During the pending sale of a home in Howell, the inspector discovered extensive mold growth in the crawl space. Mold, a type of fungus, is always caused by some water or moisture problem inside a structure. Sustained high indoor humidity levels are enough to trigger mold growth. Basements and crawl spaces are often prime breeding grounds for mold. Many crawl spaces are still vented, allowing thick, humid outside air to enter, not to mention insects and other pests.
With this Howell home, the crawl space was surrounded by water-saturated soil, and ground water had seeped through the foundation’s cinder block walls. It did not take a lot of detective work. The water intrusion here was so severe that there were water stains on the wall as well as build-up of efflorescence, which is a white crystalline substance. Efflorescence looks like white mold, but is actually harmless inorganic material caused by water seeping through concrete, brick or stone. Salt and mineral deposits are left behind once the water has evaporated. This crawl space also had high relative humidity levels, no doubt exacerbated by the ground water intrusion, which, by itself, is enough to trigger mold growth. Unfortunately, this house was built close to a retention basin, which are used by towns to manage stormwater. Water is diverted by a network of underground pipes connecting storm drains to a retention pond. These ponds can not only cause groundwater problems for nearby homes, but the standing water can be a mosquito breeding ground.
Of course, the homeowner was concerned that the finding of mold during the inspection could delay or kill the pending real estate deal. The homeowner contacted Colweys to take care of the mold problem. The Mold Solutions crew arrived at the house. We inspected the crawl space and found white and black mold growing on all of the joists and even the sheathing behind the insulation.
It was time to get to work. We started our prep work, laying out a tarp, running cables down to the crawl space, and putting in drop lights to better illuminate the area. Mold spores are extremely dangerous, and breathing them in can cause a host of respiratory problems. When treating an area that has mold, especially a tight enclosed area like a crawl space, we use Tyvek suits and respirators for our own safety. In addition, we use a HEPA VAC “air scrubber” to direct the airflow toward the vents.
We first treated the crawl space by applying our EPA-registered anti-microbial (MM1) using electrostatic fogging. This process kills any surface mold as well as any airborne mold spores found in the crawl space. After waiting for this treatment to dry and to give the application time to kill the mold, we applied our patented polymer sealant (MM2), also using electrostatic fogging. This sealant destroys mold at the cellular level, rendering it inert and harmless. The sealant is also moisture-sensitive and reactivates to prevent the return of any new mold growth in the treated area.
Ww were able to treat the crawl space in less than a day. There was no removal of building materials, no need for home renovation, and no need for the family to relocate. The sale could proceed with no change in the closing date. This Howell home was one more successful mold treatment project completed by the Cowleys Mold Solutions team.
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