3 Tips For Detecting Black Mold In Crawlspaces

black mold
Do you suspect black mold symptoms and growth in your home but can’t pinpoint the source? It may be under your feet. The crawl space beneath a house often provides the most mold-friendly conditions in the entire structure—moisture, darkness and ample food supply. As crawl spaces are also pretty creepy and most people avoid venturing there, mold may thrive undetected for years.

Black mold symptoms and growth originating in the crawl space typically aren’t contained there indefinitely, however. Airborne reproductive spores as small as 1 micron migrate through through tiny structural gaps, spreading contamination up into living spaces. Though certainly not all fungal growth turns out to be toxic black mold, here are three tips for detecting suspect contamination under your house:

  1. Trust your nose. Active mold growth releases pungent musty odors. As crawl space air carrying microscopic spores infiltrates rooms above, the air exchange also conveys those telltale smells. If a persistent mold-like scent cannot be traced to any obvious source inside the house, it’s time to call professional help to check the crawl space for mold growth.
  2. Follow the moisture. A crawl space affected by chronic water infiltration often harbors thriving mold. Sources of crawl space moisture may be inundation during heavy rains or leaks from household plumbing typically routed there. In locales with a high natural water table, moisture may exude from the dirt floor of the crawl space. Also, in humid climates, warm outdoor air entering the cool crawl space creates sufficient condensation on surfaces to trigger mold.
  3. Search for signs. Visual clues to mold growth in the crawl space are most conspicuous on its favorite food source—cellulose provided by raw wooden joists and beams. Exposed in the crawl space, wooden understructure and subflooring may appear conspicuously discolored, usually mottled gray or black, where mold grows. Decay is another side-effect of the same wet conditions that support mold growth, so wooden structure that appears rotted and deteriorated often harbors active mold, as well.

Black mold symptoms and growth patterns require professional expertise to accurately identify and effectively treat.

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