At StayDry Waterproofing, we see many cases of basement mold that are easily preventable. Having a good understanding of how mold grows can help prevent mold growth from happening in your home.The first step in preventing such is avoiding a damp crawl space, which is actually often difficult for Michigan homeowners, considering the region’s climate. Nevertheless, there’s plenty you can do to keep humidity levels low and moisture out of your crawl space. In short, a damp crawl space can have damaging effects on not only your home, but your health too.
Here at StayDry, we strive to not only provide Michigan with the best in waterproofing services, but to also inform our valued customers and fellow residents with the facts they need to keep their home’s intact and themselves safe. With this, let’s take a look at damp crawl space problems and how you can prevent them within your Michigan home.
Mold and Your Crawl Space
The effects of mold from a damp crawl space can and often do present far-reaching damages to your home, not to mention your health and safety. First off, a damp crawl space is the perfect place to mold to grow, which can present some serious health effects to everyone living in the home, including respiratory illnesses and fungal infections. Next, the damp conditions and likely rotting wood will attract pests like termites. These little pests will only make matters worse, feeding on the wood and weakening the structure of the home.
On top of all this, the dampness alone can be enough to damage concrete walls and wood structures, ultimately compromising the structural integrity of your home. Not only should you address a damp crawl space immediately, you should do what you can to prevent it entirely.
Preventing Indoor Humidity and a Damp Crawl Space
The first rule of mold prevention is to keep indoor humidity levels low. In doing so, you can actively prevent and/or stop additional mold growth. Maintaining your basement’s humidity at a point below 50% will not only inhibit mold and mildew growth, but also prevent infestations of dust mites and bacteria. Additionally, remember humidity levels need to be even lower during the winter months to prevent condensation from forming on windows and other cold surfaces. That range typically has to be between 25% and 40%. Regardless, keeping your home’s humidity down is essential, and there are plenty of ways to achieve such. See the list below:
- Make sure the ground slopes down at least 6 inches within the first ten feet from each exterior wall.
- Use a properly sized air conditioner.
- Use an electrically powered dehumidifier or a natural gas desiccant dehumidifier to keep indoor relative humidity below 50 percent (as measured in the middle of rooms) and below 60 percent near the coolest surfaces.
- Remove excess humidity from the kitchen, laundry and bathroom by using an exhaust fan or by opening a window.
- Use a heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator to remove excess humidity from the kitchen, laundry and bathroom while filtering the incoming fresh air to remove airborne mold spores, pollen, and dust.
- After taking a shower, wipe water droplets on the shower walls into the drain.
- Hang wet laundry outside or use a clothes dryer when indoor humidity is high.
- Reduce entry of water vapor from the soil.
- Keep the air pressure in the lowest rooms slightly higher than the soil gas pressure to minimize entry of water vapor through pores and cracks in the concrete.
- Insulate any cold water pipes that have a visibly damp exterior.
- Avoid storing papers, clothing, or other “mold food”, in contact with basement floors or outer walls where their moisture content could become high enough to initiate mold growth.
- Make certain that rainwater drains away from the building quickly enough to prevent saturation of walls and floors that contact the earth.
- Review the additional sources of information listed below to see how others have prevented or eliminated mold problems.
Further Actions to Prevent a Damp Crawl Space
Large quantities of water vapor and soil gasses can enter through the lower surfaces of crawl spaces, and result in mold growth in your crawl space. Here are a few suggestions that you can employ to avoid this:
- Cover the entire bottom surface of the crawl space with heavy gravel or porous material at least one inch thick.
- Cover the entire bottom surface of the crawl space with 6-mil polyethylene sheets. The sheets should be wide and long enough that at least six inches of the plastic can extend upward along each wall.
- Seal any seams where plastic sheets overlap.
- Seal the outside edges of the plastic to the walls.
- Use a fan to constantly pull water vapor and soil gasses from under the plastic to the exterior.
Avoid a Damp Crawl Space and Call StayDry
There’s no denying the seriousness of a damp crawl space. Considering the health and safety hazards moisture can present, it’s essential you resolve any humidity problems within your home as soon as they arise. Otherwise, your home, health, and safety could all be compromised by the damaging effects that often follow. While you can do plenty to help prevent humidity in your home, you may want to give StayDry a call so our professionals can ensure you’re safe from damages.
If you’d like to get in touch with one of our professionals, you can give us a call at 800.782.9379 or contact us for a free estimate.