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Does Crawl Space Mold Affect Your Health?

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effects of mold in the crawl space

Even with all the information on the web about mold and how it affects health, some homeowners in Fargo, ND, still take the issue of mold hold lightly. They may have never dealt with a serious infestation or experienced the health effects of mold exposure.

Mold is a serious problem in many homes with recurring moisture issues. While there are many types of mold, only a few species cause allergic reactions and health problems. It’s also important to point out that the way one type of mold may affect isn’t necessarily going to be the same with another type. Species that are known to trigger allergies include Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Alternaria.

Is Mold Exposure a Health Risk?

Mold, like any substance that affects indoor air quality, carries significant risk factors to homeowners across Fargo, ND. Most health professionals associated microbial contaminants like mold to allergies, asthma and other immunological reactions. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine found strong evidence linking mold exposure to upper respiratory tract infections, wheezing and coughing in otherwise healthy people. Though no evidence suggests mold causes health problems like asthma or bronchitis, it’s a known fact that mold exposure worsens asthma symptoms. Mold is also linked to hypersensitivity pneumonitis in people with low immunity or immune suppression. This rare disease resembles pneumonia and can occur after a short or long exposure to mold. Vulnerable groups such as veterans and sickly people may suffer more harm because of their condition.

Signs of Mold Allergy

Exposure to mold can produce a range of symptoms or no signs at all. Mold can produce spores that can irritate the bronchial tract. Allergic reactions can happen as soon as a person gets exposed to mold or afterward. It’s also not uncommon for vulnerable individuals to experience asthma attacks. Even in people who are naturally healthy, mold can cause skin rash or irritation, wheezing, coughing and redness of the eyes. The severity of allergies and other health risks associated with crawl space mold varies from person to person. In most cases, it depends on the type of mold and length of exposure.

When you inhale mold spores, your body will recognize them as foreign invaders and develop antibodies to fight them off. After the first exposure, your body will remember this substance and subsequently product histamine, which causes runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes and other symptoms.

What Causes Crawl Space Mold?

Mold exists naturally in the air. All it requires is a place to settle and grow. Since many crawl spaces are open and have high moisture levels and organic materials like wood, they make for the perfect breeding ground. Mold will come in and settle on wooden joists and beams as well as insulation and start reproducing. Water leaks, flooding, venting, cracks on the walls and faulty air conditioning can also contribute to mold growth. As long as your crawl space remains open and humid, mold will get in and take over this space.

How to Stop Crawl Space Mold

To stop mold in its tracks, it’s best to have a clean crawl space free of the perfect conditions mold loves. Here are different ways to prevent crawl space mold from taking over your home.

Keep humidity low. Aim for 30% to 50% all day long. Installing a dehumidifier can help you control moisture. Keep in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day. Levels are going to be higher during humid months.

Fix water leaks. Check your crawl space walls, plumbing, and gutters for leaks. Even the smallest leak can cause moisture problems and ultimately set the stage for mold growth. Where necessary, replace gutters and downspouts. Your basement contractor will take care of crawl space repairs.

Remove organic materials. Mold feeds on organic materials like cardboard, old newspapers, carpets, and firewood. If you have any of these in the crawl space, you’re making it easier for mold to come in and grow.

Seal the crawl space. An open or vented crawl space will always let in water, mold spores and moisture. Covering vents and encapsulating the crawl space with a plastic vapor barrier over the floor and walls will prevent water seepage and moisture migration.

Fix cracks. Cracks in your floor and crawl space walls and floor can also let in water. And this can mark the start of moisture and mold problems. Seal up all crevices to stop water seeping into this space.

Control flooding. Sometimes, rainwaters inundate the crawl space. Two things can help you deal with this problem. The first is an internal drainage system and the other is a sump pump. Both will drain water out of the crawl space and keep it dry.

Do you suspect mold has taken over your crawl space? Schedule a free crawl space inspection to confirm your suspicions or allay your fears. We’re happy to check the crawl space and apply relevant fixes to stop recurring moisture issues.

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