I owe you an apology. We are not going to clean your crawlspace for $75.
But now that you are here… there is something important we need to talk about.
I saw this very ad as I was scrolling Facebook the other day. “$75 Crawlspace Cleaning Special! Kill Mold & Remove Odor!”.
It sounds too good to be true because it is too good to be true. These companies will most likely send out a low paid worker to spray your crawlspace down with a mold killer & odor neutralizer. You’ll feel great about the deal you got, and you’ll be no closer to solving your problem.
If you are concerned about the condition of your crawlspace, you need to make sure your investment in fixing it will be money well spent.
Here are the steps that should be part of any comprehensive crawlspace mold cleaning.
1: Identify the problem
Why are you concerned about your crawlspace? It’s an easy place to forget about. Why bother?
Something has you thinking there is an issue. Is your family suffering from sinus related symptoms? Do you see visible mold growth? Do you have drainage issues? Can you smell the crawlspace inside your home?
These are all important questions to answer. You need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you start laying down cash.
This is where we start every crawlspace mold inspection. We figure out how it is impacting the quality of your life and why you want to solve the problem.
2: Assess the physical space
If you have a mold problem in your crawlspace, there is a reason. There is no sense in cleaning the mold without understanding why it is there in the first place.
Mold is a fairly predictable animal.
Microscopic spores are present in the natural environment. Those spores settle on the surfaces of your home, including the crawlspace.
All mold species feed on organic matter such as wood framing. When that food source is combined with a high enough moisture level… those spores reproduce and turn into what you recognize as mold.
We know that we can not remove mold spores from the environment, and we know we can not remove wood from your crawlspace. That leaves moisture.
Anyone claiming to be addressing your mold problem should be identifying the source of excessive moisture and offering solutions for correcting it. This takes a comprehensive understanding of buildings, mechanical systems, and drainage.
3: Clear the path for mold removal
If mold is growing in your crawlspace, cleaning what you can see is not good enough. Most every crawlspace mold remediation will require removal of insulation and any other materials that are unsalvageable or blocking access to the mold.
4: Don’t kill it. Remove it.
Believe it or not, killing mold is not good enough. Dead mold and accumulated spores are still capable of causing allergic reactions and other adverse health effects.
This is the real downside of the $75 special.
They may come in and kill the mold, but your crawlspace will still be full of dead fungi and leftover spores. Those will continue to create the problems you had prior to the cleaning.
Proper mold remediation protocols specify complete removal of mold and their spores. Processes such as sanding, abrasive brushing, wet wiping, blasting, chemical lifting, and HEPA vacuuming are all methods utilized by professional mold remediators to get the mold gone.
5: Seal the gaps
Studies have shown that a significant amount of crawlspace air can enter the living areas of a home.
For every cubic foot of air that leaves your home, another cubic foot must enter to replace it.
That means that when you open a door or window or turn on a bathroom fan, the air that escapes must be replaced from somewhere.
More often than not, your crawlspace provides the easiest path for this makeup air to enter, bringing with it all the crawlspace nasty.
Leaky HVAC ducts, flooring systems, plumbing and electrical penetrations, and gaps in framing are all places that air can flow freely from the crawlspace into the living room.
After investing in cleaning the crawlspace, steps should be taken to close up as many of these air gaps as possible.
6: Fix the moisture
The last step to fixing your crawlspace issue is to fix the moisture issue. It may be groundwater, condensation, poor drainage, or leaking pipes.
Whatever the cause, if you don’t fix it the mold will simply repeat the cycle of growth.
Wrapping it All Up
A mold problem in your crawlspace is not the end of the world. It’s an entirely solvable problem. I just don’t want to see you put your good money after bad.
At Branch Environmental, we believe that the health of your family is the highest priority and you deserve to breathe easy in your home. We offer comprehensive assessments and remediations that follow the best protocols available.
Save your $75 for a nice dinner on the town, and give us a call to help fix your problem for good!