Should you worry about Mold in your attic or Crawl Space?

The EPA Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) mentions that there are several reason why the air inside your house may be polluted. “Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the area.” Between these pollutants we find Asbestos, Carbon Monoxide , Lead, Mold, Radon gas, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Here we will focus only on Mold and the Microbial Volatile Organic compounds (MVOCs).

Even tough attics and crawl spaces are not livable areas, the effect they have on the Air quality inside your house differs from one another and the approach to each place should be different.

Mold in AtticATTIC MOLD

Usually attics have a well ventilated system that prevent mold or mildew to develop underneath the roof deck and on the rafters. However, overtime several problems may arise which create good environments for mold growth.

Roof leak, broken bathroom exhaust vent, insulation accumulation along the soffit vents, broken exhausts attic fans are some of the the reason for visible mold in your attic. It is very important to solve the moisture problem and poor ventilation while you are cleaning the mold in your attic, otherwise the mold contamination will reoccur. It is important to remember that mold spores are everywhere and they are just looking for the perfect environment to start developing.

The air migration from the attic into living spaces is minimum (unless there’s heavy mold contamination) but this should not discourage you to find a solution, this may become a big and very costly problem for you in the future.

CRAWL SPACE MOLD

The harmful air that circulates in basements and craw spaces will eventually make its way upstairs becoming a big percentage of the air in living spaces. Here, we are just going to talk about the importance on correcting the different problems you may have in a crawl space. Please refer to our Mold Removal and Remediation page for more information about mold types, mold health issues, etc.

For example: foundation leaks, plumbing leaks, sewage contamination, pest or rodents problems, mold on exposed floor joists and walls, damage or missing moisture barriers. Excessive humidity due to poor air circulation will require the inspection of your crawl space by an experienced contractor who will suggest a permanent solution.

Before or during resolving the mold problem, eliminating and controlling the source of moisture is vital. This may involve conditioning the crawls space (crawl space encapsulation), the installation of french drain and sump pump, installing or replacing new and ticker vapor barrier, replacing or installing a high efficiency dehumidifier designed specially for a crawl space, Installing new insulation around the exterior walls, and sealing all open cavities.

crawlspace air pressure

There are two types of crawl spaces: vented and sealed. Vented crawl spaces are associated with moisture problems and mold. It may seem like a good idea to allow fresh air to circulate through the crawl space, at least during the summer. Locating vents on opposite sides of the crawl space should let air waft through, removing moisture and keeping things dry, right? Not really. What actually happens is that water vapor in humid summer air comes into contact with cool surfaces under the house and condenses into water. The dampness can foster the growth of mold, leading to decay. This is an especially likely scenario in the east of United States, where crawl spaces are common and summer air quite humid.

Although older building codes required crawl spaces to be vented, newer versions of the code allow sealed crawl spaces. In most cases, a home with a sealed crawl space will use less energy than a home with a vented crawl space.

When crawl space walls are sealed and insulated, and the air in the crawl space is heated and cooled, the potential for condensation problems is greatly reduced. Perimeter rigid foam insulation can be applied to either the inside or outside of the walls.

Encapsulating a crawl space not only helps stop the moisture that could be causing the growth of mold in your home, but can also lower your heating and cooling bills. Crawl space encapsulation provides better comfort as well as lower utility bills!

CONDITIONED CRAWL SPACE

Crawl space encapsulationNot all closed crawl spaces are conditioned. A closed crawl space that is truly conditioned must have insulation located at the perimeter wall and a thermal barrier covering any foam plastic insulation.

The words “closed,” “sealed,” “unvented” or “conditioned” will likely continue to be used interchangeably to refer to a variety of crawl space designs that do not have ventilation with outside air.

Crawl space encapsulation should also include a humidity and ventilation control. This may be accomplished by two different methods: The dry air from the supply-side ductwork of the house air-conditioning system or a permanently installed dehumidifier.

What does a Mold Remediation or Removal Company do?

It is important to know what to expect from us when we arrive.

A professional, certified and experienced mold remediator should inspect the affected and surrounding areas thoroughly. In most cases a moisture meter will be used to help find the source of moisture and what maybe causing the mold problem. Then they will prepare a report with their findings, recommendations along with and itemized estimate.

 

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