If you own a home in coastal South Carolina, you’re already aware of just how high the humidity can be during the summer. You may even know the dangers of humidity to your personal health, but did you know that it can also affect your home’s health? Condensation and humidity are two of the main causes of mold in your crawlspace, and most homes are not protected against them.
What Causes Mold in Your Crawlspace?
Did you know that even brand new homes can have mold in the crawlspace in just a short amount of time? They can! That’s because mold spores are everywhere. It does need some specific conditions to grow, however.
It needs moisture, which isn’t hard to find in any area that has high humidity, like South Carolina. The humidity can cause condensation to form, which further facilitates mold growth. Temperature is also important and mold likes about the same temperature that humans do, though mold can grow in higher and lower temperatures, too. Mold also needs a food source, and the wood in the joists that are exposed in your crawlspace offer the perfect mold buffet.
Is Your Crawlspace Damp?
Moisture, temperature, and food – those three elements must be present for mold to grow, and the temperature and food are always there, so the real variable is the moisture. How do you know if your crawlspace has moisture present? You could go out and buy a special device that measures the moisture level in the crawlspace, but a few simple visual tests could tell the tale just as easily.
Test 1: Is there condensation or standing water in your crawlspace? If there is and you don’t have mold already, it won’t take long before it forms. Some mold can grow in as little as 24-48 hours.
Test 2: Is the soil in your crawlspace damp? Unless your crawlspace is fully encapsulated, you could still have moisture under the vapor barrier that’s escaping into your crawlspace. If your crawlspace isn’t encapsulated, and the top layer of soil seems dry, pull back the vapor barrier and look under it. If it’s damp, you have problems.
Test 3: Is your crawlspace vented to the outside? Many people assume that because they have vents in the crawlspace that lead outside, they’re okay, even if the crawlspace is a little damp. In fact, the opposite is true. If your crawlspace is vented outside, all of the humid air from the outside is getting in, and even a dehumidifier won’t resolve the problem.
What Can You Do About Mold in Your Crawlspace?
If you have mold in your crawlspace, or you’re worried that the conditions are right for mold, then there’s only one thing to do. Have your crawlspace encapsulated. Encapsulating the crawlspace involves creating complete coverage of the walls and the floor with a vapor barrier, insulation, and installation of a self-draining dehumidifier or electric vent to ensure that the encapsulated space stays dry.
If mold in your crawlspace is a concern, don’t panic. Instead, give Carolina Cool a call. We can evaluate your crawlspace to help you determine if you have mold, and how to prevent it or repair the damage that’s already been done. Call us today: 843-213-2050.