Crawl Space Mold and Your Health – A Homeowner’s Guide

crawl space mold

crawl space mold

While the crawl space is an area that sees less traffic than other parts of the home, what happens there has a ripple effect. For instance, when it’s damp and moldy, you can feel the effects. More coughs, sneezing, watery/red eyes, and breathing problems are things you might experience. Mold also can trigger or worsen asthma. So keeping your crawl space dry and clean should be your #1 priority going forward.

Like many homeowners in Raleigh, NC, you may be wondering where crawl space mold comes from and how it’s going to affect you. We’ll answer some of your questions and show you how you can keep this microorganism out of your crawl space.

Am I at Risk?

Mold exists everywhere — in your home, outside and in the atmosphere. So you can’t run away from it.  Even though spores float around, it only becomes a problem if mold settles on a surface and gets enough food supply. Wood joists, beams, old cardboard, and other organic materials provide mold with nourishment.

You’re likely to be at risk of mold exposure if the crawl space remains open and vented. Likewise, you could have mold growth if the crawl space has leaking pipes or wall cracks that let in water. Whenever it floods and water gets into the crawl space, you can also expect mold to grow. Old and damaged insulation material can also absorb moisture from the air and encourage mold to grow.

Health Problems Linked to Mold

Mold affects people differently. While some individuals may not experience symptoms, others may feel the effects of mold exposure. Children and the elderly may be the most affected. Common health issues associated with mold include sneezing, chronic coughs, breathing problems, and pneumonitis. Individuals with mild asthma may experience a flare-up of their conditions. Not only does breathing become a problem, but indoor living becomes unbearable as well. Because of the irritation that comes with inhaling spores, breathing becomes laborious. A person can even get tired just trying to catch a breath. All these can mean more visits to the doctor and disruption of normal life.

Signs of Crawl Space Mold

Many things can alert you to the presence of crawl space mold. The first is moldy smells emanating from the crawl space. Another sign is black spots or white fluffy patches on the crawl space walls. Water stains are another sign that mold may have taken over the crawl space. Peeling wall paint and warping floorboards are other unmistakable signs. While all these are indicators, you will only be able to ascertain there’s a problem by asking a mold remediator with a detector device or testing kit to check for mold growth.

Crawl Space Mistakes to Avoid

In your quest to keep out crawl space mold, you may take measures that are counterproductive or retrogressive. Don’t make the same mistake other people make. Don’t overlook the impact your crawl space has on the quality of indoor air, as well as the following:

  • Not fixing all potential sources of moisture in the crawl space in order to keep it dry.
  • Loose and leaky gutters dripping close to the home’s foundation coupled with downspouts that are close to the foundation.
  • Assuming that a plastic vapor barrier alone is enough to control moisture. Condensation can still occur on pipes, walls, and ducts. The ground has to be fully dry and moisture sources eliminated.
  • Trying to lower moisture levels by adding ventilation; killing crawl space mold but not removing and disposing of it to prevent the spread of spores.
  • Blocking soffit vents when installing insulation.
  • Not cleaning your HVAC ducts routinely to remove mold and allergens that can colonize this part.

However, you can ensure mold doesn’t find its way into your crawl space. Remedy any issues as soon as possible. One that we would like to emphasize is sealing and encapsulating the crawl space with a plastic vapor barrier and covering any vents. When you do that and combine it with a dehumidifier, effective insulation and an internal drainage system, moisture and external water won’t trouble you again.

Concerned about mold, mildew or fungi? Get in touch with crawl space repair experts in Raleigh, NC. We’re happy to inspect your crawl space and offer you a no-obligation crawl space quote for any repairs.