After the long hot, humid summer here in Massachusetts it is important to check your home for funky or musty odors. Musty odors can mean that you have a fungal growth problem; fungi like growing in dark, damp, and rarely disturbed locations. Often in basements and attic mold will grow quickly; mold will go dormant if the water source dries up or if the temperature drops below 50 degrees. Therefore, you may notice the smell during the spring or late summer, but not during the winter.
While that musty odor is never pleasant the mold and mildew are harmful to your health. Mold can cause anything from a stuffy nose to lung infections, and it often affect people with allergies worse. The CDC even states, “recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies”.
However, you can beat the mold before it starts by taking a few easy steps. First check the ventilation in areas like the attic and any crawlspaces. In your attic you will want to check to ensure that none of your insulation is covering venting, often slit soffit venting is covered which leads to a moisture buildup and the growth of mold. You also need to check to ensure that any plumbing stack, dryer vents, bathroom and kitchen vent are properly vented and not terminating inside of your attic. In crawlspaces you will want to check to ensure there are no cracks in your foundation walls, even small cracks can let in water. If you have a dirt floor in your basement or crawlspace have a vapor barrier install by a professional mold remediation company, this will ensure that moisture cannot be absorbed through the floor or subfloor of your home.
Next you can control the humidity in your attic and basement areas by installing and running a dehumidifier. It is best to keep the humidity level in these spaces under 65%, anything higher will lead to mold growth. The final step is if you smell any musty orders in your home call a mold specialist to have your air quality evaluated. After the evaluation they can help you with the next steps of making your home a heathier place.
Follow the tips and tricks above to prevent attic mold and crawl space mold but please be extra careful! The crawl space and attic present several potential safety hazards that can cause serious bodily harm to you and your loved ones. Make sure to hire a professional that can evaluate the conditions of your home, because it’s simply not worth risking your wellbeing to save a few bucks.