Crawl space mold, crawl space fungus, and crawl space mildew compromise your home’s structural integrity and the air your family breathes.
Some homeowners in Cincinnati, OH, may live by the mantra “what goes on in the crawl space stays in the crawl space.” Not so, considering this in an area that gets moist and harbors many foreign things, including mold. When crawl space mold and crawl space mildew grows and takes over this space, the effects are likely to be felt in your home.
Is mold dangerous? What health problems can it cause? What are the signs of mold allergy? How can I protect my loved ones?
Well, you’ll find answers to these questions and more below.
What are the signs of crawl space mold and crawl space mildew?
You might not have knowingly encountered mold or know what an infestation looks like. Here are a couple of signs that should prompt you to contact your basement or crawl space contractor for further investigation and testing:
- Water stains on baseboards
- Black or greenish spots on walls and insulation
- Musty smells or awful odors
- Warped wooden floors
- Crawl space wood rot
- Decaying or rotting beams and joists
- Runny nose, itchy eyes or coughs
Some mold may appear black when it’s not actually black mold. Only a mold removal expert can ascertain what type of mold you’re up against. And that’s why testing is really important.
What are the health risks of mold exposure?
Mold becomes dangerous when it attaches itself to organic materials in a damp crawl space, the perfect condition for growth. Existing moisture allows the mold to grow and produce mold spores. When these float in your home, it causes serious allergic reactions. Prolonged exposure can worsen asthma problems and in some cases, trigger autoimmune disease.
What are the symptoms of mold allergies?
Interestingly, people react differently to mold exposure. Some individuals will show no signs, while others will manifest a variety of bodily responses. If you’re allergic to foreign particles, you’re likely to experience one or more of the following symptoms or signs:
- Itchy eyes/skin
- Stuffy nose
- Skin rashes
- Persistent coughs
- Laborious breathing
See a doctor if you experience one or more of the above symptoms.
How can I prevent crawl space mold?
Though mold is everywhere, it won’t cause problems if you eliminate conditions that encourage its growth. Routine inspection can help you uncover issues that could create the perfect condition for mold to thrive.
If the crawl space is vented and not sealed, it’s about time you seal it and block all vents. Your open crawl space allows mold to come in attach itself to wood and other organic materials. Since this place is typically moist, it’s going to grow fast and infest the whole crawl space. Your basement and crawl space repair contractor is going to install a plastic vapor barrier that covers the entire floor and walls. It can go around barriers such as wooden beams and piers.
Check and remove damaged or torn insulation from the crawl space as it’s likely to get wet and harbor pests. Mold can easily attach itself to the damaged material. In no time, it can take over and spread to other parts.
Ensure that all water pipes and ducts that run through the crawl space are intact. Fix any pipe that’s leaky. Take a step further and insulate your water pipes to stop condensation during cold winter weather.
Cracks on the crawl space wall may also encourage moisture and water to seep in. And that’s bad news as it will also encourage mold to grow. Typical repairs may involve applying crack injections to seal up crevices on the wall.
From time to time, Ohio experiences floods. If your home is on a floodplain or an area that’s likely to flood, install sump pumps to stop running surface water from inundating your crawl space. Ensure that pumps have soil filters.
Ensure gutters and downspouts channel water at least six feet away from your home. Anything closer than that means water can accumulate close to the house and get into the crawl space. If the downspouts are damaged or loose, fix them so they won’t get overwhelmed by rainwater.
Internal drainage is equally important in keeping the crawl space dry. Install a drainage system around the perimeter of the crawl space wall to the inside. Any water that leaks into the crawl space won’t get into the middle but will drain outside.
Condensation is likely to be a problem during hot and humid months when the air is loaded with moisture. To control moisture, install a self-draining dehumidifier. Aim for 50% humidity at most.
Are you worried that crawl space mold could have taken over the below the ground area of your home? Schedule a free crawl space repair inspection and find out whether you have a mold issue or not. We’re happy to apply lasting fixes to stop mold from infesting your crawl space.