Have you ventured underneath your house only to find there is mold in the crawl space? If so, you are far from the only one.
Crawl space mold is very common, because the environment created by such spaces is unfortunately a perfect breeding ground for it. Crawl spaces are damp, have oxygen, and food sources for mold that come from the ground or even the wood framing and building materials of the house itself. Even with a vapor barrier, moisture and mold spores can still make their way into your crawl space. If that happens, you could have a big problem on your hands.
If you find mold in your crawl space, you want to ensure that you address the problem as soon as possible. It can quickly move from the crawlspace into your home if left unchecked, and that means you can have a mold infestation on your hands in no time. Fortunately, there are solutions to end your crawl space mold problem and repair your crawl space.
What is Crawl Space Mold?
The mold in your crawl space may be one of a number of different types. Mold spores are found commonly in the air and soil. A few of the common environmental molds you may find in your crawl space and house are:
Each of these different types of mold are commonly found in the environment. The spores from these different mold species can live and travel in the air, and in the soil. Unfortunately, the environment in crawl spaces provides a perfect place for mold growth to flourish.
Mold requires moisture to grow which tends to be plentiful in crawl spaces. Water damage, plumbing leaks, or water seeping in through the foundation walls can all contribute to moisture problems underneath your house. Mold feeds on the sugar and starch that is found in wood, called cellulose, which is usually found in the structural elements underneath houses. With these conditions, mold growth can happen fast.
Many types of mold can be hazardous to human and animal health, so you want to be sure to get rid of any mold before it has a chance to spread into your home. Crawl space mold has a number of adverse effects including:
Exposure to mold can be hazardous for humans and pets. In some individuals, mold can cause allergies, headaches, and other potentially severe respiratory problems. Symptoms may be mild, but if an individual is particularly susceptible to mold they can become more severe and include fever and difficulty breathing.
The moisture required for mold to grow can also mean a host of other issues. In addition to an unpleasant musty smell, the presence of moisture can also indicate a risk for wood rot. This can cause serious structural problems.
Mold is also more likely to grow around areas with an active leak or water damage and can therefore be symptomatic of other issues that may go unnoticed for long periods of time.
What Causes Crawl Space Mold?
If crawl space mold is so common, where does it come from? Mold is found naturally in the environment, which means it can grow just about anywhere there is moisture and a food source. Some of the most common causes of crawl space mold are:
- Standing water in the crawl space
- Water leaks from plumbing
- A compromised vapor barrier (or lack of a vapor barrier)
- Cracks in foundation walls
The presence of moisture, spores, and food sources such as floor joists or other building materials creates an environment that makes it easy for mold to grow and spread.
3 Steps to Eliminate Crawl Space Mold
The surest way to get rid of mold entirely is to call a mold remediation company. A professional has an arsenal of tools that they can use to ensure that mold is eliminated. Some important steps need to be taken to ensure that mold is removed completely, including:
1. Determine the source of the moisture problem and find a solution.
If you don’t get rid of the moisture, the mold will just come back. If the source of the moisture is a leak or flooding issue then it’s important for that to be addressed before anything else can be done. Whether is be sealing the crawl space or another professional method, it is important to find a solution that eliminates the moisture problem.
2. Dry out the area.
Drying the area won’t necessarily kill the mold, but without moisture, it won’t be able to grow. Depending on the source of the moisture there are different ways to dry the area out. If the crawl space has standing water or flooding, a sump pump may be used to remove the excess water.
If the source of the moisture issues is inside the house, such as a plumbing leak, dehumidifiers may be used to help remove moisture from the air inside the house and keep it from seeping down into the crawlspace.
3. Treat the area.
Although it is commonly believed that if you find mold you should spray it with bleach, it is not registered with the EPA to kill mildew and mold. Bleach is also very corrosive and should not be used for this purpose. So, what can you use to eliminate mold?
There are several products on the market that are approved by the EPA for mold disinfectant and removal. It is important to use the right product to ensure that the mold is killed down to the spore and prevent future mold growth.
Get Professional Help with Crawl Space Mold
Unfortunately, finding mold in crawl spaces is very common and spores can be found just about anywhere. As common a problem as it is, it is still important to deal with any mold problems as quickly as possible. By letting crawl space mold grow unchecked, it may be allowed to spread into your home which can have negative effects on you and your family’s health as well as being associated with long-term structural problems.
Contact LUX Foundation Solutions today to speak with an expert about any crawl space mold questions you may have.