Mold can be a precarious threat to your home or business and its inhabitants. Known health risks associated with exposure to common strains of mold spores are: respiratory irritation and infections, skin or eye reactions, and neurological issues such as migraines, listlessness, and memory or attention problems. Of course, people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, COPD, and allergies are more prone to mold-related health issues but anyone can suffer after being exposed to mold spores. In addition to the human health risks, mold can rot and destroy the physical structures in a home by eating away at wooden material found in flooring and framing.
Detecting and eradicating mold is paramount to the health of those occupying a space, including pets. Most structures have some type of crawlspace where access to pipes, ducts, flooring, and electrical is located. Most crawlspaces are poorly ventilated and are prone to moisture buildup. Dirt floors, wooden sub-flooring or wall framing and fiberglass insulation are common places for mold to grow, as these materials provide a food source to the mold colony. Moisture can easily get into a crawlspace by coming inside from outside gutters and storm window wells, or leaky interior plumbing and air conditioning systems. Where there is moisture, there will inevitably be mold.
Often, the first noticeable sign that you may have mold is a pungent or musty odor, which many people associate with crawlspaces and basements in general. Taking a look at the ceiling (which is often the underside of the floor above) may show discoloration or fuzziness. That is the mold. With insulation and dirt floors, you likely will not be able to visually detect any mold, because it grows within the layers of material. At-home mold tests are available but we cannot stress enough the importance of your health and the possibility of spreading the mold when you are testing any areas. A crawlspace provides access to many areas of the rest of the building through ventilation networks and cracks in the sub-flooring, and any mold spores that are disturbed can easily travel to another location- making the problem worse.
After mold is confirmed in a crawlspace, proper steps must be taken to ensure that the mold is not going to reappear. A professional mold removal team will properly seal the space to ensure that spores do not make their way into another location. The next thing that must be done to stop mold growth is to locate and remedy any sources of moisture in the crawlspace. After this crucial step, reputable restoration companies like Abbotts will suggest that you replace any fiberglass insulation with a less porous and penetrable material to prevent further growth. Finally, wood and dirt surfaces will need to be properly cleaned with antifungal agents, as well as dried and sealed to ensure the longevity of the restoration work.
After all of this, multiple testing procedures must be done to make sure that the removal was successful. Air and surface samples will be taken in numerous locations to detect mold, as well as various moisture readings. Different types of mold prefer different levels of moisture so it is important to make sure that all gradients of moisture are addressed and fixed.
If you suspect that you have mold in a crawlspace, it is important to educate yourself about the potential dangers and signs, and then contact Abbotts to ensure the safety of your structure and its inhabitants.