Mold is a kind of fungus that is found almost everywhere. One of molds role is to break down natural things such as old food. Although it is everywhere, it is harmless in small amounts. However, if molds ends up in a damp area within your home, it can grow. It grows especially quickly in moist, dark spaces such as basements. Molds then can become a problem since they have the potential to produce allergens, irritants and even disease.
Mold remediation can be a costly expense to a homeowner if the damage is severe. We here at Warren Restoration understand that the best case scenario for our clients would be if they never had to contact us at all! You can catch mold growth before it becomes a problem if you stay conscious of these early signs.
Crawl space problems pop up all the time, especially in older homes. There are many problems that can, and most likely will happen with any home over a period of time. In this article, you will learn about the most common crawl space problems in older homes.
Moisture is one of the most common crawl space problems. Moisture can cause wetness, smells, and even mold. When water is in your crawl space, it will evaporate and seep through your insulation and the rest of your home, which creates the potential for mold to travel throughout your house. Here are some of the ways moisture can affect your crawl space:
Open Crawl Space Vents– Open crawl space vents let in moisture, which allows the environment to create wood rot, mold, mildew, and dust mites.
Dirt- Every crawl space will have exposed dirt. Unfortunately, the dirt will absorb moisture, then dry and send the moisture throughout your house. This will change the humidity and potentially add to your energy bill.
Weather- The weather elements are one of the biggest contributors to moisture crawl space problems. If you suffer from rain and humidity in your area, they will cause major issues in your crawl space.
Crawl space problems can also be caused by your house settling. A house will settle when the soil underneath can’t support the weight of the house anymore. This can cause many issues with your crawl space. Poor preparation and moisture are the biggest reasons of this happening. Here are some other reasons house settling may occur:
Poor Drainage- When your home has little to no drainage system, then the water from your gutters and roof will end up around your foundation. The soil expands due to the water, and it pushes against your crawl space foundation, creating cracks.
Plumbing Leaks- You probably didn’t think that a plumbing leak could lead to your house settling, but it can. When you have a leak inside of your home from plumbing, it can easily spread to your crawl space. Cracks in pipes or water lines from your home harm your foundation and create water damage in your crawl space.
The construction of the foundation, floor joists, and support beams of your home can play a major role in dealing with crawl space problems. If the support pier columns aren’t spaced properly, the floor joists will sag, which results in squeaky, uneven, and sagging floors. Some crawl space foundations let in more water and air, which causes problems. Concrete block is cheap but will let in the most moisture, whereas poured concrete is better and won’t cause issues unless there are cracks or holes.
Now you are aware of common crawl space problems in older homes. Remember to keep out moisture, as it can create mold and other issues. Also, remember to check settling issues and have the best foundation for your home. Keeping these issues in check will reduce the number of crawl space problems you deal with.
DIY mold prevention fails for three general reasons. First, the do-it-yourself person failed to use appropriate cleansers to kill already existing mold. Second, the general conditions are just too favorable to mold for most protection to be helpful. Lastly, appliances that are used DIY for mold prevention were not properly maintained after installation. When one or more of these reasons is present, you can expect that more serious mold eradication efforts will become necessary down the line.
1. Inadequate cleansers were used in the DIY mold prevention attempt
Not every household cleanser is up to taking care of mold prevention. Chlorine bleach is the most common, all-purpose household cleanser. A solution of chlorine bleach and water can scrub your shower and tile spic and span, but won’t do anything to prevent mold from growing or eradicate a mold infestation.
Mold is a fungus. While not precisely the same as a plant, mold still has roots. These roots burrow deep into porous surfaces. Chlorine bleach will kill mold, but only on the surface of a porous material such as wood, drywall, or fabric. Chlorine doesn’t “soak in” to materials the way that water or some other household cleaners will. You can kill the mold and spores on the surface of the material, but if any mold has already sent down roots it will just regrow. Bleach and water also evaporate at different rates; if you use a bleach and water solution, the bleach will evaporate and the water will stay behind. Mold loves moisture. If any roots are present, your cleaning technique winds up giving them a feast.
2. General conditions are favorable to mold
Mold spores are microscopic, and it’s unrealistic to think that you can keep them out of your home. Spores can get a ride in on your shoes, on your pets, or may even blow in on the breeze if you open a window. In small quantities, mold spores pose no health risks, or no more than any other pollen—some people may have allergies to specific kinds, similar to hay fever. These spores only become a problem when they find conditions that allow them to grow. If every spore that enters your home finds favorable growing conditions, it will be much more difficult to clean enough to keep them out.
Keep the humidity in your home low. Basements and other areas of the home may require the installation of dehumidifiers and fans to keep humidity low. Warmth is good for mold, but be aware that keeping your home very cool may promote condensation. Fortunately, human comfort and mold discomfort are similar environments. Aim for a low humidity home with a thermostat set around 78 degrees.
3. Appliances that manage moisture are not maintained
Installing a sump pump, dehumidifier, or major air moving system will cut your mold risk dramatically, but it’s important to keep these appliances maintained. Consult your owner’s manual and warranty to learn about scheduled maintenance requirements. Make notes to do things like empty the collection tray on your dehumidifier so it keeps operating at peak efficiency. A clogged air filter or leaking sump pump isn’t going to keep mold out of your home.
In summary, DIY mold prevention fails mainly through lack of continued attention. Scheduling regular maintenance will make sure that your appliances are kept in good working order. These machines will help you make sure that the general conditions in your home are unfavorable to mold. Using non-bleach cleaners and soaps that cleanse porous surfaces will bring your DIY mold prevention to its top level.