Crawlspaces Explained

Today we are going to talk about your crawl space and the foundation of your home, and the health effects it may have on your family.

Most people never go in the crawl space to check all the plumbing or ac duct work or even to check to see if there is water intrusion or what condition the vapor barrier is in.

Nobody really is excited to crawl under the house with spiders or rodents or whatever is hiding under your home. We have found cats, racoons, possums, snakes and I could go on what we have found under these homes for many years.

But the main reason you should have us do a thorough inspection under your home is we will do all the above we will inspect the plumbing, ac ducts wiring, water intrusion rodents and MOLD.

That’s it the word MOLD. You have probably had a neighbor or friend that had or has a MOLD problem in their home.

Then you think! It’s in the crawl space under the floor it can’t get up here in the house.

Well it does due to several natural occurrences.

Mold expels microscopic spores into the air to reproduce these spores are allergenic to some people especially to seniors that have a compromised immune system or small children that immune systems are not fully developed.

What causes mold to grow in the crawl space?

Number one reason is the foundation vents that allows humid air in the summertime to flow throughout the crawl space. The humidity levels in the summer reach %80 and sometimes even higher. Mold gets enough water out of the air through humidity to grow at approximately %60.

This does not mean you can close the foundation vents this will also cause mold growth due to humidity buildup from the soil.

The second reason is due to the temperature of the soil under your home which is usually about 64 degrees all year around. When air temperatures are much warmer outside the foundation ventilation system allows this hot humid air to flow into the crawl space.

The soil in the crawl space cools that hot humid air. For each one degree the air is cooled it raises the humidity level %2.2 once it reaches around % 60 mold has the water it needs to thrive.

This effect also causes the ac duct system to sweat on the outside and sometimes causes the system to sweat on the inside. Many homes still have metal duct systems that sweat on the inside causing the system to rust inside and puts humidity into the living areas of the home.

The third reason is caused by stack effect. Stack effect is when air goes in through the vents and will rise throughout the home all the way through the roof system. This also causes higher humidity in the crawl and living areas.

Did I mention all the above makes your ac system work harder to remove the humidity from the inside and cause energy bills to rise?

%40 to %60 of the air and heat comes from the crawl space according to many university studies. You are breathing air from your crawl space. Is it clean and free of mold?

Health effects of mold

Many people ask us what effect does mold have on my health? Different people have several types of symptoms to mold. Not everyone is affected by mold. Some folks are highly allergic to mold when others don’t have any symptoms at all.

To answer your question, I don’t know. This is a question for your family doctor. We can do an air quality test on your home and send the sample to an independent laboratory for analysis to see if you have elevated mold spore counts inside your home. Then you take the lab results to your family doctor and ask the professional if mold may be affecting your health.

One of the questions I get ask almost every day about mold. Is this the black mold? I cannot tell you what kind of mold this is the spores or seeds are microscopic and would need to be looked at through a microscope to tell what kind of mold this is.

The color of the mold is determined by what it is feeding on for example wallpaper with different colors can have mold growth on it that is the colors of the wallpaper. Just like Flamingos are white they turn a pink color due to eating shrimp.

The general public usually assumes that the black mold (Stachybotrys) is the only mold that is going to affect their health. Not true. There are many allergenic molds like Penicillium/Aspergillus, Cladosporium and others that cause health effects such as breathing problems, sinus, watery eyes and asthma.

If fact the Mayo Clinic says mold is the number one cause of asthma in people.

Lots of our customers are referred by Doctors that have treated patients for allergies with no success because the source of their allergies may be in their own home.

Therefore, many Doctors are recommending having your home inspected for mold and even having the home tested for elevated mold conditions.

This requires air quality testing which we will go over on our next segment.

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