At first glance, mold growths in your home may only appear to be an annoyance instead of a structural threat. The presence of mold in your crawl space, however, is troubling for more than one reason. Not only does mold present an active danger to you and your loved ones, but it also indicates that there may be something structurally wrong within your crawl space. More specifically, mold tends to indicate that you’re contending with a crawl space leak.
The experts working with Innovative Basement Authority know how troubling crawl space damage can be to discover and to work around. Luckily, you don’t have to do that kind of work alone. As soon as you spot mold clusters in your home, you can reach out to schedule a home inspection.
The Dangers of Mold in Your Crawl Space
Mold poses a dual threat to your crawl space. As mentioned, it puts your family’s health at risk and indicates that you likely have a leak somewhere in your crawl space.
When it comes to your health, mold tends to exacerbate the health conditions that you and your family members may already be suffering from. All manner of fungi can directly undermine the strength of your respiratory system, with symptoms of pre-existing conditions and new ones only worsening the longer you find yourself exposed to the mold in question.
Early signs of unsafe mold exposure can include but are not limited to:
- Sore throat
- Excessive sneezing
- Skin irritation
If you find yourself contending with these symptoms and can’t understand why, even after a visit to your general practitioner, you’ll want to get in touch with the mold remediation professionals in your area. As mentioned, the longer mold growth is in your home, the more severe its impact on your health can be. You’ll want to try and have any present mold growths removed from your property before you or any of your loved ones start to experience severe respiratory problems.
Dealing with Mold in Your Home
Although mold thrives when it has ready access to moisture, humidity, and darkness, it does not enter your home via rain or snowmelt. Instead, mold travels into your home via air currents. Mold spores can take root within 48 hours of arriving, as long as the conditions in your space are right.
Mold growth, as it appears in your home, can not only impact the health of your family but your home’s overall value as well. If you try to sell a home with untreated mold inside, you may lose up to 30 percent of your home’s resale value. That loss can increase if your mold is indicative of more damage through your basement, foundation, or crawl space.
With that and the impacts of mold on your health in mind, you’ll want to do what you can to first understand what kind of mold you’re contending with, then remove it and repair any damage done to your home as quickly as possible.
Identifying Mold in Your Home
It can be difficult to determine what kind of mold you’re dealing with based on sight alone. Picking out mold from drywall or insulation, though, is a relatively straightforward process. Signs you may be dealing with an unwelcome visitor in your home include:
- Clusters and growths
- Unpleasant or otherwise musty smells
- Trouble breathing
If you’re having trouble tracking mold clusters in your home, you can always follow your nose. Mold tends to smell musty or green. You can trace this scent back to the point in your home where your mold has settled. In turn, professionals will have an easier time both identifying what kind of mold you’re contending with and what manner of crawl space damage allows it to thrive.
Types of mold
When it comes to the care and keeping of your home, you’ll have more than just one type of mold to contend with. Molds tend to fit into one of the following three categories:
- Allergenic molds. Allergenic molds are among the most benign molds to find in your home. These molds tend to aggravate existing allergies, though they can cause residents to develop allergies if they remain untreated for an extended period of time.
- Pathogenic molds. Similar to allergenic molds, pathogenic molds tend to exacerbate any pre-existing health conditions you and your loved ones may be suffering from.
- Toxigenic molds. Toxigenic molds have the most immediate and severe impact on the health of those who come into contact with it. These molds, among which black mold is listed, can cause homeowners and their families to develop chronic and severe respiratory problems that may not go away for months or years even after the mold has been removed from your home.
Some molds, of course, tend to appear in homes more frequently than others. If you do find a mold cluster somewhere in your home, it’s likely you’re contending with one of the following:
Note that these molds tend to have more of an immediate impact on your health than they do on the overall structural integrity of your home. While mold can eat away at your structural supports, its cousin, rot, tends to have a more severe impact on your crawl space’s immediate well-being.
Rot can eat away at a crawl space’s wooden supports to the point where those supports may no longer bear the weight of your home. Mold, comparatively, takes longer to do the same thing while also throwing your family’s health into question. Both conditions indicate a moisture problem within your crawl space, though. This means that to prevent either from reappearing in your home, you’ll want to work with area contractors to first suss out and then repair the source of your unwanted moisture.
Crawl Space Mold
You do have the option of trying to remove mold from the walls and floors of your crawl space on your own. However, doing so is not always advisable for a variety of reasons.
- Considering the Cost
Many homeowners find themselves reluctant to reach out to professionals for crawl space repairs and mold removal for fear of how much those services may cost. DIY alternatives, in this light, can look like a less-expensive means to an end.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you attempt to remove mold from your home and repair the walls or floors that said mold has damaged, you may find yourself spending far more money on materials, single-use tools, and time lost to labor than you would have had you reached out to a professional. Furthermore, there is always a chance that you may make a costly mistake if you try to take on this kind of DIY work on your own. If you do and eventually reach out to a professional for help, the cost of those repairs will far exceed what you would have paid had you got in touch with a team of contractors in the first place.
- Putting Your Health at Risk
Mold, no matter what type it is, can prove dangerous to your health and the health of your loved ones. That is why it is often best to let a professional go through the removal process for you. Mold removal experts are specially trained in removing mold from crawl spaces, not to mention ready access to the appropriate safety equipment. These parties can come in and out of your home in little to no time at all to restore your crawl space back to its pre-mold conditions.
Other crawl space repair professionals can more readily help you address the damage that may have allowed those mold clusters to take root in the first place. With experts on the scene, you can better understand what may have gone wrong in your crawl space and what kind of repairs your crawl space may now need. In turn, you can rest easy knowing you won’t have to do any of the repair work on your own and that professionals can bring in a team to do the repair work you’d spend several weeks on in a matter of days.
Mold loves the darkest and dampest parts of your home. You’re most likely to find new clusters in your:
- Crawl space
- HVAC system
- Air ducts
That said, there are certain forces that can make these areas more vulnerable to mold growth than others. When it comes to your crawl space, you may be able to lay the blame for your mold infestation on the following:
- Hydrostatic Pressure
It’s easier than you might think to trace many of the problems in your crawl space back to hydrostatic pressure. This pressure is pervasive, destructive, and not always easy to combat.
Hydrostatic pressure builds up outside of your home when water, either from rain, snow, or deep within the ground, starts to come into contact with the materials making up the exterior of your crawl space. Those various forms of water can cause the materials in question to change temperature on a molecular level. As those materials’ temperatures fluctuate, they can begin to change in size. In turn, they can develop stress cracks that will allow even more moisture into the rest of your home.
If your crawl space is forced to contend with this kind of pressure in the long term, you can begin to see the structural supports within that space start to decay. Mold can more readily take root in your crawl space if it is frequently damp. More often than not, hydrostatic pressure damage begets additional hydrostatic pressure damage. However, you can work with an area professional to seal off the damage, pull unwanted moisture from your crawl space, and remove or repair any damage that’s already taken root.
- High Levels of Humidity
Note that not all unwanted moisture has to take the form of standing water. The same cracks that form as a result of hydrostatic pressure’s unrelenting force can also increase the humidity within your home. If you think you’re contending with a humidity problem instead of a standing water problem, you’ll want to try and keep an eye out for the following within your home:
- Sticking doors
- Foggy windows
- Exterior home damage, including a cracked chimney
- Mold clusters
As mentioned, mold thrives when it has ready access to heat, humidity, and basic nutrients. Even if you don’t think you have an active crack on your hands, higher humidity within your crawl space can spell disaster for you, your family, and your property’s overall value.
Note that the aforementioned symptoms often precede more serious structural problems within your crawl space. If you notice them or find that your home is generally a less pleasant space to be in than it used to be, you can reach out to area professionals to try and get ahead of the damage and mold that may be coming your way.
- The Stack Effect
The stack effect is one of the major contributing factors to the level of humidity inside a home, and as a byproduct, the growth of mold. It is a process by which the warm or hot air inside the home rises and leaves through the attic or any of the upper levels. As the hot air escapes, the areas below form a vacuum, where new air is pulled upward through the crawl space or basement. When this process takes place, humidity from the vacuum effect will begin to rise, giving mold a chance to take root.
- Interior Leaks
It isn’t just hydrostatic pressure outside of your home, however, that can allow mold to take root in your crawl space. Damaged pipes can also put the integrity of your crawl space at risk.
The pipes in your crawl space are especially sensitive to water damage. As the temperatures outdoors start to change, or as parts start to wear out, the pipes attached not only to your water line but to your HVAC system can start to leak. As these pipes leak, they can increase the humidity in your home and make your crawl space a better incubator for any mold spores that have made their way indoors.
Leaking pipes don’t just increase your chance of a mold problem, though. Pipes can burst and cause the whole of your crawl space to flood. Even if they do not, consistent leaks can cause your crawl space’s structural supports to split and crack to the point where they can no longer support the weight of your home.
- Organic Material
Apart from the humidity, which is present in every home, mold feeds off organic material. This includes anything organic such as drywall, wallpaper, glue, paint, or wood. The spores can latch onto these materials and start to flourish.
Removing Mold from Your Crawl Space
It is not as easy or as safe as you think to try and remove mold clusters from your crawl space without help from a professional. Not only are many mold clusters not safe for you to handle without appropriate safety equipment, but they’re also often stuck further into the drywall or supports in your crawl space than you might think they are.
To remove mold from your home appropriately, you’ll want to work with one of the mold remediation professionals in your area. That said, if you want to try and get a handle on a mold problem while waiting for someone to come and tour your home, you do have the option to do so. Only attempt to remove mold from your home if you have gloves and a mask on hand. Then, scrape the mold away from your crawl space wall and throw it out into your trash bin in a plastic bag or another container. Once the mold is disposed of, use a gentle cleanser or diluted bleach to rub down the impacted crawl space wall.
Home Waterproofing Measures and Mold
If you want to limit mold’s opportunities to take root in your home, either before any spores take root or after you’ve had some removed, you can invest in crawl space waterproofing methods. Methods that draw water out of the air and keep it from settling in your supports are ideal for limiting mold’s chances to grow.
With that in mind, some of the best anti-mold waterproofing measures you can install in your crawl space include:
- Interior drainage
- Sump pumps
- Encapsulation with a vapor barrier
- Waterproof insulation
Note that, no matter what, these waterproofing measures won’t last forever. With that in mind, be sure to schedule annual crawl space inspections after you’ve had your waterproofing measures installed. This way, you can go about repairing or replacing any damaged supports before mold has a chance to sneak back into your crawl space.
Protect Your Home Against Mold with Help from Professionals
Mold can be frightening to contend with, especially after it’s taken root in your crawl space. Luckily, you don’t have to try and remove mold or react to its impact in your crawl space alone. Innovative Basement Authority professionals in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana can help you get back on your feet after a mold infestation. Whenever you’re ready, you can reach out to schedule a home inspection to determine what kind of damage or moisture problem may have allowed mold to take root in your home to begin with. Afterward, you can look over a free repairs quote to determine how our team can best help you.
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