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Fungal Growth in Crawl Space: What Causes It and What You Can Do About It

Fungal Growth in Crawl Space: What Causes It and What You Can Do About It

Have you ever gone into your crawl space to investigate a musty smell, only to find a thriving fungi colony? You are not alone! According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, as many as 1 in 3 homes in the United States have elevated levels of mold spores.

While most mold fungal growth Concord, NC is relatively harmless, some types can cause serious respiratory problems, so it is crucial to nip it in the bud as soon as possible. But what causes mold growth in the first place, and what can you do to prevent it? 

What Causes Mold to Grow in Crawl Spaces?

It doesn’t take much for mold to start growing; it needs a food source and a little moisture (between 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit and above 60% humidity level). When these two conditions are met, spores can quickly colonize and start to grow.

Crawl spaces are the perfect environment for mold because they are often humid and dark, with plenty of organic material to feed on, such as wood beams, insulation, and paper. Poor ventilation can exacerbate the problem by trapping moisture in the air and preventing it from escaping.

Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Moisture: The Culprit of Crawl Space Mold

Moisture is the number one cause of mold growth. Crawl spaces are particularly susceptible to moisture since they are below ground level and often have standing water from leaks or floods. If your crawl space has any type of water damage, you should call in a professional to assess the situation and determine the best course of action. 

There are a few different ways that moisture can enter your crawl space and start the fungal growth Concord, NC process.

  • Rainwater or melting snow that leaks through cracks in the foundation or gaps in the weather-stripping around doors and windows.
  • Humid air condensing on cold surfaces such as ductwork, pipes, or floor joists. This is more likely to happen in homes with poor ventilation.
  • Groundwater can also seep into the crawl space through cracks in the foundation or a poorly installed vapor barrier.
  • Plumbing leaks are another possible source of moisture. If you have any leaking pipes or fixtures in your crawl space, they need to be fixed as early as possible.

Humidity: Excess Moisture in the Air

As mentioned earlier, mold needs humidity to grow. If the air in your crawl space is too humid, it creates the perfect conditions for fungal growth Concord, NC. Ventilate your crawl space properly so air can circulate freely. Doing so will help keep the humidity levels down and prevent mold from forming. 

You can measure the humidity levels in your crawl space with a hygrometer. The ideal range is from 30% to 50%. You can also check for musty odors and look for condensation on surfaces such as pipes, ductwork, or floor joists. If the humidity level is above 60%, you will need to take steps to reduce it, such as installing a dehumidifier or increasing ventilation.

Organic Material: Mold’s Favorite Food

Mold feeds on organic material, so if there is anything in your crawl space that mold can grow on, it will. This includes wood beams, paper, and cardboard. If you have any of these materials in your crawl space, they need to be removed or replaced.

You should also ensure that any wood in your crawl space is properly sealed and treated to prevent fungal growth Concord, NC. If you have a vapor barrier installed, make sure it is free of holes or tears.

Lack of Ventilation: Stale, Humid Air

A lack of ventilation is often the result of poor design or inadequate sealing around doors and windows. Insufficient airflow in the crawl space can build up moisture and humidity, leading to mold growth.

Be sure to check for any gaps or cracks around doors and windows. Additionally, inspect your crawl space for proper ventilation. You may need to install some if you don’t have enough vents.

You can also use a fan to help circulate the air in your crawl space and prevent mold from taking hold. Just be sure that the fan is properly sealed and vented to the outside.

Mold can be a serious problem in crawl spaces. If left unchecked, it can cause extensive property damage and pose a health risk. Keep an eye out for any signs of fungal growth Concord, NC, such as musty odors, condensation, or visible mold. If you see any of these, take action immediately to prevent the problem from getting worse.

The Effects of Crawl Space Fungus

No one likes an unwanted houseguest. You know the type: they show up unannounced, make themselves at home, and before you know it, they are everywhere. Well, there is one unwelcome guest that can wreak havoc on your home: crawl space fungus. 

Here are just a few of the effects it can have on your health and property:

  • Damage to Structural Elements

We have mentioned that crawl space fungus feeds on cellulose—a key component of woody plants. If left unchecked, they can cause significant structural damage to your home by weakening joists, beams, and support columns. Your home is literally being eaten away, which may result in costly repairs in the future.

  • Health Risks

Some types of fungal growth Concord, NC produce toxins that can be harmful to your health. Inhaling these toxins can cause respiratory problems such as asthma attacks, bronchitis, and even lung infections. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mold exposure has been linked to various health problems, including difficulty breathing, headaches, itchy eyes, skin irritation, sneezing, wheezing—and even depression!  

  • Increased Allergens

If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma, exposure to mold spores can trigger an allergic reaction or an asthma attack. EPA reports that as many as 20% of Americans suffer from allergies—and that number is only increasing!  

  • Poor Indoor Air Quality

Crawl space mold doesn’t just pose a risk to your physical health; it can also affect your home’s air quality. Poor indoor air quality is associated with a host of health problems, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and liver damage.

  • Increased Energy Bills

The fungus can insulate your home, making it harder for heat to escape in the winter and cool air to enter in the summer. This can lead to higher energy bills as your HVAC system works overtime to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Ways to Keep Mold Out of the Crawl Space

Most homeowners’ initial reaction to fungal growth Concord, NC is to try and clean it up themselves. However, this is not always the best solution. It can often make the problem worse. If you disturb the mold, it can release spores into the air, which can cause health problems for you and your family.

The best way to deal with crawl space mold is to prevent it from taking hold in the first place. The following are a few tips to get started:

  1. Ventilate the Crawl Space

Good ventilation is key to preventing mold growth. Vents help circulate air and keep the area dry, reducing the humidity level and making mold harder to thrive. Whether install vents or fans in the crawl space or open up the area to allow air to circulate more freely. Ensure not to open up too much of the crawl space, or you will risk losing heat in your home.

  1. Install a Crawl Space Encapsulation System

Encapsulation involves sealing the crawl space with a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from seeping in. You can hire a professional to install an encapsulation system or do the job alone with a do-it-yourself kit. Make sure to do your research and follow the instructions carefully.

  1. Keep the Crawl Space Dry

After all, one of the main reasons for fungal growth Concord, NC is due to excess moisture. Keep the area as dry as possible by fixing any leaks that may be present in the foundation or walls of the space and draining the gutters properly so there would be no water seeping in through cracks in the foundation. You should also consider installing a dehumidifier in the crawl space to help absorb any moisture that does get into the area.        

  1. Keep an Eye on the Crawl Space

Mold is a serious problem that should not be taken lightly. Inspect your crawl space regularly for signs of mold, preferably every month or so. The sooner you take care of the problem, the less damage it will do.

Call Us for Expert Mold Removal Services!

CrawlSpace Xperts’ mission is to provide the highest level of fungal growth Concord, NC customer service in the mold removal industry. We are dedicated to our clients and will work with you to ensure your needs are met. We have a team of certified professionals who are experienced in mold removal. We offer crawlspace encapsulation, mold remediation, and mold removal services. 

Give us a call at (803) 524-8045 to get connected with a certified mold removal specialist in your area.