Does Crawl Space Mold Affect Your Health?

April 20, 2020

While mold is smelly and unsightly, the potential health problems are much more serious. A lot of people don't seem to take it seriously until it is too late. Even if you rarely visit this space, mold can easily find its way into your home. Poor moisture management is often to blame, leading to a whole host of problems.

Let’s look at ways mold impacts your health and find out who faces the greatest risk.

How does crawl space mold affect your health?

When mold spores get into your home, they can affect your health in different ways. Slight infestation can trigger allergies, causing you to sneeze. Your eyes may also become red, itchy, and watery (allergic conjunctivitis). A skin rash may develop and this may be accompanied by a chronic cough. Sinus congestion, hoarse voice, and headaches are common also.

If you have asthma, your condition may worsen as mold interferes with your upper respiratory tract. Severe reactions may occur and breathing may become laborious. People with immune-compromised conditions are likely to develop hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a rare condition that causes inflammation of airspaces (alveoli) in the lungs.

Another health concern is mycotoxicosis or simply mold poisoning. Telltale signs include nausea, giddiness, drowsiness, twitching, convulsions, and prolonged sleepiness. While doctors can do allergy testing to uncover whether you've developed allergies, no proven test can pinpoint where or when you were exposed to mold.

Who is at risk of mold-inducted health issues?

Mold affects people differently. Some people may not get affected by mold exposure at all while others may become sick when they come into contact with mold. If you are allergic, you may become sensitive to mold. Likewise, if you have a chronic lung disease or immune suppression, you're at risk of developing fungal infections. The same goes for individuals with respiratory diseases such as obstructive pulmonary disorder or asthma. 

Besides people with asthma or allergies, others who are at risk are kids, the elderly, and patients undergoing chemotherapy. Anyone who falls into this group may experience respiratory issues and breathing problems. In case you or your loved ones have any of these underlying conditions, consult a medical doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

What types of mold should I worry about?

Your open or vented crawl space can attract different types of molds. Not all of them are dangerous. Our biggest concern should be black mold, which releases mold spores. As well as releasing spores, it also causes mycotoxins. Black mold triggers allergies and worsens existing respiratory problems. Even a slight exposure is harmful enough to your health. Don’t take it lightly.

White mold is less invasive but still has the potential to cause allergies. It usually manifests as mushrooms. The other kind is yellow mold. Though it doesn’t cause health problems, it can damage the underlying infrastructure of your home, specifically wooden joists and supporting beams.

Preventing crawl space mold

Since mold thrives in humid spaces, the best way to curtail is growth is to regulate indoor humidity. Internal moisture should not be more than 50%. Check the levels of humidity during different times of the day. If moisture is constant, get a dehumidifier. It will help you bring down moisture levels.

To curb mold growth, do the following:

  • Inspect your home for signs of mold and water damage.
  • Clean your mold daily and deal with any mildew or mold as soon as you spot it.
  • Install exhaust fans in your kitchen/bathroom.
  • Open windows to improve air circulation.
  • Install an HVAC unit with a particulate filter (HEA) to remove spores that may be floating around the home.
  • Remove any carpet in the basement or kitchen.
  • Mix your wall or ceiling paints with a mold inhibitor before you apply them.
  • Dispose of or recycle organic materials, old books, and newspapers as they get moldy.
  • Insulate cold surfaces such as floors, windows, and exterior walls to reduce condensation.
  • Dry wet surfaces within 24 hours to stop mold growth.
  • Fix leaking pipes or any seepage and ensure the ground around your home slopes away.

Mold in the crawl space is bad news. Don’t buy time whenever you notice any of the telltale signs. Schedule a free crawl space inspection with one of our brand companies serving your area to find out whether you have mold problems or not, and what you can do to fix them.