What Causes Mold To Grow In Crawl Spaces
Mold grows easily in crawl spaces because there is usually a higher level of humidity and moisture in this location. Since crawl spaces are right up against the ground, moisture is always nearby and ready to invade the area, which is an invitation for mold to begin. These areas must stay dry to keep mold away.
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Why Is Hiring A Mold Expert Important
When you hire a professional to remove mold in crawl space and who understands how to kill dangerous mold in your crawl space fast, youll be guaranteed that:
- Professionals dont leave anything to chance and theyll use their specialized tools to eradicate your mold problem on a long term basis.
- Mold spores wont spread and you can still continue with your normal schedule even as the professionals go about their business.
- A qualified mold professional will first evaluate the level of mold in your crawl space in order to determine the ideal measures that can use to handle and solve the problem.
Products To Get Rid Of Mold On Floor Joists In A Crawl Space
Before you do anything, you need to have a few products on hand.
- White vinegar or bleach
For mold remover, there are several options from which you can choose. Regardless of what you decide, you need to take care to read the instructions carefully. This will prevent any potential dangers or mistakes.
Below is a table with several different mold removers you can purchase:
To use it, you simply spray and let it dry. After it dries, you scrub it with a brush or wipe it with a cloth soaked in Concrobium. If you want to prevent further mold growth, simply reapply.
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How Can Mold Affect Your Health
Exposure to damp and moldy crawl spaces can affect your health in many ways or none at all. Some people are extremely sensitive to mold spores. When they inhale them, they can start wheezing or display symptoms such as red/itchy eyes and skin, or stuffy nose. Individuals with allergies or asthma are badly affected and can have more serious reactions such as shortness of breath and fever.
A study by the Institute of Medicine in 2004 found there was enough evidence to link exposure to indoor mold with bronchial tract infections, chronic coughs, and wheezing in otherwise healthy people. Further, the study showed people with immune-mediated conditions are susceptible to hypersensitivity pneumonitis. And those with asthma are more likely to experience a worsening of their condition.
How Much Mold In My Crawl Space Is Acceptable
Mold is a natural part of our environment, but it doesnt belong in your crawl space. Even a small patch rapidly spreads as it feeds on the structural components directly under your home.
Airborne mold spores can also migrate into the house and impact the health of everyone upstairs. There are no acceptable levels of mold in a crawl space.
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How To Clean Mold In Crawl Space
Now that we have identified the warning signs of mold in a crawl space, we can discuss how to remove it. Cleaning mold on your own is always an option, but its best to be done by a professional when youre dealing with a small area like a crawl space. They will be able to set up their equipment and fix the problem in a matter of hours.
Examples Of Mold Growth
While concrete may create some confusion, mold growth in a crawl space is typically easy to recognize. In most cases, the mold will appear in a round, speckled growth pattern. Youre unlikely to see the uniform, black appearance as is common in attics. As the growth intensifies it expands in a 3-dimensional pattern.
Light / moderate mold growth on the subfloor typically due to saturation during the original construction.
Heavy mold growth
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Put On Your Safety Gear
Before you start tackling the mold problem, gear up. Put on safety goggles, gloves, a mask, and wear long sleeves and pants. Its important to keep yourself as protected as possible as you work.
Its also a good idea to set up a fan in the crawlspace area and have it blow away from you to create some ventilation in the area. This will help keep you breathing easier and allow moisture to dry more quickly.
As an extra precaution, cover any windows, exterior doors, and air vents in your house to prevent any mold spores from entering. You can use plastic sheeting as a barrier.
Eliminating Mold Caused By A Flooded Basement
**IMPORTANT: If your sump pump fails and youve got a flooded basement, you MUST contact a professional water damage and dry-out company within 24 hours so they can bring in their equipment to rapidly dry the basement. In other words, eliminate the mold before it has a chance to grow.
If its too late to dry out the property, the wet drywall will need to be cut out and youre looking at costly mold remediation work and rebuild. Many homeowners are covered for this type of water damage by their homeowners insurance, but trust me, you dont even want to go there. Its a massive headache to deal with the construction work and fighting with the insurance company.
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Fight Mold With Ventilation
Once fungal growth takes hold, it thrives in the wet, stale atmosphere under your home. Ventilating the crawl space circulates fresh air through the area and holds down humidity. That reduces the concentration of air-borne spores, making it harder for mold to spread.
Power Tip: Make sure the clothes dryer vent terminates outside the crawl space.
Types Of Mold Found In The Crawl Space
If you didnt know, there are different types of mold which can invade your home. When you want to eradicate mold from your crawl space, you should first identify the type of mold in order to identify the ideal remedy. One of the most common types of mold is the yellow mold which damages items in the crawl space.
The serpula lacrymans is another type of mold which invades and destroys the wooden materials within your crawl space. Youre likely to find the yellow mold in the soil of your indoor plants. You can also spot yellow mold in other types of dirt which somehow find their way in the home.
Youll most likely find the aspergillus within the home even though it doesnt cause any harm to adults. Still, if youve got any person whos prone to allergies or younger children living with you, you may want to protect them from this type of mold. Prolonged exposure to Aspergillus can cause respiratory related complications but still, the center for disease control says that Aspergillus is an inevitable airborne fungus.
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What To Consider When Choosing The Best Crawl Space Mold Removal Products
There are several things to consider when choosing crawl space mold removal products including: location, amount of time or effort required, and above all safety.
The location of the work to be done is not a great place to work. Its dirty, cramped and you usually have to work on your back or knees. Not a lot of fun. To learn more about how professionals approach cleaning a crawl space check out our post: Ten Things You Most Likely Didnt Know about Crawl Space Mold Removal.
The amount of time you expect to spend cleaning mold in your crawl space may surprise you. It takes some time to clean away mold . The only way to be sure you have removed all the mold is to remove the food source for the mold. If you have an area of less than 10 square feet of mold damage, you may be able to clean it yourself. More than 10 square feet, and you really do need professional help.
This crawlspace needs professional help. The damage covers a large area. See how the wood had mold growing on it? All that wood needs to be removed and replaced.
Ok, so its a small area of your crawl space, and it seems like youve fixed any moisture problems you have. Youve determined you can DIY this what do you do now? What kinds of safety issues are there when cleaning mold?
Significance Of Indoor Soil Fungi
A broad range of fungal species among at least seven genera may be found growing on or in soil and because the interaction between soil and seed fungi has been studied widely in work on plant pathogens, they are studied worldwide.
However, texts that help identify soil fungi may be incomplete when it comes to mold on or in or beneath buildings.
Building conditions that produce mold growth may generate fungi that vary from how they may appear in the lab in a culture plate, and building mold, even mold on dirt in a crawl space may appear different from the same genera/species growing in nature, say in the woods.
And because mycologists so often study fungi prepared from cultures, in my experience, texts used as identification guides may present photographs of fungi that do not necessarily match what these same genera and species may look like when found in nature.
Here we provide photographs of fungi growing on soil in or beneath buildings.
Also see MUSHROOMS IN or NEAR BUILDINGS
This article does not address the much larger topic of the genera of soil fungi. For that topic see Tsuneo Watanabe, Pictorial Atlas of Soil and Seed Fungi, Morphologies of Cultured Fungi and Key to Species, Second Ed., CRC Press 2002, ISBN 0-8493-1118-7. .
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Is Mold In Your Crawl Space Dangerous
Mold in your crawl space is often dangerous, as it can lead to poor indoor air quality and damage your property. You might have black mold, Stachybotrys, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, or other types of basement mold and crawl space mold. Mold can cause health problems, especially those that struggle with respiratory issues such as asthma already. Mold can damage floor joists, foundation walls, and any other structure within your home. If mold continues to grow, you can have structural damage on the property that requires significant repair. Crawl space encapsulation will protect the rest of your home from a mold infestation if you have problems with a damp crawl space.
How To Kill Mold In Crawl Space
Certain ways can help you eliminate mold from your crawl space. In addition to killing mold in Crawl Space, you should maintain the following steps:
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Will Bleach Kill Mold In Crawl Space
Yes, bleach will kill mold in a crawl space, and it will also kill almost everything else that is causing a problem. Bleach is almost pure chlorine with only a few other things mixed in, and organic life cannot survive in this mixture of chemicals, which is why people often use bleach to disinfect items.
You can use bleach to kill almost all types of mold on any surface throughout your home, with many people using bleach to control the mold in their bathrooms. We recommend doing this as well as it will keep your shower and toilets as clean as they can be without resorting to more dangerous chemicals.
It is vital to understand that bleach is one of the strongest chemicals you can use, but it is not the strongest. When going to hardware stores or specialist chemical providers, you can often find dangerous chemicals to handle without gloves but completely eradicate all mold within seconds.
Check For Other Damage: Rot Or Insects
Check for wood-rot or insect damage by a careful examination of wood framing and subfloors: wet crawl areas and basements invite both fungal and insect pests that can damage the structure.
The fungus in the moldy dirt floor photo above in this article was mailed to us by a client and was identified as Meruliporia incrassata – a mold that can attack wood structures causing significant damage.
We discuss this fungus at MERULIPORIA HOUSE EATING FUNGUS.
Although this recently-built home, located at 5500′ in the Sierra Nevada mountains had crawl area ventilation, snow melt draining towards the structure caused chronic wet conditions and was surely a significant contributor to this mold growth.
Furthermore, and possibly more important, soil mold in a basement or crawl space is an indicator of wet conditions, which means that more-problematic molds may be growing on wood or paper or other organic surfaces nearby – and may be more of a problem for building occupants.
For example if insulation were installed in this crawl space ceiling it would be likely to have mold contamination, though more likely from Aspergillus sp. or Penicillium sp. – different fungal genera/species prefer to grow on different materials.
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What Happens If You Have Mold In Your Crawl Space
Before we start hearing people tell us that mold is natural and should be left alone, there are many structural damages that mold can cause. Not least of which is physically growing into gaps and starting to separate boards, sometimes helping to loosen nails.
However, the immediate danger from mold will always be the health risks that come with them, as they are often deadly to those who breathe them in. Mold needs to be stopped and controlled before it can become a danger to everyone living in the home where the crawl space is.
- Eye Irritation: The first thing that many people start noticing when their crawl space is filled with mold is suddenly having eye irritation. This can be when the wind moving through your house bothers you or when you are turning on the AC and suddenly need to blink a million times.
- Respiratory Problems: The most dangerous problem from mold is the respiratory problems that they will start to cause. You will usually find that you are having trouble breathing or that your family members are constantly getting sick or showing some symptoms.
- Coughing: The surest sign that mold is growing is when everyone in your family suddenly starts to develop a cough. Usually, people will ignore this sign as they assume everyone has gotten a cold, but it is usually a sign that mold is growing.
Paying For Mold Remediation
For those who are going to DIY their mold problem, the costs include purchasing cleaners, tools, and personal protective equipment. This is generally a more affordable option than calling in mold remediation specialists, but you may not be thorough enough in your cleaning. This could lead to a recurring mold problem down the road. Bringing in the professionals may be a better investment in the long-term.
The size of the mold contamination, as well as the materials that have been damaged or infected by the spread, impacts the cost of removal. Access to the area and the extent of the damage as also significant factors. Smaller infestations could cost as little as $500 for removal services, while more severe problems can cost upwards of $30,000 for complete treatment and repair of the crawl space or floor joists. Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance policies will not cover remediation services unless the infestation can be linked to a covered incident like water damage or flooding.
For experienced help with removing mold from your crawl space, contact the team at Mold Remediation. They are experts at removal and cleanup services for both residential and commercial buildings.
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What Causes A Moldy Crawl Space
Humidity. If you have a high-humidity environment in your crawl space, the odds are good that you have mold. If you see puddles of standing water, then youre almost certainly going to have mold in your crawl space.
Before you can even think about killing the mold in your crawl space, youll need to remedy any moisture issues. Leaky pipes, poor drainage, or rain and snow freely entering the crawl space will all cause mold growth. You should dry out the crawl space as much as possible to prevent the mold from coming back. Getting the humidity level in the air to below 45% is ideal. You can also check the moisture content of the wood in the crawl space with a surface moisture meter. You should aim for a moisture level of below 15% in the wood.
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