Warm, Wet Summer Creates Perfect Conditions for Mold and Mildew
The top three causes of building failure are water, moisture, and humidity. Not only does the water itself cause damage but so too does the mold that takes root in moist, warm, dark, and under-ventilated places. The perfect example of this type of space is an unsealed, unconditioned crawlspace. Take a look at what E3 INNOVATE found this past September. Moisture levels in this crawlspace were out of control and resulted in complete destruction! Poor air sealing and a humid summer had everything to do with this situation.
As you can see in the figure below, the average monthly dewpoint temperature in Nashville was higher than historic averages. Dewpoint is the temperature at which water vapor will condense to form liquid. It is a common measurement of humidity in building science because it provides more information than relative humidity (RH). For example, if we know the dewpoint of the air is 70 then we also know that condensation will form on any surface that is cooler than 70 F. The higher the dewpoint, the more moisture there is in the air and thus, the higher the humidity.
Where humid air contacts cool surfaces, you find moisture issues. And as if the moisture problem isn’t enough to tackle, we have mold to deal with too, because where there’s moisture, there’s mold! Here are more photos of the crawlspace shown above. Notice how it’s raining from the insulation and how condensation is collecting in puddles on the ground! This is the perfect environment for mold and mildew, which not surprisingly is also a serious issue in this crawlspace.
Situations like these can create miserable, sometimes unlivable living conditions for anyone who suffers from mold allergies or sensitivities. Many common mold species produce spores, which act like seeds. Spores travel through the air easily and initiate new growth anywhere conditions are right. If you wind up with mold in one area of your home, the spores can become airborne and travel though the furnace, AC, and/or through air gaps in the construction, spreading the allergens and creating new growth in favorable locations.
In addition to unsealed, unconditioned crawlspaces, there are other circumstances that create problematic areas of moisture and mold, including:
- Unvented bathrooms and kitchens
- Clogged dryer vents
- Hot, moist attics resulting from un-ducted ceiling vents
- Uncontrolled infiltration
- Under-ventilated rooms
- Water leaks
- Damaged rain gutters
If you or a loved one is suffering from seasonal allergies, don’t overlook indoor air quality as the source of the problem, especially if symptoms continue to flair after the first frost. Mold can lead to frustrating health issues during all times of the year. Not only does it effect health, it creates expensive remediation repairs.
The only way to get mold and mildew out of the house and keep it out is to solve the underlying issue that created the moisture problem:
- Seal and condition crawlspaces
- Seal and properly ventilate the house
- Install, seal, and properly duct exhaust fans
- Clean and seal dryer exhaust ducts
- Fix leaks and insure rain gutters carry water away from the foundation
Out team at E3 INNOVATE is ready to solve the toughest moisture issues. We will investigate your entire house for the root cause of the problem and create a personalized set of recommendations for creating an allergy-free, healthy environment for you and your family. Rest easy knowing your hoe is protected from the potential destruction of moisture.