Mold is one of the most common problems that all homeowners face sooner or later. Unfortunately, it is inevitable in some cases, especially when it comes to areas of the house that cannot be easily reached such as the crawl space. The biggest mistake people make is that they really don’t care about this issue until it spreads to the living area and turns the entire property into a health hazard.
You are probably familiar with issues that mold spores can cause. In a nutshell, it can affect everything, from the house’s structure to your family’s health. In the following article, we will discuss some common causes of mold in this area. We will tell you how to recognize it and eventually remove it and prevent it from occurring again.
Factors that promote mold growth
First things first, let’s discuss some usual causes of mold infection in the crawlspace. You will see that these also encourage infection in other areas of your home, meaning that your crawlspace requires the same care as the basement, attic, and every other room.
Leaky pipes don’t only require significant funds to be repaired, but they are also a continuous source of water, which easily creates the perfect breeding ground for mold spores. We are not even going to discuss the damage water can cause to insulation and foundation walls. What’s more, sometimes, leaky pipes don’t have to be located in your home. Even underground ones installed near the house can cause a serious problem. Naturally, this is true only if the damage is severe, meaning that the soil cannot absorb all the water.
Water in the crawlspace
This brings us to the next probable cause. Now, on some occasions, water can accumulate in the crawlspace. The first reason may be the leaky pipes, and if you determine this to be the cause, you will have to do the necessary repairs. Why? Well, the water won’t recede on its own simply because more of it will keep coming.
On the other hand, this issue can also occur due to heavy rainfall. In this case, water will probably recede on its own, but if you notice that this is a lengthy process, you should inspect the drainage system. In addition, sometimes, water from the gutters can also reach the crawlspace, so you have to redirect them away from the house if necessary.
Moisture is, without a doubt, the most common cause of mold. Obviously, moisture can occur due to the standing water or leaky pipes in the walls and crawlspace. Nevertheless, it can also evaporate from the soil. That’s right. Just because the water receded and there are no visible puddles, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it cannot cause any issue. Because of this, proper ventilation is of crucial importance. The golden rule is to have 1 square foot of ventilation per 150 square feet of the crawlspace.
Furthermore, ventilation ducts can also significantly increase the levels of moisture and humidity in the crawlspace. How? Well, the system takes the cold air and leads it to your air conditioning system and then into your home. However, at the same time, it discharges the warm air from the house and into the crawlspace. It goes without saying that it won’t take long for humidity to increase, especially if there is a water source nearby. To prevent this from happening, you have to make sure that these ducts dispense the air outside.
Now, the insulation can fall due to numerous reasons. Maybe it got damaged by water, or rodents ate their way through it. Whatever the reason, once this happens, you can almost be certain that the mold will start developing and growing. Not only that, but it will also be easy for it to spread to your main floor and go to the walls and ceilings from there. Why? Well, simply because insulation won’t act as a shield anymore.
How to eliminate and prevent it?
The best way to prevent mold from spreading and infecting your home is to inspect this area regularly. First of all, you should examine whether the water accumulates in the crawlspace. White chalk marks on the foundation walls are the most apparent signs of this issue. If you notice these, you should upgrade the drainage system and check the gutters immediately.
Similarly, you have to explore the area for the signs of moisture. You can start by looking for discoloration of the walls. Then, you should see if they are dump, which you can do just by touching them. Naturally, you cannot forget to inspect the wood.
Moreover, you should also investigate insulation thoroughly and look for any openings or cracks in the walls. If there is hanging or fallen insulation, make sure to replace it as soon as possible because otherwise, you risk facing the above-mentioned problems.
Finally, if you already have mold in your crawlspace, you have to eliminate it. Now, many people want to do this own on their own, but the truth is that this task should be performed by professionals. Not only do they have the appropriate equipment, meaning that they will finish the job quickly and efficiently, but they are also familiar with the risks of dealing with the spores and know how to protect themselves.
Crawl space encapsulation
Once you complete this task, you should consider crawlspace encapsulation. It is one of the best ways to prevent mold from developing and spreading in the future. This entire process consists of few steps like cleaning the debris, removing mold, installing new insulation, liners, and vents to barricade the crawlspace and eliminate any environmental factors. Lastly, they have to install dehumidifiers that will check the humidity level in the area and regulate it.
The prevention of mold growth is not the only benefit of this process. It will also increase the air quality in your home and prolong the life of the foundation walls since there won’t be any water or moisture to cause structural damage. The same thing is true when it comes to the HVAC system and wiring, insulation, and flooring.