Moisture is Key to Controlling Mold in the Crawl Space

The crawl space is a perfect place to grow mold. It is one of the least visited areas of the home. This discreet location allows mold to grow for extended periods of time without being disturbed. In addition, the home’s heating & cooling system helps moderate crawl space temperatures, delivering near-perfect growing conditions year round.

The crawl space itself provides an almost unlimited food supply to sustain mold growth. The organic building material that makes up your house! How can our builders do this to us?

You Don’t Have a Mold Problem, You Have a Moisture Problem

Mold needs three things to grow; water, food & oxygen. Oxygen & food will always be present in air and organic host materials. Moisture is the only parameter on the list that we have the ability to control in a crawl space environment. If there is one important takeaway from this blog post…it is this – If you want to keep your crawl space free of mold, you have to be able to control the moisture in this area. PERIOD.

Four Ways to Reduce Crawl Space Moisture:

Following is a list of ways to reduce moisture in a crawl space. Starting from outside of the foundation working in:

Route water away from foundations by extending gutter downspouts:

Roofs collect and concentrate a tremendous amount of rain water during storms. Gutter downspouts that are not extended discharge this water in the exact place it should not go…along foundation walls and eventually into the crawl space.

Routing the water away and down gradient from crawl space walls reduces the amount that can come through cracks and unsealed utility penetrations.

Something Missing?

Water Always Finds its Way! – Collect & control water once it’s in:

The foundation waterproofing painted on by your contractor has an effective life span of about 10 years. Water, having no concept of time, relentlessly pushes against the foundation walls eventually forcing its way into the space through cracks and other developed weakness. Water that enters will accumulate in low areas of the crawl space and on top of vapor barriers. In this case, the vapor barrier works against you reducing the natural infiltration of water into the subsurface. Pooling water dramatically increases overall relative humidity inside the crawl space as it is a convenient & readily available moisture source.

A convenient place for water to accumulate in a crawl space is around low spots around foundation piers. Subsidence and the undermining of foundation piers due to water intrusion can lead to sagging & damaged flooring.

Installing a perimeter drain & sump pump will capture, control & remove water that enters the crawl space. This reduces the water’s potential to increase the relative humidity.

Always install a vapor barrier!

Controlling the water that enters the crawl space is only half the battle. A tremendous amount of water vapor is transferred from the earth into an unprotected crawl space though a process called evaporation. A properly installed crawl space vapor barrier is the most effective way to reduce the moisture that comes directly from the ground surface and should be installed in every home. The worst crawl space mold problems we see are typically with homes with missing vapor barriers. Instead of a few wet areas caused by a foundation leak, all areas not protected a vapor barrier contribute water vapor to the environment.

Condensation from duct work & leaking HVAC systems provides an additional supply of crawl space moisture. Reduced air movement and the lack sunshine reduces evaporation inside the area making drying difficult. Covering the earthen floor of the crawl space with a vapor barrier eliminates a large potential source of water vapor that could enter.

Install a crawl space dehumidifier:

Installing a crawl space dehumidifier helps remove moisture from the air and building materials inside of the crawl space. Their robust construction allows them to function in an unforgiving environment for extended periods of time without worry & maintenance.

Moisture is a critical component in the life cycle of mold. Understanding the different ways to control the moisture is the key to controlling mold growth in the crawl space.

Does every crawl space need encapsulated? Click the link to learn more about Encapsulated Crawl Space Pros & Cons and if they are right for your situation.

Would you like to schedule a free crawl space inspection? Click the link to learn more about the service and to schedule a time to come out!

Just had Fresh Air Tech address and resolve a chronic moisture problem in our crawlspace. I'm very pleased with the entire process. Company owner Jay is the opposite of the pushy salesmen we spoke with at other outfits. And my final invoice was less than we agreed to, because the Fresh Air crew found a way to solve one of my issues with less labor and therefore a reduced price. Happy to recommend these guys.
Frank Alexander
Frank Alexander
16:48 23 Oct 23
Knowledge based company with excellent customer service, efficient response and work quality. Loved each tech I worked with, they put human in the definition of being human. Can't stand scripted robotic responses and you won't find it here.
Makhi Mitchell
Makhi Mitchell
00:55 18 Nov 19
Amazing work. Bought a house built in the 60s that had never had ducts cleaned. Before and after pictures blew me away. Crew was so professional. Recommend Highly!
Renee Shumaker
Renee Shumaker
02:32 15 Jul 18
Este lugar me da buenos opciones..
Florencio Solano
Florencio Solano
22:26 17 Aug 17
I recently discovered a mild mold problem in my crawlspace and begin my search for a company to remediate. Fresh Air Tech. seemed to have the best treatment plan for my situation and was the most competitive when it came down to the price. I had the mold removed/sprayed with prevention chemicals, crawlspace cleaned with a new vapor barrier and a dehumidifier installed. I didn't know what to expect never having to deal with this before but I can ensure you these guys do not cut corners and did an excellent job. The cleaning crew (3 guys) arrived about 8AM and were under the house until about 4:45PM cleaning and sanding taking a quick 30 minute lunch break around noon. They returned the next day to install the vapor barrier and to finish cleaning up. The dehumidifier also comes with a monitor that displays the temp and moisture level down in the crawlspace which i thought was pretty cool. Excellent job, thanks again team.
Gary Young
Gary Young
03:16 14 Aug 17
Great company - thanks Neil & team for a job well done!
Carl Zimmerman
Carl Zimmerman
15:31 26 Jun 15
Mike, your page is looking Great!
Geary Morris
Geary Morris
15:10 31 Oct 13

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