Crawl Space Mold Prevention in New Jersey
New Jersey crawl spaces are one of the many hotspots for major mold development. Often times, crawl spaces suffer from dampness that can easily go unnoticed for extended periods of time. In the presence of water, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold spores to germinate and spread to be a major contamination. That is why it is important for NJ homeowners to take the time to learn the signs of potential mold growth and how to implement preventative measures to avoid mold development all together. Taking the time to routinely check your crawl space and implement a few moisture control methods can go a long way to ensure crawl space mold prevention and avoid serious repairs later down the line.
Why is Crawl Space Mold so Bad?
Crawl space mold development can lead to serious health problems and serious structural damage to your NJ home or business. Certain species of mold have the potential to produce mycotoxins that are dangerous to humans. Exposure to mold can result in symptoms ranging from mild allergies to serious upper respiratory problems. Reactions to mold exposure will vary per individual. Some may be more sensitive than others due to various factors: the individual themselves, the length of time of exposure, the species of mold and several other factors.
The purpose of mold in the natural, outdoor environment is to breakdown dead organic matter to be recycled back into the ecosystem. Now, imagine mold doing that to the building materials of your home. Mold and the underlying water problem will eat away at the structure of your home and do some serious damage to your property.
What Causes Mold in New Jersey Crawl Spaces?
New Jersey crawl spaces can be the ideal breeding ground for mold if a homeowner is not careful. If all that porous, cellulose-based building materials are exposed to moisture buildup, you will run the risk of mold development. When it comes to mold, excess moisture is one of the main causes. Effective crawl space mold prevention requires a thorough understanding of what causes crawl space mold in the first place. Here are some of the more common crawl space moisture sources:
- Elevated relative humidity – 55% or higher
- Undersized wall vents
- Insufficient air circulation
- Dirt or sand floors- emit moisture/water vapors
Crawl Space Mold Prevention Tips For NJ Homeowners
Constant moisture control and regular home maintenance are important parts of crawl space mold prevention.
Leaks– Regular leak checks will allow you to spot and address leaks early on to prevent major damage.
- Check for water leaks from the crawl space ceiling or foundation walls.
- Be sure to repair any damage to your crawl space ceiling or foundation walls as soon as possible.
- If notice any signs of water damage, you should address it immediately. You may need to contact a professional to get to the bottom of the leak and stop it before it leads to mold development.
- Check all HVAC components and plumbing systems running through the crawl space for leaks or condensation.
- Water leaks need to be properly resolved before you develop a mold problem– it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to develop in the presence of moisture.
Foundation– Damage to your foundation or water buildup outside your foundation can leave your crawl space vulnerable to water intrusion.
- Look for any cracks, masonry damage, or interior signs in our main living space– these can all be warning signs of foundation damage in NJ.
- Manage drainage around your foundation. It is important that all rain runoff is draining away from your NJ home so that it does not collect and pool around your foundation.
Landscape– Your home’s surroundings are very important to keeping rising water out. You always want water to flow away from your home.
- Make sure that you plant your trees with sufficient space between the tree and your home. Tree roots are aggressive and their growth can apply unwanted pressure to your foundation walls. Depending on the kind of tree, you should plant your trees roughly 15-20ft away from you home to avoid damage to your foundation.
- Track the water pattern during heavy rain. Keep an eye on your yard during heavy rain to see if/where the water approaches and pools near your home. If you notice consistent pooling, contact a landscaper or excavation contractor for advice on how to direct the water away from your home.
- Your lawn should slope away from your home. If you notice that your lawn is graded in the wrong direction, towards your home, your home may be vulnerable to flooding. You should consult a landscaper for an appropriate solution.
- When you place mulch, be sure that you leave a 6-inch gaps between your mulch and the siding of your home. The moisture in the mulch can wick into the siding and rot away the building material.
Gutters– Regular gutter checks and maintenance
- Make sure that gutters and downspouts direct water AWAY from foundation walls. Water that flows towards the home can seep into the crawl space and cause water damage and mold development.
- Clean your gutters regularly– your gutters should be free of all debris to avoid backups. Overflowing gutters can encourage water buildup around the foundation walls.
- To help prevent leaves from getting into your gutter, you can install gutter guards. But even with gutter guards, it is still good to make a habit of checking your gutters to make sure nothing gets lodged in the crevices.
- Make sure that the downspouts are not connected to your foundation footer drain tiles or to underground dry wells.
Insulation– Crawl space insulation helps to prevent humidity and condensation by reducing heat loss and cool air loss.
- Check the condition of your crawl space insulation at least once or twice a year.
- Always conduct checks after any water intrusion, pest infestation, or any other crawl space problems.
- Look for sagging or missing insulation. Damaged insulation can be an indicator of water problems.
- Damaged insulation cannot do its job properly and will be ineffective in preventing moisture buildup. This will leave your crawl space vulnerable to mold development.
- It is important to properly replace any damaged insulation as soon as possible.
- If your crawl space is not already insulated, you should consider hiring a professional to properly install insulation in your crawl space.
- It also promotes energy efficiency and a smaller energy bill (who doesn’t like cheaper bills?!).
Vapor Barrier– A crawl space vapor barrier is a layer of plastic installed over the dirt floor of a crawl space to control moisture emitted through the dirt floor.
- Vapor barriers control moisture levels by slowing or preventing the evaporation of ground moisture into the crawl space air.
- If you detect signs of excessive crawl space moisture, a vapor barrier can go a long way to prevent potential mold damage.
Ventilation– Properly installed and sufficiently sized crawl space vents can help air flow to aid moisture control.
- It is generally recommended that there be 1 square foot of ventilation for every 150 square feet of crawl space.
- However, ventilation needs depend on various factors, so please consult a professional for an expert opinion. There will be times when vents may be better off closed versus open.
- Make sure that vents from other parts of the home empty outside and away from the home. For example, if your dryer vents empty into your crawl space, you may face some serious humidity issues.
Dehumidifier– Crawl Space dehumidifiers can help to keep your NJ crawl space dry. If you crawl space is especially damp or humid, a dehumidifier can help.
- Make sure that you pick a dehumidifier that is the right size and capacity for the needs of that specific space to ensure effectiveness.
- Regular dehumidifier maintenance will help to preserve the quality and effectiveness of your unit.
If you suspect you may have developed a mold problem in the crawl space of your New Jersey home or business, contact a professional mold company to have your crawl space inspected. A Mastertech crawl space mold inspection in NJ will determine if you have mold, how bad it is, what caused it, and how to safely and effectively remove it.
The NJ crawl space mold removal professionals at Mastertech Environmental will specifically develop the most efficient and safe NJ crawl space mold remediation scope of work to ensure the most thorough and successful cleanup of your property. Each Mastertech mold removal is backed by a 5-year, mold-free warranty. It is our promise that the mold has been safely and properly removed, and it will not return.