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Why Do I Have Mold In My Crawl Space? Part One

Date Added: July 23, 2009 05:56:54 PM
Author: American Home Inspector Directory
Category: Real Estate & Home Inspection Articles

Why Do I Have Mold In My Crawl Space?

Part One

This is the first article in a series on crawl space mold.


One of the most asked about concerns in the home inspection industry involves mold. This series will discuss the mold industry, mold and history, mold and your health, mold myths, the cause of mold problems and solutions to help allergy proof your home.


Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores. The spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.


Certified Industrial Hygienist Barry Westbrook, founder and President of DocAir (www.docair.com), a building systems evaluation and indoor air quality consulting firm, asserts, ”Professional home inspectors are characteristically extremely cautious about moldy crawl spaces. The reason is simple – LIABILITY. Considering the publicity surrounding the perils of 'toxic mold,' the last thing any home inspector wants is a lawsuit. Fair enough. However, once discovered, the problems really begin when Realtors, property owners and mortgage bankers try to determine what to do about the moldy conditions.


Most folks struggle with the answers to mold questions.
Consider the following.

Mold is gold

An entire industry has been created on the panic created by concerns over mold. Growth in the mold inspection, testing and remediation industry has been extraordinary. The phrase “mold is gold” has driven many to seek special inspection certifications and testing credentials, and fueled tremendous growth in the mold remediation contracting industry.


Westbrook adds, "The detection and prevention of mold, improving indoor air quality and preventative mold maintenance has largely focused on assessment and collection protocol, sampling and investigation methods, laboratory testing and specimen identification.

Yet the fact remains, the key to mold control is moisture control. If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the problem. It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.


Mold and history

The written history of contaminated housing and its health effects can be traced back thousands of years. The Bible provides one of the oldest known references to ill health effects and contaminated housing. The Old Testament text actually describes mold removal methods. In biblical times, the priest acted in a similar fashion to today’s remediation contractor. If mildew was found in homes, the priest would order the contaminated stones to be torn out, the inside walls to be scraped clean, old stones to be replaced with new ones, and the walls to be replastered. The home was then to be monitored for regrowth.


The suspects that were capable of causing these dark moments in history are unfortunately still reeking havoc in indoor environments to this day.


Mold and your health

Lets first look at mold and your health, discuss mold myths and the never before told truth about mold, and consider solutions to crawl space mold problems.


Because some molds produce allergens and irritants, it is not uncommon for exposed individuals to experience hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose and red eyes, a skin rash, irritated eyes, nose, throat and lungs.

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