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Can Mold in the Crawl Space Get Into the House?

Can Mold in the Crawl Space Get Into the House?

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While crawl spaces offer a convenient place to store plumbing, wiring, and other add-ons, they’re also prone to various types of mold.

Can mold in the crawl space get into the house? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at this problem and offer some solutions to combat mold in your crawl space. Early intervention is key to stopping mold in your crawl space from reaching your house.

Can Mold in the Crawl Space Get Into the House?

Because the crawl space of a house is often exposed to a lot of moisture, it can result in mold growth.

Also, keep in mind that mold spreads quickly. So, if you’re seeing mold in your crawl space, there’s a good chance that it can get into your house.

This is especially true if the growth of molds has already begun to multiply substantially.

How Does Mold Affect Your Health?

Now, why is mold getting inside your house a cause for concern?

For starters, exposure to mold can also cause headaches and fatigue in some cases. Repeated or excessive exposure can lead to even more serious reactions involving the upper respiratory tract.

In addition, when you or your family members are exposed to mold, it can cause several allergic reactions such as:

  • Wheezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Difficulty breathing

How Can You Tell if a Crawl Space Has Mold?

Make sure you’re wearing proper protective clothing and equipment when going into the crawl space for a mold inspection.

Then, check out below some of the common signs you’ll see if there’s mold in your crawl space.

1 – Signs of Decaying or Rotting Wood

Sometimes, water isn’t the only culprit that can leave behind decaying or rotting wood in the crawl space. It can also be caused by mold, which weakens the wood from the inside out, causing it to fall apart.

As mentioned above, mold spreads quite fast in decaying organic matter like wood, so it’s very easy to spot it once it’s begun.

Always keep an eye on the wooden framework of your crawl space to check for decaying parts.

2 – Musty Smells

The growth of mold produces microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC), such as mycotoxins. These compounds are known to give off a foul and musty scent unique to mold.

The smell will continue to grow stronger as the mold continues to reproduce and sporulate. Then, before you know it, it’s spread far and wide.

Thus, if you notice any unexplained stale and unpleasant odors in your crawl space, mold can be a possible culprit.

3 – Suspicious Colored Spots on Walls and Insulation

Mold can also come in different forms and colors.

One example is the most common type of indoor mold, Stachybotrys chartarum. It is also known as black mold because it typically forms dark, circular spots on the infected areas.

This species of mold is the most dangerous type. It’s been linked to more serious health issues other than the usual respiratory-related allergic reactions mentioned above.

4 – Persistent Allergic Reactions

Speaking of allergic reactions, another sign of mold is the occurrence of allergic reactions that just won’t go away. If these symptoms can’t be traced to a possible reason, you should seriously consider mold as a valid explanation.

Constant exposure to molds can exacerbate allergy symptoms and make them worse over time.

So, pay attention to your runny nose and watery eyes. These might just be manifestations of mold growth in your crawl space that has somehow found its way into the house.

How to Prevent Mold in a Crawl Space

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Preventing the presence of molds is definitely better and safer than dealing with extensive fungal growths.

1 – Control Moisture

Molds thrive in damp, moist environments. They actually need moisture to survive.

Thus, if you eliminate moisture, you also eliminate the chances of mold growth. Also, check for leaks in all systems throughout your home, including plumbing, heating, and cooling, which are some of the most common causes of moisture buildup in crawl spaces.

In addition, make sure you keep the crawl space clean and free of puddles after rainy days or storms. You can also use a dehumidifier to control moisture and humidity in the crawl space.

2 – Improve airflow

Improving airflow in crawl spaces is a surefire way to help prevent the buildup of moisture. One of the most effective ways to boost airflow is to use an exhaust fan.

When air is constantly circulating in the space, you enhance ventilation, which can prevent the spread of mold by expelling the spores out of the crawl space. As a result, spores don’t get as much of a chance to spread to other areas.

3 – Replace Decaying Wood

If you notice any wood that’s falling apart and showing signs of rot and decay, even if it’s still in the early stages, you have to replace it immediately. Mildew can quickly turn into mold if left unchecked.

Fungal growths thrive on the nutrients they get from wood and they’ll continue to eat away until there’s nothing left. Obviously, this can negatively affect the structural integrity of your entire home.

4 – Avoid Organic Materials

It can be difficult to completely avoid organic materials since wood is a common choice for crawl space foundation framework. However, if you’re using the crawl space as an extra area for storage, avoid storing things in there like paper and cardboard.

Different species of mold, including black mold, love cellulose materials such as these. One way to prevent them from finding shelter in your crawl space is by storing any organic materials in an airtight container.

5 – Conduct Regular Inspections

To help stop the spread of mold before it even happens, make sure you carry out routine crawl space inspections.

This way, if you do spot any of the signs we discussed earlier, you can quickly take action and stop it before it starts to spread.

Not only do regular inspections prevent mold growth, but they also keep your crawl space in good shape. While inspecting for mold and signs of mold, you can also take a quick look at your plumbing and wiring systems for added measure.

Just make sure you wear protective equipment, like a mask, to avoid inhaling airborne mold spores.

Final Thoughts

A crawl space is susceptible to the growth of molds because it’s usually damp and dark, which is the perfect combination for mold to thrive. So, can mold in the crawl space get into the house?

Yes, it can! Unfortunately, that’s bad news because exposure to mold can negatively affect our respiratory health.

When you suspect signs of mold in your crawl space, it’s best to mitigate the problem as soon as you can. The faster you deal with mold in the crawl space, the faster you can stop it before it spreads into other areas of your home.

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