full kitchens. If your basement has a dryer, stove, shower or bathing tub, be sure that they all are ventilating outdoors.

For clothes dryers, regularly check to make sure that it is not clogged with lint. Do this by running the dryer, going outdoors and checking to be sure that air is successfully flowing through the vent. If not, you may need to unclog the vent. 


Insulate cold surfaces within your basement, such as water pipes and windows to prevent condensation. As warm air meets these cold surfaces, the moisture in the air begins to vaporize against the cold surface and create condensation. Eventually this water drips into your floor, window seal or other surfaces that are directly below and creates a mold-friendly situation. The moisture can also re-evaporate and promote high humidity levels. In order to prevent condensation on cold pipes, use an insulation pipe cover. For window insulation, you can use plastic, such as bubble wrap, to seal around the window and prevent the warm air from indoors from getting to the window. 

Eliminate Plants

Yes, indoor plants have many benefits. However, in a high-humidity environment such as your basement, plants can create the perfect environment for mold growth. Plants and mold share one common need that usually attracts mold. Water. Lots and lots of water. Plant soil provides a great food and water source for mold to grow. Mold growth with the plant can easily spread throughout the basement, especially when the mold spores within the soil becomes disturbed.


Now that you have these basement mold prevention tips to work with, put them to use. At least the ones that work for your home. As we have found that most problems are preventable with simple prevention methods. However, once it grows, there’s no going back easily.

SERVPRO of Mt. Pleasant, Clare and Houghton Lake can help repair any damage due to a mold issue. Give us a call 24/7 @ 989-775-5065. 

Is your business SERVPRO Ready?

3/6/2024 (Permalink)

Branded broken pipe Broken pipe spraying water with the SERVPRO logo on it

Many businesses have some sort of plan in place to give them and their employees an outline of what to do in case of a catastrophic event such as a tornado, hurricane, fires, etc. But does your business have a plan for a broken pipe, toilet overflow or backed up drain line, etc. Companies typically do not think of these things and unfortunately don't have a plan in place these for these types of issues. 

SERVPRO of Mt Pleasant, Clare and Houghton Lake can help provide a FREE plan for you. With our Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) we will gather all the information needed and keep it in our file so when an event does happen we are already prepared with all the important information needed to optimize our time on-site. This profile allows us to get into your business faster and we are able to get it cleaned up quicker to get things back up and running! 
Call 989-775-5065 or visit us at to set up a time for your Emergency Ready Profile. We look forward to hearing from you!  

Soot Tags not Cobwebs

3/5/2024 (Permalink)

Soot web Soot tag or soot web after a fire

There is a common misconception when walking into a house after a fire, when you look up you see, what look like, black spider webs. They definitely look similar, however, these webs weren't there before the fire occurred. 

Soot tags also known as smoke webs form when there is incomplete combustion during a fire. Small particles of carbon and tar release into the air and then when they cool, they stick to surfaces in low circulation areas. You usually find them in the corners of ceilings and on the underside of upper cabinets. 

When the cleaning process starts soot tags are easily removed using a process starting with hepa vacuuming, using a chem sponge to remove excess soot and then wet cleaning the affected area. 

Residential Cleaning

3/17/2023 (Permalink)

Spring is coming, warmer temps will soon be upon us and we will be ready to open the windows and let some fresh air in. Then when you open them and see all the dirt and debris that could be left over from the fall and winter months. Once you clean the window track out you start to notice all the things left behind from the cold weather months. Now starts the spring cleaning and now starts the feeling of being overwhelmed. Or you may have a cottage or cabin you are ready to open up for the summer months on the lake, you let that musty air out and start to freshen things up, you can quickly realize how long it may take to get things ready. Another reason you may need to get your residence clean is if you're ready to sell your home. 

No matter the reason you are ready to get into some spring cleaning you can call the professionals at SERVPRO of Mt Pleasant, Clare and Houghton Lake to help get your property ready. We have the experience and equipment necessary to get your home clean and for the summer, cottage season, or ready to hit the market. 

The Benefits of Having a Plan

3/16/2023 (Permalink)

Would your business know what to do if there was a fire or flood? Many times losses like this happen when you are not around such as a vacation, middle of the night, etc. While you are not there, would your staff or employees know how to stop a broken pipe from causing more damage, would they know who to call? 

In many cases the business I speak to does not have a plan in place or it may be part of a plan but not well thought out. I have seen business' take a very long time to get the doors back open and operational and sometimes this loss can cause the business to never re-open to seeing a business with a plan have things in order and doors re-open 4-5 days after a fire. As their clients came back I overheard many say, " you would never know there was a fire here" . 

Here are a few things to consider when putting together a plan: 

-does your plan cover everything? Some things we think of are common events, wind damage, roof damage, power outage, etc. But have you thought of what to do after a fire, after a flood? 

-Do you have things in place to have your building put back together in case of fire or major water loss? Most times we can get things cleaned up rather quickly, but in recent times it seems to take a long time to get things put back together. 

- do you have a list of important contacts? This can be a list of who can make decisions on what to do, insurance contacts and emergency contacts and info. 

As you think of if your plan is complete or could use some work, call SERVPRO of Mt Pleasant, Clare and Houghton Lake to help assist with this. We have have a template that we can put info, pictures, contacts, etc into an electronic and paper form to have and will help go through the place with staff so everyone knows what to do in case a loss should happen. 

Are your electrical cords safe

3/6/2023 (Permalink)

I always make the joke of electrical outlets and cords looking like the Griwswold's on National Lampoons Christmas vacation. But more times than not I end up seeing extension cords plugged into more extension plugged into cord that have wires showing and perhaps duct tape holding those together and more times than not this ends up being the cause of fires in a house or business. Another cause I see are cords being overloaded. I've seen two or more space heaters plugged into one extension cord that causes it to be overworked and lead to fires. Here are a few tips to being safe when using electrical cords: 

- Do not use extension cords to plug into a power strip

-Do no overload outlets( the Griswold effect)  or extension cords with too many appliances or overload the capacity of the cord

-Never use staples or nails to attach cords to a surface

-Make sure there is no crimping

-Never run a cord under a rug . It prevents the cord from releasing heat and can cause a fire. 

Is your house prepared for Freezing Temps

3/6/2023 (Permalink)

Recently numerous areas of the United Stated experienced freezing temps that they are not prone to seeing. In Nashville, TN temps around the holidays dipped into the single digits and some below zero. In an area that is not prepared for this it can cause widespread damage and a lot of it. Even if you are in a region that is prepared for freezing temps that normally occur, if your home or insulation are not prepared for it, it can also cause widespread damage. Most recently SERVPRO of Mt Pleasant, Clare and Houghton Lake helped home and business owners in the NE portion of the nation with a freeze even though they had. Prolonged freezing temps cause pipes to break and cause flooding throughout many residences and businesses. 

As soon as SERVPRO of Mt Pleasant, Clare and Houghton Lake got the ask to help, we dispatched teams and were heading out to help. Crews work extended hours to get wet affected material out of homes and businesses to get the residents back to their everyday life. 

Spring Thaw

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

Another winter is coming to an end here in Michigan. As temps start to climb and the snow depth disappear many of us will start to look at what we can do around our homes to be prepared for the spring thaw. 

After a long and cold winter the ground will still have frost in it and a fast warm up followed with rain can cause flooding. Here are some steps that can help prevent a flood in your home. 

-Clean out gutters and Downspouts- also done in the fall to prepare for winter, there can still be leaves and debris that get in there and can cause a failure in the gutter system. If the snow melt and rain cannot properly flow it can backed up and flow into your house, down the walls, floors and into your basement. 

-Sump Pump- be sure your sump pump is working properly and you have a backup in case power should failure. With the frost still in the ground, water can sit on top or worse, find a way into your basement. If this is the case, your sump pump working properly can get the water out of your basement and protect your belongings. 

- Basement Storage- Good to have all year long, storing your items that in your basement in water proof storage and on shelving off of the floor. If flooding does occur, this will help save your items from being damaged beyond repair. 

If a flooding event should happen at your property this spring, call the experts at SERVPRO of Mt Pleasant, Clare and Houghton Lake to get your properly dried out. 

Is Your Fireplace Clean

1/31/2022 (Permalink)

Chimney Fire This was caused by a Chimney Fire

How often do you have your fireplace cleaned? Do you have it cleaned by a professional or do you do it yourself? 

However you have it cleaned you want to make sure its done properly and done often. Having a nice warm fire in your home or cabin can be nice to come back too, but if it is not properly maintained, it can lead to a disaster. Creosote can build in your chimney and lead to a fire that can  get out of control very quick. The damage in limited to just your chimney and fireplace. If it grows to quick it can quickly burn your walls and roof, soot will spread throughout your house and if the fire department is called out, they can quickly soak your house leading to a water damage as well. 

If this unfortunate loss should happen to you, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Mt Pleasant, Clare and Houghton Lake, 989-775-5065.  

Is Your Business Prepared For Freezing Weather

1/31/2022 (Permalink)

Drying Carpet A burst pipe caused this business to flood, Drying Equipment set to help start the drying process

Over time Plumbing can become weak and wore down. Sometimes the insulation around the pipes may not be as efficient as it once was. If this should happen and plumbing happens to be on an exterior wall, it can lead to a frozen pipe and once the temperature rises, it can burst, causing water to go everywhere. It does not take a big crack in a pipe to allow gallons and gallons of water to come out. Damage that can happen from this can be as small as some flooring that needs to come to multiple floors of flooring, walls, insulation and ceilings that need to come out and be repaired. 

If this loss should happen to you, call SERVPRO of Mt Pleasant, Clare and Houghton Lake. We have the experience and know how to get you dried out and get your doors back open quicker.  We understand that the longer it takes to get the water dried out, the longer it can take to get back to business.