A crawlspace is an area under your home that was constructed to provide a foundation between the part of your home and the ground. It is similar to a basement, but it is more advantageous in some ways. This space in your home can also function to prevent termite infestations in places that are prone to it. More than that, having a crawlspace can give you easier access to pipes, plumbing, electrical and HAVC systems.
However, your crawlspace is most prone to mold growth because of its condition. A crawlspace is dark and musty, in general. That is why it is often overlooked. But the very reason of its condition is the reason that it should not be overlooked. Because mold loves dark and moist areas.
What Causes Mold In Your Crawlspace
In point of fact, mold grows everywhere. It can grow even in the cleanest home. However, mold thrives more in spaces that are moist and dark, plus with the presence of organic materials (like wood), that serve as food. With all these conditions, mold is good to go.
Your crawlspace temperature stays between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit because of the warmth of the house above it and the natural warmth of the ground under it. When mold spores become exposed to oxygen, with a high level of humidity and temperature not lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, mold can have an ideal condition to grow.
Moisture and Mold
However, moisture is the number one factor for mold growth. Now you may be asking what causes moisture in your crawlspace.
First, penetrating damp. Crawlspaces, closed, encapsulated, or another, can be prone to penetrating damp. Penetrating damp is the moisture that found its way to your crawlspace but originated in different sources. This kind of damp may come through plumbing leaks, walls, HVAC failures or mechanical failures that are situated above or under the crawl space.
Second, rising damp. This type of moisture goes up from the ground and becomes water vapor. In this case, the water can harm crawlspaces that are not encapsulated and without a vapor barrier. Uninterrupted wetness can cause crawlspace mold and fungus.
Third, condensation. This is the most common yet avoidable cause of crawlspace mold. In the past, crawlspaces were built with ventilation to use the outside air in controlling the moisture. Open vents give an outlet for the excess moisture to evaporate. However, in some ways, this ventilation can cause more mold problems. In the summer, your crawlspace is cooler than the air outside. When this warm air enters your crawlspace through your vents, it eventually cools down in the dark place. When it cools, it releases moisture and forms as condensation. Condensation, or moisture and the organic materials in your crawlspace are all that they need to grow.
Moreover, open vents in your crawlspace can invite more insects and other critters that can be used as a food source for mold. This becomes a better place for mold to flourish.
How Do I Prevent Mold Growth In My Crawlspace
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Indeed, mold can grow anywhere as long as there is moisture to help it grows. As mentioned, moisture is the key factor for mold to flourish, which means you have to do something to control the moisture in your crawlspace. There can be a lot of solutions to take but they are just temporary. The most effective way to prevent moisture in your crawlspace is to encapsulate it. If your crawlspace is well encapsulated, you are sure that it is protected against moisture intrusion and of course, mold growth.
Why Should I Care About Crawlspace Mold?
Can crawlspace mold make you sick?
Aside from the fact that mold can damage the structure of your property and reduce the value of your home; it can pose a negative impact on one’s health. Exposure to crawlspace mold can lead to different health issues like eye and skin irritation, wheezing, coughing, throat irritation, and nasal stuffiness. In addition, long and continuous exposure to mold and damp places can cause more serious illnesses like obstructive lung diseases.
What is even more dangerous is you don’t have to go to your crawlspace to get exposed to mold. The air in your crawlspace can get to your home and circulate. This is what they called the Stack Effect. As heat rises, warmer air rises and brings particles along – like crawlspace mold.
Professional Mold Removal
There can be some ways to remove mold in your crawlspace, but these methods do not guarantee complete and effective ways of eliminating mold. It can still be best to turn it to a mold removal professional. These experts use advanced equipment and techniques to completely remove the entire mold in your crawlspace.
If you are dealing with crawlspace mold, you can call Water Damage Lake Elsinore. We provide mold removal services, as well as water and fire restoration services.