Most homeowners are aware of the problems associated with mold. It can cause foul odors, and lead to health problems such as respiratory issues and allergic reactions. Commonly, people with sensitive immune systems are more susceptible to mold. Infants and small children, the elderly and anyone with a chronic lung problem can be affected by mold in the home. That is why it is important that families take the necessary precautions to prevent mold growth. Since mold is present in nature, it is impossible to completely eliminate the spores from the air that surrounds your home. But, you can take steps to reduce the amount and lessen chances that mold will grow.
Steps for Prevention of Mold in Your Home
Eliminate Humid Conditions
Search for and repair water leaks in your roof, windows and any other areas where water may be intruding. Over time this can cause wood rot, which damages the structural integrity of the home. In the short term, this creates a prime breeding ground for mold.
Look for Plumbing and A/C Condensation Leaks
Look for moisture building up on windows and walls. You can even test your home with a moisture meter to determine if levels are above normal. A typical home has moisture reading anywhere from 30-60 percent. This range depends on many factors, but the climate you live in will provide some indication.
Don't Let Water Stagnate
Whether in your crawl space or around the foundation, stagnant water can be your worst enemy. Standing water around the foundation can soak through foundation bricks, eventually passing through to the interior foundation walls. Be aware when planting shrubs or a flower garden too close to the foundation, as it can cause water to stand. Proper drainage is essential to prevent puddling water. This means making sure rain gutters are in good condition and properly funnel water away from the home. In the crawl space, water can puddle as well. This can be due to condensation on A/C ducts, plumbing leaks and even static pressure pulling moisture from the soil into the "void" of the crawl space. The only way to stop this problem is through crawl space waterproofing.
Consider a Dehumidifier as a Temporary Solution
Although this is a stop-gap type solution, placing a dehumidifier in the crawl space can help draw out the moisture from the air. Depending on the type of dehumidifier you use, you may have to empty the reservoir tank regularly or pipe the water to the outside. Additionally, the energy costs from running a dehumidifier constantly could be very costly. This is one of the reasons why this should be a temporary solution.
UV Lights Can Kill and Prevent Mold and Bacteria
Consider having UV lights added to your crawl space or duct work. Mold and bacteria cannot grow in UV light. Since mold cannot be completely eliminated by cleaning, UV light provides another degree of security. If you aren't ready for a UV light in your air ducts, professional air duct cleaning that removes pollutants like mold, dirt and dust.
Cover Any Open Soil in the Crawl Space
Like was mentioned above, moisture that enters the ground through rain water saturation or other means can infiltrate an unfinished crawl space through hydrostatic pressure. Even if the ground surface is dry, the soil may be soaked. The area in your foundation is dry, and will absorb the ground water, pulling moisture into the crawl space. Even if the wet soil doesn't cause moisture problems, it is likely that rain water will soak through foundation brick.
Your home needs ventilation. It is important, but foundation vents in humid areas like North Carolina can lead to bigger problems. Closing vents will reduce the transfer of humid, moldy air into the crawl space area.
Remove Any Visible Mold
This is a no brainer. In order to eliminate mold, all mold must be treated and removed. A proper cleaning solution with bleach can work on small areas, but commercial cleaning solution is required for crawl spaces and attics.
Seal and Encapsulate the Crawl Space Area
Completely sealing and encapsulating the crawl space is the best way to prevent moisture build-up from under your home. Crawl space encapsulation creates an impermeable barrier that keeps water out. Encapsulation is an extensive process that requires cleaning the area, removing all moisture and creating a drainage system. Once that step is complete, a solution is created that bonds to the surfaces of the crawl space, creating a complete seal. Seal all cracks in duct work and flooring. This can cause negative pressure in the home, and when the HVAC system turns on and pulls air through the ducts, cracks and creases in the ducts or flooring will pull mold laden air from the crawl space into the home.
Reduce Mold Growth Inside the Living Quarters of Your Home
Mold can live inside the home's living quarters as well. A few extra steps can be taken to help eliminate home mold. Clean your home - vacuum, and white down surfaces that mold can grow on. Clean dusty areas, as this can be a source of food for mold. Books, wood shelving, furniture and other organic materials are prime breeding grounds for mold. Keep theses areas clean and free of moisture as best possible. Change HVAC filters regularly Keep an eye for leaks under sinks and in bath areas near toilets, tubs and showers. If your home has a basement, that could be a source of moisture and mold within your home. Often, leaks and vapor make their way in, and, if left untreated, create severe problems with mold. Having basement waterproofing is the best way to stop the problem and prevent it from coming back.
Schedule a Consultation with a Mold and Crawl Space Specialist in Raleigh
Your home's air quality can easily be improved with mold remediation, basement waterproofing, crawl space sealing and encapsulation, and all the other services we offer to ultimately improve and protect your home. Our certified microbial specialists are available to discuss treatment for your home and set up a time to view your conditions. Give our Raleigh crawl space encapsulation team a call at 919-847-7072 or complete the online contact form.