Crawl spaces are an incredibly cost-effective way to raise your home’s profile. These low, hollow areas underneath your house also you with a convenient area to install all the messy and bulky equipment your house needs to run, like your plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems.
Because crawl spaces are underground, they’re usually dark, warm, and moist – the perfect breeding ground for all types of mold. Without regular inspection and proper maintenance, toxic mold can enter your homes and damage your and your family’s health.
Thankfully, Allied Crawlspace Contractors has the perfect solution to your mold problems: encapsulating your crawlspace.
Why You Should Be Worried About Toxic Mold in Your Crawlspace
All mold grows in pretty similar conditions; they mostly thrive in areas that are damp and humid. There are different kinds of mold that can cause a wide range of reactions and illnesses.
Ignoring a moldy crawlspace just because it’s underground and away from your main living area won’t protect you from its harmful effects; air travels upwards from your crawlspace and into your home, so any mold spores in that area should be a cause for concern.
Allergenic molds are the least fatal, but they can have very persistent symptoms and aggravate asthma. Pathogenic molds are mainly toxic to people with weak or compromised immune system, like children, the chronically sick, or the elderly. The most deadly type of molds is called toxigenic molds. These can carry very severe health effects.
Stachybotrys, also known as the dreaded black mold or toxic mold, is a black, dark grey, or greenish mold that can make you very ill or even be fatal with prolonged exposure. It causes flu-like symptoms like diarrhea, headaches, memory loss, and more. More severe cases can lead to auto-immune diseases, brain damage, and pulmonary infections. Healthy adults can be affected by this, but it’s especially dangerous for small children and seniors.
Toxic mold also eats away at your house’s structural integrity. It feeds off of wood, weakening it, and putting you and your home and major risk of injury. Without intervention, mold can damage not just your crawlspace, but your floors and walls as well, making your home an unsafe place to live.
5 Toxic Mold Signs and Symptoms You Should Look Out For
Persistent musty, mold odor
Trust your nose on this one. Even if there are no visible signs of mold, a musty smell that lingers is a tell-tale sign. It’s very likely you have mold in your crawlspace if you can’t pinpoint the exact source of the odor, and it’s starting to permeate through your floors and walls. Act on this the moment you notice – the longer you put it off, the riskier it becomes.
Excessive moisture and condensation
Mold needs water to thrive and grow. Look for signs of moisture around the house – leaking walls, standing water in your crawlspace, or condensation forming around your home. These can all quickly lead to mold problems in your crawlspace. Be extra cautious if there have been heavy rains or floods recently since those create the perfect conditions for cultivating mold.
Respiratory problems and allergic reactions
If people in your home are suddenly getting sick without any explanation, and it persists no matter how many doctors visits or medications you take, you could have toxic mold lurking around your home. This is especially true if you don’t feel sick when you’re away from home. You should look out for allergy-like symptoms, such as coughs, runny noses, and itchy throats, but some symptoms may vary depending on the kind of mold.
Discolored surfaces, stains, and dark spots
Wooden floors and walls are the most vulnerable to mold coming in from your crawl space. Inspect your home for any gray or black discolored wood, no matter how small. Stains on your walls are signs that there is a leak somewhere – these should be inspected for further signs of water or mold damage.
Warped walls and sagging floors
Water damage can deteriorate your foundations and support beams. If you notice your walls are distorted or bowed, or the floors are starting to dip and crack, mold is a likely culprit. Excess moisture not only causes structural damage, but it also allows mold to thrive, further destroying your home.
Benefits of using encapsulated crawlspaces
As with anything, the key to fighting toxic mold in your crawlspaces is prevention. Encapsulation is a popular alternative to the usual ventilated crawlspaces because they protect your home from excessive indoor moisture.
Allied Crawlspace Contractors offer high-quality encapsulation services which involve covering your entire crawlspace with a heavy-duty polyethylene vapor barrier. This simple but effective solution comes with a whole host of benefits.
Encapsulation helps keep humidity at a healthy level, under 50-60%, which decreases if not eliminates the risk of mold growth altogether.
Better air quality
Since mold is unable to thrive in dry, non-humid conditions, there will be no more weird, musty smells coming out of your crawlspace. No mold spores also mean you and your family are safe from the health risks associated with toxic mold, allowing you to breathe easily and without worry.
More energy efficient
Studies have shown that encapsulated crawlspaces can translate to almost 20% reductions in energy use, significantly lowering your utility bills. Encapsulation provides additional insulation so that your HVAC appliances are working more efficiently to cool or heat your home.
Fewer pest problems
Unlike ventilated crawlspaces, encapsulated crawlspaces are completely sealed – preventing any rodents or pests from entering and destroying your home.
More durable flooring
Save money on costly floor repairs and maintenance. Encapsulation prevents expensive structural problems because of rotting wood and mold damage.
Get a tax incentive
Local, state, and federal governments offer incentives when you make improvements to your home.
Add value to your home
If you have plans on reselling your home in the future, an encapsulated crawlspace is going to be a very attractive feature for potential buyers.
Allied Crawlspace Contractors is one of the leading residential foundation repair experts in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Contact us today for a free estimate on mold-proofing your crawlspace.