Moisture is a common problem in crawl spaces. Sometimes, there may even be pools of water under your homes.
Can water in a crawl space cause mold?
Standing water, oxygen, along with correct temperature and humidity levels, provides a breeding ground for mold growth. This is a concern you’ll want to get to the bottom of fast.
Fortunately, this article will discuss why you won’t want water and mold in your crawl space.
Molds and their spores are naturally present in the environment. In small amounts, they’re generally not harmful.
The problem arises when molds grow at significant levels, especially indoors. Usually, this occurs in dark, damp, and cool conditions.
It stands to reason that a crawl space is at a high risk of mold attack.
For starters, molds can feed on the abundant organic matter underneath your home. They can also form colonies and remain undisturbed because of the minimal activity in this area.
Water is another factor that allows molds to thrive. Spores easily attach to surfaces and grow when crawl spaces become too damp.
It’s even worse when there are pools of water that aggravate the condition.
The presence of molds in crawl spaces can go unnoticed at times, so regular checking is highly beneficial.
However, you may not see molds right away despite frequent inspections.
The spores take root or germinate once molds attach to surfaces and are kept in suitable conditions. Soon after, they create more spores and eventually spread.
This reproduction can happen as early as 24-48 hours, under optimal humidity and temperature. Then, a colony forms in around 3-12 days and becomes visible within 18-21 days.
Growth often starts in tight areas that make it harder to spot.
Nevertheless, there are telltale signs of molds in your crawl space.
A musty smell is one warning sign. Air that feels too damp is another.
If you observe large amounts of water, you can very well suspect mold growth.
Again, molds are health hazards, so safety precautions are necessary when dealing with them. Plus, your crawl space can contain shards and sharp nails from its construction.
If you intend to do the clean-up, wear a suitable respirator, long sleeves, knee pads, gloves, and heavy pants for protection.
However, for more extensive mold growth, it’s best to hire experienced contractors to do the job.
Mold growth is just the beginning of more severe problems if left unattended. Your home’s foundations may begin to rot and decay.
The floors on your main house may sag, buckle, and create creaky noises as a sign of damage. Worse, structural supports may collapse.
On top of that, mold spores can produce toxins that contaminate the air you breathe. As a result, you may experience breathing difficulties, allergic reactions, and other health concerns.
That’s why it’s essential to address the cause of mold growth in your crawl space. You’ll need to dry out the area if you observe high moisture levels and standing water presence.
It’s also equally important to trace where the water is coming from so you can limit its passage.
Identifying water sources is critical in your crawl space’s upkeep. You can begin by looking into how much water you’re dealing with.
If you observe water droplets, these are likely condensates due to outside air. When hot, damp air meets the cold surfaces of the crawl space, water molecules condense.
In this case, the solution is to maintain proper ventilation.
Moisture can also come from water vapor that rises from the dirt floor. You can fix this issue by simply installing a vapor barrier.
If you already have one in place, but it seems ineffective, you may want to check for holes and tears.
Groundwater is another possible source of water in your crawl space.
This isn’t surprising during periods of heavy rains when water tables rise and there are plenty of runoffs.
If your area is prone to these occurrences, make sure to properly construct floor drains. You may need to use a pump as well to quickly get rid of standing water.
Many moisture issues in crawl spaces come from leaks in plumbing, drain, and water supply pipes. The location of the water can guide your troubleshooting.
If you notice puddles below your bathroom or kitchen sinks, then leaks in these areas are highly likely.
You’ll need to call a plumber to fix your pipes immediately to avoid more costly repairs in the future.
Can water in a crawl space cause mold? Water is a requirement for mold growth. So, it’s critical to dry up all standing water and reduce air moisture to the correct level.
Recognizing water sources such as piping leaks, groundwater runoffs, and water vapors is another key step in your crawl space’s upkeep.
Limiting these sources prevents damage to your home and puts you at bay from possible health risks.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.