Your Crawlspace and Indoor Air Quality!
Earlier this month, there was a news article about a family that were forced to leave their home because of mold. This family turned to Valor Mold for help. Our founder, David Myrick, is featured in the news report below.
“It started with a leak from a window. While it was getting fixed Kaye Sylvester got really sick, with joint pain and swelling. It got so bad she could barely walk.” She is suffering from a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis and is sick because she is genetically predisposed to mold illness.
Kaye did not understand why she was so sick because the leak was fixed and had no idea that the home was contaminated with mold spores.
One of the problems is that you can not see mold spores. In this case, the primary source of contamination was the crawlspace which was full of mold. Mold grew because water seeped in from the foundation walls and excess humidity caused by heat led to the proliferation of mold. Since the crawlspace air was contaminated with mold and spores, this led to excess mold spores in the home as well.
Crawlspaces are very popular for four key reasons.
- They tend to be cheaper than laying a foundation for a basement slab.
- Crawlspaces make it much easier to access pipes and other utilities.
- If the soil is unstable, it is simpler to install a crawlspace by bringing the house up to or above ground level.
- There are aesthetic reasons. A raised house makes it look bigger.
Valor Mold proudly serves the areas of Fairfax VA, Washington DC, Alexandria VA, and Central VA (Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Waynesboro, Staunton, Lexington, Appomattox, Farmville, Culpeper, Harrisonburg, Fredericksburg, and Bedford). We are crawlspace mold removal experts. The purpose of this article is to explain how and why your crawlspace could be contaminating your indoor air.
Suspect that you have mold in your crawlspace? Call our mold hotline, 703-897-7121. Peace of Mind, just a phone call away! 🙂
What Will I See In My Crawlspace?
If you have not visited your crawlspace, take a look. Typically, you will find the following:
- Dirt. Most homeowners have a bare dirt or rock crawlspace.
- Ductwork. Many of your home appliances run out through the crawlspace area. Washers, dryers, and plumbing pipes are often found running along the ceiling of the crawlspace, to be vented or piped to the outdoors or external holding tanks. Ductwork for the home heating and cooling systems are also usually found here.
- Plumbing Pipes. Home plumbing is usually found in your crawlspace, funneled outside to your septic tank or the sewer system. These pipes are usually heavy duty so most homeowners are unconcerned about their safety. However, these pipes still require maintenance and care. Changes in temperature during the warmest and coldest months as water flows through them can cause condensation. Condensation and the increase of moisture in the air leads to mold growth.
- Electrical Wiring. Along the ceiling and walls of the crawlspace you will usually see electrical wiring. Keeping these safe from the gnawing teeth of crawlspace vermin is important.
- Vents. You will also notice various vents along the bottom walls of your house. These vents allow for air movement and ventilation for your crawlspace.
- Insulation. Insulation is important. If you see nothing but bare beams and dirt, this is a concern. Up to 40% of your air comes up from the crawlspace. You can lose up to 45% of your home’s heating and cooling energy through non-insulated crawlspaces. In addition, non-insulated crawlspaces will incur mold growth and attract insects, rodents, and other crawlspace vermin.
- Vapor Barrier. Vapor barriers help maintain the health of your crawlspace and your family. Crawlspaces protected from excess moisture are less likely to develop mold or allow vermin and insects into your home. Vapor barriers protect not only your crawlspace, but your entire home.
- Beams. Beams, heavy wooden or metal support structures, keep your home structurally sound. These beams run vertically and horizontally through your crawlspace structure.
- Drains/Pumps. You may also notice a drain in the floor of your crawlspace. Usually this is a sump pump, a water pump designed to carry any excess water away from the house in the case of a flood. Drains allow excess water to drain away a safe distance from the house, usually 6 feet or more.
- Critters and Other Creepy Crawlers. It’s all too common that a homeowner pokes his head into his crawlspace to discover a happy population of insects, mice, rats, squirrels, or even snakes! Getting these invaders out of your home can be challenging. To be safe, call a pest control company.
What Are The Clues That I Have Problems With My Crawlspace?
While you are taking a look at your crawlspace, give Valor Mold a call if you find any of these problems:
- Standing Water or Water Damage: Water damage can weaken the foundations and walls of your home, and needs to be dealt with quickly.
- Mold. Mold can be hazardous. If you have large areas of mold spreading across your beams, in your insulation, or along the ground it needs to be removed. Left unchecked, mold can severely damage your home and your air quality.
- Ruined Insulation: No insulation lasts forever, though some types of insulation are more long lasting than others. When insulation is falling to pieces or has rodents nesting in it, it’s time to remove the old insulation and replace it.
- High Humidity: Knowing your crawlspace humidity is essential to keeping it clean and safe. Vapor barriers are an important part of a crawlspace because it prevents moisture and high humidity, something that creates a breeding ground for mold and pests. If you have a bare dirt floor, crawlspace encapsulation is important.
Now that you understand what is in your crawlspace and the top four signs the remainder of this article will explain…
The Top Five Ways That Your Crawlspace Impacts Your Home!
Poor Air Quality
Moisture accumulates in your crawlspace because of high humidity, changing temperatures that leads to condensation, rainy weather, and the lack of preemptive solutions, like a vapor barrier. For this reason, it is important that the moisture content of your crawlspace is monitored properly.
If the moisture content of your crawlspace is not monitored, mold and rot will grow in the insulation or on the wooden beams. When the mold grows, it releases mycotoxins that can seep through the floorboards of your home, which in turn can cause sickness.
Even though the mold is growing under your home, you need to take action because 40% of the air in your home seeps up through the crawlspace.
Simply put, if your crawlspace has mold problems, then the indoor air quality of your home will be negatively affected.
High Energy Bills
Properly insulating your crawlspace will save on utility costs because the insulation prevents temperature transfers. This will ensure that your home stays cool when the air conditioner is running and warm if you need to heat your home during the colder months.
Rodents and Insects
Despite the fact that your crawlspace may be surrounded by a thick layer of concrete serving as the foundation, your crawlspace may not be as predator-proof.
There are two key reasons that rodents and insects can affect your home.
First, droppings and feces left behind will affect the air quality inside your home.
Second, certain rodents, like squirrels will get curious and start chewing on any exposed electrical wires, ruin insulation, or rip holes in a vapor barrier.
Moisture accumulation in your crawlspace will not only affect the air quality of your home, it can also seep through the ceiling of the crawlspace and damage your sub-floor. When this occurs, it will begin to warp and eventually need to repaired or replaced.
More than just the subfloor, however, moisture problems can also cause issues for the foundational level of your home. The wooden beams that hold up your home’s structure can be damaged by consistent exposure to high levels of moisture, condensation, or humidity. In some not-so-uncommon cases, crawlspaces have actually flooded, causing significant structural damage that resulted in thousands of dollars of repair work.
How Is Mold Removed From A Crawlspace?
In this video, our founder, David Myrick, explains why we often recommend dry ice blasting to remove the mold from crawlspaces and larger areas.
The key ingredient required to dry ice blast is dry ice pellets which are created by taking liquid carbon dioxide from a pressurized storage tank and expanding it at ambient pressure to produce snow which is compressed to make hard pellets.
Dry Ice Blasting is a process in which a blasting gun fires dry ice particles, about the size of rice, at extremely high speeds to impact and clean the surface. The particles are accelerated by compressed air. When the dry ice hits the surface, it goes from a solid state to a gas state without passing through a liquid phase and cleans the surface.
Dry ice blast cleaning is a favored method of cleaning mold because it is so effective and efficient.
Got Crawlspace or Mold Questions?
If you think you have mold in your crawlspace, leave the mold alone. As stated by Myrick:
Don’t touch it. Don’t spray it with anything. Don’t scrub it with detergent. Please don’t tear it out. Don’t put a fan on it or a dehumidifier on it because all these acts do is they tear the mold out and make the mold spores go air borne by the millions and you’re making the situation worse when you think you’re helping.
We are Washington, DC areas leading certified experts for mold detection and mold remediation.
Peace of mind is just a phone call away.
We look forward to serving you! 🙂
Crawlspace #Mold Forces Family Out Of Home https://t.co/EqgGuT574s #washingtonDc #Virginia Did you know that your crawlspace can impact the air in your home? This article explains why, explaining the top 5 ways your #crawlspace affects your home. pic.twitter.com/Zo6b6OoQJk
— Valor Mold (@ValorMold) November 25, 2019