Dealing with Mold in Crawlspaces
Crawlspaces are mold growth hotspots—and it’s mostly by design. Basements and crawlspaces are cold, cramped, and could even be wet places. The humidity and moisture content of a crawlspace is exacerbated by its proximity to the bare ground. Mold also needs food to thrive, found in the soil, concrete, metal, and wood. These factors result in the perfect storm of mold formation. Green Home Air has some tips to getting rid of and preventing mold in these hard to reach areas.
Accept Your Moldy Fate
Because we spend such little time in our crawlspaces, we rarely detect the presence of mold growth until it’s overpowering. You can get ahead of a mold emergency in your crawlspace by thinking and planning for the worst, but hoping for the best. Your foundation is concrete and it’s a fact: concrete begins to crack after 25 years or so. Cracks lead to water leaks and seepage, and next thing you know, you’ve got surface mold.
Knowing you’re probably going to get mold at one point or another is the key to prevention. You might not be able to stop it completely, but you can keep it thoroughly in check by staying one step ahead.
Eliminating vs. Preventing Mold Growth
Eliminating mold growth is a costly and lengthy process that will require HEPA vacuums, nasty spray chemicals, and worst of all, working in a confined area. Flooding is generally a good reason to take on elimination. However, foundation cracks and water penetration are inevitable. The mold will return without preventative action, and it will most likely first reappear in your crawlspace.
Keep the Water Out
Check the perimeter of your home for standing water against the foundation. Look at the gutter drains. Do they extend more than 6 feet from the house? Go outside after a rainstorm and check for pools of water against the foundation. If you see water, you may need to upgrade your gutter system.
To Vent or Not to Vent
Adequate ventilation is key to preventing mold but there are two schools of thought. Some professionals recommend using dehumidifiers and fans to control moisture, while others suggest vents are more effective at curbing mold growth in crawlspaces. Both sides have compelling arguments, but regardless of your affiliation, a well-ventilated crawlspace will make it harder for mold to grow.
Try Plastic Sheeting
You can create a vapor barrier on top of the dirt crawlspace with plastic sheeting. The problem here is in the execution. If done properly, plastic sheeting is an effective barrier. If not done right, plastic sheeting can make the problem much worse.
The Last Resort for Mold Growth
If you’re still getting mold after trying all the above methods, you have two last-resort options. Apply some anti-mildew paint to the concrete in the crawlspace. The second option is more expensive, but you could insulate the concrete with spray foam insulation that will reduce mold growth.
Contact Green Home Air to get your free mold inspection today!
For more information, please contact Green Home Air:
Green Home Air:
3704 Laurelcrest St
Salt Lake City, UT 84109