Crawl spaces tend to be vulnerable to mold accumulation since moisture can easily grow in these areas. The homeowner is usually unaware of such issues brewing within their own confines since those areas aren’t frequently visited. To bypass an expensive crawl space mold removal project in your home keep the following in mind:
Like any area with high levels of humidity and moisture, crawl spaces are susceptible to mold infestation. Research suggests that crawl space mold can be found in approximately 60% of homes!
Why does moisture accumulation happen so frequently in crawl spaces?
Your crawl space is situated beneath your home above dirt and soil, both of which contain moisture. Moisture is one of two elements of mold accumulation, the other being a food source, like wood located in the sub-flooring of a crawl space. Because moisture easily forms in enclosed areas, dirt crawl spaces are typical breeding grounds for mold.
Moisture from dirt generally evaporates into the atmosphere, but can be contained in a sealed space. When moisture isn’t well ventilated, condensation may begin to form on sub-flooring or foundation walls, which might be an issue if the sub-flooring is made of wood.
A couple of things to keep in mind about crawl spaces:
Air travels from bottom to top. As such, moisture accumulated in crawl spaces will naturally ascend to your living spaces (or through the HVAC system), which can lead to mold development in places other than the crawl space.
Standing water in crawl spaces isn’t required to stimulate the growth of mold. Humidity at levels of 60% or higher can trigger crawl space mold growth. High levels of humidity are quite typical in crawl spaces, even without the evidence of a flood!
How can crawl space mold and moisture build-up be reduced?
Inspect the foundation walls to ensure there aren’t any entry points for water to seep through. Also, make sure there aren’t any cracks or holes are present in the crawl space’s ceiling. These openings can be a portal for the transportation of water and mold from the crawl space to your living area.
Ensure that downspouts and gutters carry water away from the home. If this is not done, water may gather near it, and eventually make its way into your crawl space.
Make Good Use of Vents
Make sure you have enough ventilation. At the very least, 1 square footage of ventilation should be present for every 150 square feet of crawl space. Most building professionals suggest controlling moisture and closing vents through alternative methods, as open vents may make it hard to keep crawl spaces warm during cold seasons. They may also contribute to a rise in a build-up of moisture during warm seasons when humid and hot air is delivered into the crawl space.
Though these may all be strong points, it can be troublesome to regulate moisture via alternative approaches without using vents. Further, when mold begins growing, it will spread easier in enclosed areas without vents, in comparison to enclosed spaces with vents. The exterior fresh air emitted from the vents may aid in drying out a structure, and reduce/dilute airborne mold concentrations, post-outbreak.
In crawl spaces that are ventilated, tightly insulate against the sub-floor. The insulation should be secured with a mechanical latch or screw. Refrain from simply clogging up the insulation in the subfloor between the joists, as it will probably fall out without fasteners. The insulation’s vapor barrier section should face the source that’s heated.
Ensure existing insulation isn’t sagging or missing, as either one of those situations could be indicative of a water problem.
Ensure the whole dirt crawl space is covered with plastic sheeting and goes up at least three inches along the walls of the foundation. There should be enough of an overlap between the sheeting layers, which should not contain any standing water. If properly applied, plastic sheeting will act as a vapor shield in your crawl space.
Call a Crawl Space Mold Removal Expert
Use these suggestions to bypass crawl space mold, and be careful as you apply them. The attic and crawl space are full of safety hazards that can lead to bodily harm. If you aren’t experienced in crawl space work or don’t want to do the work yourself, a crawl space mold removal professional can help you instead. It’s not worth putting your safety on the line to save a buck or two.