Crawl Space Drying >> How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment does not recommend testing as a first step to determine if you have a mold problem. Reliable air sampling for mold can be expensive and How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture requires expertise and equipment that is not available to the general public. 

Mold inspection and cleanup is usually considered a housekeeping task that is the responsibility of homeowner or landlord, as are  roof and plumbing repairs, house cleaning, and yard maintenance. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Owners of individual private homes and  apartments generally will need to pay a contractor to carry out such sampling.

Because insurance companies and public  health agencies seldom provide this service. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Another reason the health department does not recommend testing for mold contamination is that there are few available standards for judging what is an acceptable quantity of mold. In all locations, there is some level of airborne mold outdoors. 

If sampling is carried out in a home, an outdoor air sample also must be collected at the same time as the indoor samples, to provide a baseline measurement. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Because individual susceptibility varies so greatly, sampling is at best a general guide. The simplest way to deal with a suspicion of mold contamination is: 

If you can see or smell mold, you likely have a problem and should take the steps outlined below. Mold growth is likely to recur unless the source of moisture that is allowing mold to grow is removed and the contaminated area is cleaned. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture GENERAL CLEAN-UP PROCEDURES 

The following is intended as an overview for homeowners or apartment dwellers. We recommend that you consult EPA and other documents listed in the useful publications section. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Elements of the Clean-up Procedures Identify and eliminate sources of moisture. Identify and assess the magnitude and area of mold contamination. 

Clean and dry moldy areas – use containment of affected areas. Bag and dispose of all material that may have moldy residues, such as rags, paper, leaves, and debris. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Assessing the Size of a Mold Contamination Problem There will be a significant difference in the approach used for a small mold problem.

Total area affected is less than 10 square feet and a large contamination problem more than 100 square feet. In the case of a relatively small area, the homeowner or maintenance staff, using personal protective equipment, can handle the clean-up. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture However, for cases of large areas, it is advisable that an experienced, professional contractor be used. 

A list of contractors can be located. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment does not accredit, certify, recommend or endorse the listed contractors; their credibility can be checked at the following websites: www.acgih.org, www.aiha.org and www.ascr.org. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Can mold cleaning-up activities be hazardous to my health? 

Yes. During the cleaning process, you may be exposed to mold, strong detergents, and disinfectants. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Spore counts may be 10 to 1000 times higher than background levels when mold contaminated materials are disturbed. Take steps to protect your and your family’s health during cleanup: 

When handling or cleaning moldy materials, it is important to use a respirator to protect yourself from inhaling airborne spores. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Respirators can be purchased from hardware stores; select one that is effective for particle removal (sometimes referred to as an N-95 particulate respirator). 

However, respirators that remove particles will not protect you from fumes (from cleaning materials). Minimize exposure when using bleach or other disinfectants by ensuring good ventilation of the area. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Wear protective clothing that is easily cleaned or discarded. Use rubber gloves. Try cleaning a test area first. 

If you feel that this activity adversely affected your health, you should consider paying a licensed contractor or other experienced professional to carry out the work. Ask family members or bystanders to leave areas that are being cleaned. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Work for short time periods and rest in a location with fresh air. Air out your house well during and after the work. 

Never use equipment with a gasoline engine indoors, such as the engine on a water pump, pressure washer or generator, as you could expose your family to toxic levels of carbon monoxide. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Removal of Moldy Materials Clean up should begin after the moisture source is fixed and excess water has been removed. 

Wear gloves when handling moldy materials. Discard porous materials, such as ceiling tiles, sheetrock, carpeting, and wood products. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Bag and discard moldy items; if properly enclosed, items can be disposed with household trash. Dry affected areas for 2 or 3 days. 

Because spores are more easily released when moldy materials dry out, it is advisable to remove moldy items as soon as possible. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture If there was flooding, sheetrock should be removed to a level above the high-water mark. Visually inspect the wall interior and remove any mold-contaminated materials. 

What can I save? What should I toss? You should discard moldy items that are porous and from which it will be difficult to remove mold completely, including paper, rags, wallboard, rotten wood, carpet, drapes, and upholstered furniture. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Contaminated carpet is often difficult to thoroughly clean, especially when the backing and/or padding have become moldy. 

Solid materials glass, plastic, and metal can generally be kept after they are thoroughly cleaned. Clean-up When attempting to clean less porous items, the first step is to remove as much mold as possible. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture A cleaning detergent is effective for this purpose. Wear gloves, mask and eye protection when doing this cleanup. 

Use non-ammonia soap or detergent, or a commercial cleaner, in hot water, and scrub the entire area that is affected by the mold. Use a stiff brush or cleaning pad on cement-block walls or other uneven surfaces. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Rinse cleaned items with water and dry thoroughly. A wet/dry vacuum cleaner is helpful for removing water and cleaning items. 

Disinfection of Contaminated Materials Disinfecting agents can be toxic for humans, not just molds. They should be used only when necessary and should be handled with caution. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Disinfectants are intended to be applied to thoroughly cleaned materials and are used to ensure most microorganisms have been killed. 

Removal of mold growth from nonporous materials usually is sufficient. Wear gloves, mask and eye protection when using disinfectants. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture After thoroughly cleaning and rinsing contaminated materials, a solution of 10 percent household bleach (1 cup bleach per gallon of water) can be used as a disinfectant. 

Using bleach straight from the bottle is actually LESS effective than diluted bleach. How To Ventilate A Crawl Space To Control Moisture Keep the disinfectant on the treated material for the prescribed time before rinsing or drying, typically 10 minutes is recommended for a bleach solution.

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