The crawl space under your house could harbor dampness, critters and mold that could be very unhealthy for those living “above ground.”
Mold in the crawl space may cause respiratory problems as well as allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. They may experience hay-fever-like symptoms such as sneezing, a running nose, red eyes and a skin rash. Once mold begins to grow, it can spread to furniture, walls, carpets, and other interior surfaces. A sign there is mold below could be a dark spot on a wall or floor that has a dank, musty smell.
Because of the toxic nature of mold in crawl spaces, it is important to have a professional inspection of the crawl space on a regular basis--as often as every six months or whenever a suspicious odor or signs of water or possible pest infestations are detected.
Located between the ground and the first floor of a home, crawl spaces usually provide access to the electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems located below the first floor. Inspections often reveal not only the presence of toxic molds but also plumbing leaks, structural issues and water issues that can create an increase in humidity and a musty smell.
During the inspection, a licensed and certified home inspector or crawl space inspector will look for signs of moisture, pests and rodents. Inspectors also will check exposed pipes, ductwork and wirings as well as openings and gaps in the crawl space.
If problems with the crawl space are detected, inspectors may recommend installing plastic sheeting as a vapor barrier, insulating your crawlspace or even using a humidifier or sump pump to address moisture issues. Average cost for a crawl space inspection ranges between $100 and $250.
Besides identifying problems in your crawl space like water, pests and mold, an inspection is an opportunity to maintain this important but often ignored space beneath the first floor. In the process, you will be taking steps to ensure the health and safety of those living in your home.
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