5 Big Reasons to Inspect Crawl Spaces For Mold on Your Next Home Purchase
Insects, pests, and rodents are just some of the common culprits that can wreak havoc on any well-built home. While these traditional nuisances are cause for concern, they can often be easily dealt with.
But the biggest mistake that most new home buyers make is not inspecting for one of the most problematic pests affecting homes in the United States today -- mold!
At the 60th annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), a seven-state study presented by the University of Arizona found that 83% of households had mold growing in windowsills, around refrigerator seals, and air vents1.
East coast states, especially Maryland, also find mold and mildew build-up to be prevalent in crawl spaces where moisture, humidity, and condensation can create the perfect environment for growth.
If you are buying a new home with a crawlspace, mold should be a very serious concern as it can cause structural issues, health implications, and lower the aesthetic appeal of your home.
It’s always a good idea to include a mold inspection contingency in any new offer to purchase to address any mold-related issues with the home.
Here are five reasons to inspect your next Maryland dream home for mold and how you can remediate the issue before moving in.
Identify Structural Issues
While it may not seem overly concerning, having mold and mildew in your crawlspace can actually put you and your household at serious risk.
Mold tends to grow in places that are damp and moist. Over time it can cause structural supports to rot and deteriorate. Furthermore, it can help exacerbate the damage caused by water leaks, seepage, or flooding.
Having crawl spaces inspected for mold and mildew will identify structural issues pertaining to flooring, walls, and beams that will allow you to negotiate and remediate before moving in.
Not only can structural issues be a safety concern, but they can be extremely costly to repair so addressing these early in the purchasing process is crucial.
Prevent Long-Term Damage
If an inspection does identify the presence of mold or mildew in the crawl space, it doesn’t always mean that serious damage has been done that would impact the safety, soundness, and integrity of the home.
If you can catch mold growth early in the sales process and find it hasn’t yet reached critical mass, you can negotiate it to be cleaned and removed before you finalize your sale. This will help prevent long-term damage to the property for years to come.
But you shouldn’t just stop at your initial inspection. Servicers recommend you check your crawl space for mold and mildew on a quarterly basis to prevent any future issues from occurring.
Keep Yourself and Your Children Safe
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold has been linked to a number of health concerns. One association, in particular, is the possible link between mold exposure and acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants2.
Although additional data needs to be collected to determine the full extent of the relationship, the CDC recommends any building found to have mold should have it removed (promptly).
Maintain Proper Air Quality
Mold found in crawl spaces and air ducts is especially concerning because the air flow can carry mold particles throughout your entire household. Consequently, if mold has been allowed to proliferate then the air quality in your home may suffer.
Spore growth and other particulates can trigger allergic reactions and be especially detrimental to asthmatics. These sources can also create distinct musty odors, making your home less aesthetically pleasing to habitate.
Lastly, mold contamination can create long-term issues for your HVAC system and network. Growth can get into and spread to mechanicals and, over time, may even cause maintenance issues.
Increase Resale Value
If you want to protect your investment, make sure to inspect for and remove mold before it becomes a bigger issue. It's especially important to remove mold before you go to sell your home in effort to optimize your home’s resale value.
Prospective buyers do not want to live in a home that has mold in the air vents and crawl spaces and that can cause health and other safety risks. Furthermore, if mold is found it can impact the value of your home in a negative way.
To get ahead of this nuisance, consider installing smart leak detectors which can be utilized throughout areas of your home to detect water leaks. Many newer models can send notifications to your phone.
Since mold likes to grow in moist areas these devices are essential for any Maryland homeowner to help prevent and protect their home from mold and mildew contaminants.
The Importance of Regular Crawl Space Inspections for Homeowners
As a homeowner, ensuring the health of your home is paramount, and one crucial area often overlooked is the crawl space. Regular crawl space inspections are essential for several reasons.
Firstly, moisture problems are common in crawl spaces, leading to a host of issues like mold and mildew. If you're selling a house with water in the crawl space, it could significantly decrease your property's value.
Secondly, a home inspection that uncovers mold in the crawl space can be a deal-breaker for potential buyers. Mold not only compromises the structural integrity of your home, but it can also pose serious health risks to the occupants.
Regular crawl space inspections can help address these problems early, saving you from expensive repairs and ensuring your home stays in top condition. Whether it's a home inspection for mold or a detailed crawl space assessment, don't neglect this critical part of your home.
Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Crawl Space Environment
Maintaining a healthy crawl space environment is essential for the overall well-being of your home. Here are a few tips to help keep your crawl space clean and free of issues:
- Regular Inspections: Schedule regular crawl space inspections to identify and address problems early on. This proactive approach can save you from significant repair costs down the line.
- Control Moisture: If you're dealing with water in your crawl space, consider installing a vapor barrier or a dehumidifier to control moisture levels and prevent mold growth.
- Proper Ventilation: Ensure your crawl space is properly ventilated to allow for air circulation and prevent the buildup of dampness that can invite mold and mildew.
- Pest Control: Regularly inspect for signs of pests in your crawl space. Small critters can cause significant damage if left unchecked.
- Insulation: Proper insulation helps maintain consistent temperatures in your crawl space, reducing the chance of condensation and mold growth.
Remember, a healthy crawl space contributes to a healthy home. If you're selling your property, a well-maintained crawl space can increase your home's value and make it more appealing to potential buyers.
If you plan to stay in your home for many years to come you can still have an inspector come out to inspect the crawl space. This type of inspection can help identify any potential problems before they become bigger, more expensive issues. Additionally, it can give you peace of mind knowing that your home is in good condition. There are many local home inspectors. Click here to learn about finding the best inspector near you!
1 Indoor Mold Pervasive in U.S. Homes, According to Study Presented at Allergy and Asthma Meeting. (2003, March 10). Retrieved September 16, 2020, from https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/view/indoor-mold-pervasive-us-homes-according-study-presented-allergy-and
2 Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum (aka "black mold"). (2019, December 16). Retrieved September 16, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm