Finding Mold in Your Crawl Space
Mold is a huge problem and most people know that. However, you might not know the extent to which mold can impact your home’s structure and strength. When you have mold in your crawl space, you need to make sure you do something about it to make your home healthier. The good news is that there are many ways to maintain your home’s crawl space more effectively. Here’s how to do it.
How Can You Find Mold Before It Becomes a Bigger Problem?
The first thing you need to think about is uncovering mold problems in your home. Here’s how to find the mold when it’s just a small concern.
- Keep an Eye Out for Warning Signs
First off, you need to make sure you’re keeping an eye out for concerns related to crawl space mold. Crawl space mold doesn’t exist in a vacuum; you’ll end up seeing a variety of other warning signs. Pay attention if any of these crawl space concerns show up for you:
- High indoor humidity
- Mold growing in the home as a whole
- Bouncy floors
- Warped door and window frames
If you’re noticing any of these problems, at the very least, you know you have a crawl space concern. It may not be mold, but there’s a crawl space problem happening that you need to address as soon as possible. These warning signs are important to pay attention to, regardless of whether they indicate mold in your crawl space or not.
- Get a Professional Inspection Every Year
A professional inspection is a great way to make sure your crawl space is as healthy as possible. In every crawl space, there are several areas of potential concern. It’s key to consider the crawl space as important to your home’s health as any other area.
If you’re considering skipping your professional inspection because you believe you don’t need it, you should certainly think again. A professional inspection is extremely important and you need it whether or not you have a serious problem. With a yearly professional inspection, you’ll be able to note whether any crawl space concerns may need fixing.
- Inspect the Area Yourself
It’s always helpful to do inspections on your own. Sure, expert inspections are important, but they’re only one element of ensuring your crawl space is as healthy as possible. Another thing you can do is make sure you inspect your home on your own; not just your crawl space, but also other areas so you can note potential crawl space warning signs.
If you’re planning to inspect the crawl space or general home on your own, it’s a good idea to get some expert help to start with anyway. Experts will understand that self-inspection is an incredibly important part of the crawl space process. They may be able to give you some pointers on how to do it and what to look out for.
What Will Mold in the Crawl Space Do?
One reason some people never manage their crawl space properly is because they don’t think mold is a big problem. Here are just a few of the problems that mold in your crawl space can cause.
- In the Crawl Space
When it comes to the crawl space itself, there are many different ways that mold can be a severe problem. Mold, by definition, eats through organic materials. That means it can latch onto things like the wood of your floor joists and eat through them, leading to severe complications.
The mold in your crawl space needs to be as well managed as possible because it can be a serious problem if you leave it for long enough. Additionally, you have to remove the mold before you fix the rest of the problems. Otherwise, you run the risk of allowing the mold to remain in your crawl space, often waiting dormant until the humidity rises far enough for it to continue growing.
- Throughout the Home
Mold can spread from the crawl space to the rest of the home. As much as 50% of your home’s air can come from your crawl space. If you’re not thinking about the impact of that crawl space air, you can end up with some serious problems. One of those problems is mold because spores can easily move up into the home from the crawl space.
These mold spores can wreak havoc, eventually eating many of the organic things in the rest of your home. This even includes products like drywall and wood, both of which are readily available in your home as a whole. The mold can eat through all of these things, creating a very frustrating experience.
- Across the Property
Mold often comes from an underlying cause and it can have an impact that stretches out across an entire property. Think about one of the most common causes of crawl space mold. This may happen because of flooding, which is a problem that can impact the rest of a property as well.
In general, this element is about making sure your property doesn’t have lasting or serious problems that can impact your home as a whole. It’s more about tracing back the problem in your crawl space to something that can be far more widespread than you may have noticed, so you no longer have to worry about those problems.
FAQs About Mold in Your Crawl Space
When you have mold in your crawl space, there are many reasons to tackle it. One of these reasons is the fact that mold can easily weaken your crawl space over time. Here’s how mold will weaken your crawl space’s structure.
- Eating Organic Material
When mold grows in your crawl space, what it’s doing is eating the organic material. This is why mold won’t grow on surfaces like stainless steel, but it will grow on surfaces like wood. It’s using the organic material to keep itself alive.
As the mold eats the organic material, the material itself becomes weaker. That will inevitably lead to issues with your crawl space’s structural stability. The longer that you’re leaving mold in your crawl space, the more likely you are to end up with a crawl space structural concern.
- Waterlogging Structures
Mold requires a specific level of humidity to function and standing water in your crawl space can itself cause those high levels of humidity. Waterlogging is a huge problem for organic materials because it tends to reduce the structural integrity of those materials. Some materials may crumble away entirely, while some may just become bouncy and less rigid.
If you have any sort of standing water in your crawl space, whether it’s water all across the floor of the crawl space or just condensation on the floor joists, you can end up with waterlogging problems. You must fix standing water as quickly as possible to avoid both mold problems and other issues with your home’s structure.
High levels of humidity will almost certainly cause mold growth in your crawl space. However, people are often confused about how low the humidity levels need to be to remove mold in your crawl space. Here are the common humidity level suggestions that you’ll see.
- The Common Suggestion: 70% or Less
If you ask many DIYers, you may hear the suggestion of 70% humidity being the threshold for mold growth. Most DIYers tell you to keep your humidity at either 70% or below. This is a common number that’s passed around in DIY spaces, but the problem is that it’s not very well-founded when it comes to home structural science.
Although it’s possible for mold to stop growing below 70% humidity, this is typically on the higher end of the spectrum. You could end up with mold growth in your crawl space even if you’re at 70% humidity. It might be easy to stick to 70% or less crawl space humidity, but this probably won’t fix many of your problems.
- Many Crawl Space Experts: 50-60%
Contrary to the common DIY suggestion, most crawl space experts will suggest that you keep your crawl space between 50% and 60% humidity. By keeping your crawl space at 50% to 60% humidity, you’ll be less likely to have mold issues because it’s very uncommon for mold to be able to survive at levels of humidity this low.
Keeping your crawl space at 50%-60% humidity ensures that you’re avoiding crawl space issues while also maintaining your crawl space moisture levels. Essentially, you’re not drying out the area too much, as extremely arid crawl spaces can cause brittleness and breakage, but you’re not allowing the moisture to climb high enough to create a breeding ground for mold. This is typically the best level for your home.
When you hear that high levels of humidity often cause mold, your first thought may be to use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity levels in your crawl space. Although this is an admirable thought, it may not be the best first step. Here’s what you need if you want to fix the mold problem overall.
- Getting Rid of General Humidity
When it comes to getting rid of the general humidity in the area, a dehumidifier is a great option. Dehumidifiers are good for ensuring that your crawl space remains at a specific humidity level. All you have to do is set the humidity level that you prefer, then leave the dehumidifier to do its job; it’ll shut off once it gets to that humidity level.
In this respect, a dehumidifier can be very effective. Controlling general humidity levels in your crawl space will be an element of crawl space encapsulation, which means that a dehumidifier can be extremely helpful. The thing is, if you’re assuming that your dehumidifier will do more than this, you’re probably mistaken.
- Getting Rid of the Baseline Cause
When it comes to getting rid of the reason for your crawl space humidity, dehumidifiers aren’t very effective. That’s because the baseline cause of your crawl space humidity will typically be under the surface. For example, if you have open crawl space vents, you’ll be letting in humidity every day, which the dehumidifier won’t be able to stand up to.What can you do when you’re dealing with serious problems regarding your crawl space humidity? Crawl space encapsulation will be much more effective in this situation. Rather than just handling the symptoms of the concern, crawl space encapsulation will typically solve the problem for good. Talking to an expert should be your first move.
Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away; this is true of mold, mildew, and plenty of other problems that you may see in your crawl space. Regardless of the exact problems you’re experiencing, you can’t just ignore what’s going on. That may lead to disaster.
- Avoiding the Mold Problem
The problem with avoiding mold in your home is that the problem absolutely won’t go away. It’s going to continue growing because mold tends to propagate itself. When you avoid the problem, you’re much more likely to have serious concerns in the rest of your home, which may include mold growth in other areas, allergies, asthma flare-ups, and more.
You can’t just pretend that you don’t have mold problems. Fixing the mold problems for good will be much more effective than avoiding them. However, you need to make sure that you’re fixing the problem starting at the top. That’s where an expert can come into play.
- Talking to an Expert About Your Mold Problems
Instead of just pretending the mold problems don’t exist, you should talk to an expert to learn more about your potential mold problems. Learning more will be incredibly helpful. You’ll understand where the mold is coming from, which steps you can take to avoid creating a breeding ground for mold, and how you can fix the underlying problem.
Whether you know you have mold problems or you’re just worried about the fact that you might, talking to a Groundworks expert will make it easier for you to tackle the problems. You can create a much more effective solution with help from a Groundworks expert.
You Can Eradicate Mold in Your Crawl Space With the Help of an Expert
The best way to make sure you’re able to get rid of mold in your crawl space entirely is to talk to an expert about it. After all, you want to make sure you’re getting rid of any mold you have and ensure more mold doesn’t grow in the future.
To do that, you’ll need to talk to a crawl space repair expert. There are local options that should have your issues resolved swiftly.