Attic and crawl spaces are two of the most common areas of mold growth in the home. Many families don’t often check their attics and rarely if ever peek into their crawlspaces. This means mold-related problems in these areas, much like attic mold, are often not discovered until the problem has already grown to a significant size.
Mold can cause numerous issues for your home and health
If you suffer from a headache, stuffy nose, or some type of allergic reaction when at home, but is relieved shortly after leaving the building, it’s possible that these symptoms are caused or worsened by indoor air pollutants and allergens such as mold spores. As wet attics and crawl space moisture becomes an increasingly large problem for homeowners across the United States, more and more people are having their health affected by crawl space and basement mold.
Mold in Attics
Attics are a perfect breeding ground for mold because they are uninhabited, dark and warm due to the lack of heating and cooling vents in them. If the attic has improper ventilation, poor construction, or windows that are not properly sealed they are the perfect conduit for rain and moisture to make their way in. Once every few months, or after major rain storms or snowfalls, check your attic thoroughly for signs of moisture.
Mold in Crawl Spaces
Crawl spaces without insulation or vapor barriers installed are a danger for mold growth and are a serious threat to the foundation of your home. It’s important that a crawl space is ventilated year-round to prevent the excess moisture building up and pooling on the walls and ceiling of the crawl space. Think of a cold pitcher of water outside on a hot day; the condensation on the outside of the pitcher is essentially what you have inside your home.
The science behind house mold
- A typical mold spore will be about 10 microns (0.0002 inches) in size and can grow anywhere where there is sufficient warmth, food, and humidity in the air to absorb moisture
- Any organic material – including dust, fabric, wallpaper, wood, and paint – all provide more than enough nourishment to keep mold healthy and growing
- The Journal of Property Management reports that one square inch of drywall can contain 1 to 10 million spores as small as 1.5 microns in size! There are more than 1.5 million species in existence, and some molds grow only in the home.
- Mold grows year round in any home – no matter how clean, and according to Human Ecology, fungus consists of an estimated 25% of the Earth’s biomass.
- When mold reproduces it sends seed-like spores out into the air. As long as the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they can land, grow, and spread
- Time Magazine reports that there can be hundreds of thousands of mold spores in a single cubic meter of air indoors, and a single person inhales 10 or 12 cubic meters each day.
How mold spreads throughout your home
Unfortunately, even you have mold only in the basement or crawl space, its spores will rise throughout the home. The reason for this is called the «Stack Effect.» The stack effect is what causes warm air to rise in the home and exit through the upper levels and attic. As this happens, a vacuum is created on the lower levels which draws air upwards from the basement and crawl space. Anything in that air – including mold spores, humidity, dust mites, and odors – will be drawn into the main area of the home, which obviously is where you breathe.
Cleaning and removing crawl space and attic mold with bleach or biocides is only a temporary solution. Mold remediation of this type can eliminate mold in the short term, but unless the reason that it was there in the first place is not eliminated, there’s nothing stopping house mold from returning. To worsen the situation, dead mold can still cause allergic reactions as well, and microscopic mold spores that were not removed can lay dormant for years while they wait for the opportunity to grow. Additionally, while mold resistant coatings may keep mold off the surfaces they contact, mold will still have a surface to grow on unless you can also coat your ventilation ducts and every piece of organic material that enters the house.
What to do about mold in your attic and crawl space
Think mold in your attic or crawl space is no big deal? Think again! Just because mold is out of your direct line of sight doesn’t mean that you should ever put it out of your mind. Even a seemingly small mold problem can quickly spiral out of control as it spreads on your health and quality of life. Fortunately, with some determination, it’s possible to take down this dastardly.
Why Does Mold Grow in Attics and Crawl Spaces?
When inspecting your home for mold, your attic and crawl spaces should be among the first locations that you take the time to look over. These areas are the perfect breeding grounds for mold. Why? First of all, they are typically quite dark and humid. Secondly, these areas are uninhabited, which means that mold growth can go unchecked for quite a while before anyone even notices. Checking for mold in these locations is essential to ensure the health of your family and the integrity of your home
What’s the Big Problem with Mold?
If you don’t typically venture into your home’s attic or crawl spaces, you may find yourself wondering why you should be worried about mold growth in these locations. The answer is simple – while you may not come into direct contact with the mold problem in these areas, mold spores can easily be absorbed by a draft, an attic fan, or even your ventilation system and carried into the main parts of your home. From here, you and your family will be exposed to low-quality air that can lead to health problems. Mold in the home has been associated with upper respiratory problems, snoring, allergies, and aggravated asthma symptoms.
In addition to impacting health, mold can also wreak havoc on household items that are in and on your home itself. Mold spores are resilient and will feed on just about anything that they come into contact with. If mold is allowed to grow on or within your home’s ceilings, walls, foundation, carpets, fabrics, etc., it will eventually create significant and costly damage.
How Can I Prevent Mold in Attics and Crawl Spaces?
There are certain steps you can take to get rid of existing mold and prevent new mold growth. Here are a few suggestions:
- Conduct Regular Inspections – Crawl spaces, attics, and ductwork should be regularly inspected to ensure structural integrity and monitor the growth of mold. Making it a point to routinely check these areas for signs of problems will help you catch any issues before they are out of control.
- Insulate These Spaces – One of the reasons why attics and crawl spaces are so humid and moist is that they are not properly insulated. Investing in insulation for these areas can reduce the risk of mold growth and save you a lot of grief in the long run.
- Reach Out to the Pros – If you suspect that mold may be growing in your home’s attic or crawl spaces, it’s important to address the problem quickly. Mold can be very difficult to get rid of, and it can also compromise your health should you come into contact with it. The best course of action is to seek out a professional mold abatement contractor with the equipment, training, and experience required to safely and effectively banish mold from your home.
Are you in need of mold abatement services? The team at Hi-Provac has the experience and equipment necessary to properly take care of your home. Contact us to learn more today.