Finding mold in crawl space at home is a common problem for homeowners and business owners. If you have noticed signs of mold in your home, it is time to get a mold inspection. Once mold in a crawl space or basement is allowed to develop, it can quickly spread. Without proper treatment, mold can lead to property damage and health issues.
What Causes Mold to Develop in Crawl Spaces and Basements?
There are a number of reasons why you may develop mold in crawl space or basement areas. Out of your entire home, these areas are the most likely places for mold to develop. In addition, many families do not spend a lot of time in their crawl spaces, so you are unlikely to notice that mold is starting to grow until it is too late. There are a variety of reasons why mold can develop in these areas, and there are also ways you can prevent this from happening.
Condensation and Humidity on the Concrete Floor
If your basement or crawl space has a concrete floor, condensation could cause mold to grow. Basements and crawl spaces generally have cold walls. Heated, indoor air leads to condensation on cold walls and concrete foundations. Before long, this added humidity and condensation leads to additional mold growth.
Another common cause of mold is a cracked foundation. When a building is about 20 to 30 years old, the concrete may shift or crack. Once the foundation is cracked, water can penetrate your home and cause mold to germinate.
Basement flooding is a major cause behind mold development. This can happen during a power outage after a storm. If you have an old sump pump, it can also lead to basement flooding.
Ultimately, the main reason why mold develops is because of water. Humidity, moisture and condensation allow mold to develop inside of your home. While many crawl spaces are designed with a vapor barrier, this is not true for every crawl space.
Is Mold In Crawl Space Dangerous?
Ignoring mold in your crawl space can lead to major problems over time. While mold tends to grow fairly slowly, it can gradually become an expensive, difficult problem to treat. Other than the negative impact on your health, mold and mildew can lead to thousands of dollars in property damage. Over time, they can even destroy your structure completely.
When it comes to your health, mold can cause a range of ailments. If there is mold present in your home, you may develop wheezing, coughing or eye irritation. Mold can cause major issues like toxic mold syndrome and respiratory distress. It is particularly dangerous for young children who still have developing lungs. People who have lung issues and the elderly are also strongly affected by mold. Mold can cause asthma attacks and life-threatening allergic reactions.
How Do I Get Rid of Mildew and Mold in Crawl Space?
Some people try to treat mold with vinegar or tea tree oil. While this may work if you have a single spot of mold, major outbreaks need more intensive treatment. Getting a mold inspection can help you determine the extent of your outbreak.
You should initially start with mold testing from a professional testing company. Ideally, you should use a company that only does testing and not remediation. By using separate companies for testing and remediation, you prevent conflicts of interest and keep your remediation company honest.
Major outbreaks are almost impossible to handle on your own. To remove mold, you need protective gear because removing mold disturbs mold spores. You need masks, gloves and other protective clothing before you start any project involving mold removal.
If you hire a remediation company, they will apply a product in the affected area to kill the mold. For contained areas, they may even use a fogging machine. Once the mold is killed, the remediation company may need to clean up any remaining stains. If there is some damage to the home’s walls, ceiling or floors, repair work may need to be done as well.
How Do I Prevent Mold Growth?
Once you have removed the mold from your crawl space, you need to prevent it from returning. Areas like crawl spaces, attics and basements tend to trap humidity. This makes them prone to mold issues. To prevent future problems, you need to install a vapor barrier that keeps moisture out of your crawl space.
It is also important to look for the source of your mold. Proper ventilation on either side of the crawl space can provide airflow. The added airflow can stop mold from growing. If you have a cracked foundation, you need to fix the cause of the problem to keep mold from returning.
In some cases, the only way to prevent mold growth is with a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier works to remove moisture from the air. By doing this, it can prevent mold from growing in your crawl space. The following tips are fast, effective ways to prevent mold from growing.
- Look at your foundation walls to check for cracks.
- Check to see if your current insulation is sagging or missing. If it is, then you already have a water issue.
- Make sure your home has adequate ventilation. There should be a square foot of ventilation for every 150 square feet of crawl space.
- Downspouts and gutters must be able to channel water at least 6 feet away from your home.
- Any dryer vents should terminate outside of your home. They should never terminate inside of your crawl space.
- Once your crawl space is vented, make sure the insulation is tight and snug against the subfloor.
- Get plastic sheeting to use as a vapor barrier.
- See if there are any leaks around your plumbing components or HVAC ducts.
How Much Does It Cost to Remove Mold From Crawl Spaces?
Each remediation company is different, so you will encounter different price ranges. In addition, the cost for your home may vary based on the size of your property and the extent of the damage. Factors like the types of materials damaged and how easy it is to treat the mold can determine your repair costs. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere between $500 to $30,000 for mold removal.
How Do I Know If There Is Mold In Crawl Space?
The easiest way to tell if you have mold in crawl space is by getting mold testing. A company like Mold USA can help you test your crawl space and other parts of your home for mold. Then, Mold USA will recommend remediation companies that can help you remove your mold problem.
You Noticed the Smell
One of the first ways that people notice a mold problem is through the smell. When your crawl space lacks ventilation or proper insulation, moisture can become trapped. Once you notice the scent of mold or a musty odor, you need to get a professional mold inspection right away.
Your Bills Increase
Sometimes, mold is caused because of a leak. If you have an air conditioning or water leak in your home, it could lead to increased utility bills. You can basically assume something is going wrong if your utility bills suddenly increase.
You Noticed Moisture
Before you actually see mold growing, you may notice condensation in your crawl space, basement or attic. Once moisture is present, it can lead to mold growth. The best way to prevent this from happening is by improving your ventilation and removing the source of the moisture.
There Are New Pests in Your Home
When moisture is present, it encourages pests to infest your home. In addition, cracked foundations and other sources of moisture create an entryway for pests. If moisture can enter your home, pests can use the same route to come inside as well. Pests can also lead to mold growth because pest-related damage can create new avenues for moisture to come inside your home.
Your Allergies Are Flaring Up
Once you have mold in crawl space, it can lead to allergy issues for you and your loved ones. Your allergy symptoms are basically your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Other than allergy problems, mold spores can also cause respiratory issues. If your allergies get worse over time, it could be a sign that you have a major mold issue in your home.
Protect Your Property From Mold With an Inspection
If you think your home has a mold problem, Mold USA can help. We offer mold testing for crawl spaces, basements, attics and other parts of your home. Mold problems only become worse over time, so it is important that you get help right away. By getting rid of mold early, you can save yourself time and money. Contact us today!