Crawl Space Drying >> Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space

Crawl spaces and basements can become moisture laden, supporting the growth of mold and the decay of building materials and providing ideal conditions for insect pests and even rodents. Moisture and contaminants can be driven into living spaces by the differences in air pressure between the crawl space/basement and Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space the living spaces above. 

This exchange can be much greater when forced-air heating and air-conditioning equipment is  located in basements and crawl spaces; the strong system airflows can pick up pollutants through any leak in the equipment,  Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space plenums or ductwork and quickly disperse them throughout the home. 

Building codes traditionally have required the passive venting of crawl spaces to the outdoors, Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space with the vent sizing dependent on the floor area of the crawl space and whether a vapor retarder such as polyethylene was present to reduce moisture entering the crawl space from the soil. 

However, research has shown that ventilating air entering the crawlspace from outdoors during warm, Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space humid seasons wets rather than dries crawl spaces even if effective drainage and damp proofing systems are installed to keep liquid water out and a vapor retarder is in place on the earth floor. 

However, conditioned crawl spaces have been shown to provide better moisture control, and they are more energy efficient. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space The International Residential Code (2009) provides for un-vented crawl spaces (R408.3). 
Conditioned crawl spaces have several essential elements: 

Perimeter walls (including an access door opening to the outside, if provided) that are sealed to prevent infiltration of outside air (no passive vents). Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space Insulated walls to reduce the transfer of heat either into or out of the space. Floor covered with vapor-retardant membrane (with or without a concrete slab covering the vapor retarder) to control soil moisture (see Specification 1.2). 

Either mechanical exhaust ventilation or conditioned-air supply. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space Floor drains leading to daylight outdoors or to a sump pit. In warmer weather, a sealed crawl space prevents warm air from entering through wall vents and condensing on surfaces cooled by the ground temperature inside the crawl space. 

Sealing also produces energy savings by preventing the loss of dryer conditioned air (or during winter months, warmer conditioned air) that has been supplied to the space. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space How Ventilation openings should not be installed in the crawl space walls (except when an active exhaust fan is located in the wall to provide mechanical ventilation, described below). 

In addition, the following locations must be air-sealed using caulks, adhesive, air-sealing foam, gaskets or adhesive membranes: Exterior entry hatches or doors. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space Joints between the top of the foundation wall and the mud sill, between the mud sill and the rim joist and between the rim joist and the sub-floor. 

Around ducts, pipe conduits or other penetrations through the wall or rim joist. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space Foundation walls may be insulated on their outside, inside or, in the case of insulated concrete forms, both sides. Insulating on the outside keeps the foundation wallÂ' temperature and moisture content more uniform throughout the year. 

If insulation is applied to the interior side of a basement wall, materials that can act as vapor barriers (e.g., polyethylene film, foil-faced paper or vinyl wall covering) should not be used.(see Specification 1.12). Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space The vapor barrier can trap any moisture present in the foundation wall, creating moisture and mold problems on the wall' interior surface. 

Moisture and humidity issues are not eliminated once the crawl space is sealed. In the sealed environment, Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space a small amount of moisture or humidity can cause a significant moisture problem unless provisions are made for some level of air exchange with conditioned air. 

This is accomplished with mechanical ventilation of the crawl space in essentially two ways: Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space An exhaust fan inserted into the crawl space wall removes a small amount of air from the crawl space and it is replaced by drawing a small amount of conditioned air from the living space (through cracks and other openings in the floor above into the crawl space). 

If radon-resistant construction is necessary (see Specification 2.1), do not implement this option because it can interfere with the operation of the mitigation system. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space A small amount of conditioned air (minimum 1 cfm per 50 sq. ft. of crawl space floor area) is blown directly from the heating and air-conditioning system (from equipment located in the living space above.

Ducted to the crawl space, or directly from HVAC equipment located in the crawl space). Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space This "Moisture Control" Technical Guidance module was developed by EPA to support the Construction Specifications of the AgencyÂ' indoor air quality (IAQ) labeling program for new homes,Indoor airPLUS. 

This program recognizes new homes equipped with a comprehensive set of features designed to reduce the risk of compromised air quality in new homes. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space Each moduleÂ' technical information supports the labeling programÂ' Construction Specifications. 

The technical guidance is intended to assist home builders, energy raters, and other housing professionals in implementing the specifications. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space While this module presents significant details regarding installation methods and materials related to each specification, the guidance most importantly presents a principle that should be achieved in order to control a pollutant risk. 

For example, the principle may be to establish a drainage plane in the exterior walls to prevent rain from penetrating the wall system. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space While the guidance illustrates several approaches to establishing the drainage plane, it is not practical to attempt to capture every method and material that will meet the specification. Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce. 

Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. 

When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. 

It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Clean Up Procedures For Mold In A Crawl Space Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced. 

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