Case Studies

Mold Solutions by Cowleys Case Studies: High humidity triggers mold growth in Matawan, NJ basement.

Thursday, July 19th, 2018 by Michael Senz


Homeowners recently purchased a home with a full finished basement in Matawan NJ. As soon as temperatures warmed over the summer months, they started having humidity issues in their basement. Hoping to alleviate the problem they went out a purchased a standard dehumidifier from a big box store to reduce the indoor humidity levels. It didn’t work. As these homeowners found out the hard way, these store-bought machines simply aren’t designed and built to work in those areas of the home like basements and crawl spaces. These are especially challenging areas of the home when it comes to humidity levels, and the difference in humidity levels, especially during the summer months, compared to the above-grade living areas of the home is substantial. 

Unfortunately, it did not take long for the chronically high humidity levels in the basement to trigger mold growth. The only good news was that there wasn’t too much ruined furniture. Since the homeowners recently moved in, they only had one piece of furniture in the basement that had been removed before we arrived. The furniture had trapped moisture on the carpet underneath as well as where it was touching the wall trim — and mold formed on both the carpeting and along the baseboard molding. 


The homeowners contacted Mold Solutions by Cowleys to treat the mold and install a commercial-grade dehumidification system that would help prevent future mold growth by effectively keeping down humidity levels where mold would not form. We treated the basement mold with an EPA-registered antimicrobial (MAPS 1) followed by a patented sealant that encapsulates the mold, killing it at the cellular level and rendering it harmless and nonallergenic. With our treatment process we kill the mold right where it sits and avoid tear-outs of building material that have not been damaged by mold. The homeowners decided to replace all of the basement carpeting and asked us to cut out and remove the mold-damaged section of the carpet, which we gladly did. 

Dehumidification is the most important long-term preventative measure for removing excess moisture from the air and preventing mold growth. To that end, we installed a SaniDry XP dehumidifier, which is specifically designed for larger square footage basements. (For crawl spaces and mid-sized basements, SanDry makes a more compact CX model.) SaniDry commercial-grade dehumidifiers operate in temperatures as low as 40 degrees F, and are much more powerful and made with top-quality worry-free components. They are a world apart from the “off the rack” generic dehumidifiers offered at hardware or department stores. If necessary, the SaniDry machines can extracting close to 14 gallons of water per day at 80 degrees F. They are maintenance-free and automatically, turn on and off using a built-in hygrometer. When installing these machines, we connected them directly into the sump pump or drainage system, so there is no water tray to worry about emptying or overflowing. By maintaining a maximum humidity level of 55%, there is not enough air moisture for mold to take hold. Perhaps most important is family health. By removing mold spores and other particulate matter, these machines dramatically improve indoor air quality. 

Since this was a finished basement, we installed the dehumidifier with a ducting kit so that it could be hidden, but still do its job keeping down humidity levels. Now, with the mold treated and the dehumidification system in place, these homeowners will be able to enjoy their basement and the rest of their new home.


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