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4 Potential Hazards Living in Your Crawl SpaceDecember 16th, 2015 by
Out of the many potential home maintenance projects, inspecting crawl spaces tends to be last on a homeowner’s list. Most crawl spaces are inaccessible and require the help of a contractor if work is to be performed, so many homeowners tend to put off inspections. They may even forget about their crawl spaces altogether. Since these spaces are out of sight (and out of mind), dangers can lurk unaddressed for years and lead to many health and safety issues. Any of the crawl space hazards listed below will need to be investigated and addressed for proper home safety.
Look Out for These 4 Crawl Space Hazards
Mold. It’s not uncommon for mold to be found in crawlspaces with a bare-earth floor. The soil holds moisture, which evaporates in the crawl space’s high humidity, providing the perfect environment for crawl space mold. The airborne mold spores can pass through cracks in the floor and contaminate the rest of the home. Some spores are toxic, and inhaling them leads to runny noses, watery eyes, sneezing, and rashes. Crawl space moisture requires remediation to fix the water and humidity problems and to clean up moldy materials.
Radon. Uranium is found in nearly all types of soil. As it decays, the uranium produces a hazardous radioactive gas known as radon. Unfortunately, radon can be found in crawl spaces with bare-earth floors, and the gas can pass into living areas. Living with radon for extended periods of time can be dangerous and lead to damaged lung tissue and even lung cancer. A certified radon contractor can run tests and offer a variety of remediation options.
Asbestos. Typically found in rocks and soil, asbestos is a mineral fiber, which has been used in many construction materials including insulation. However, it can cause serious health issues. If a crawl space’s insulation is contaminated with asbestos and is disturbed, the particles can be released into the air. These particles can cause lung disease and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer. In the case of asbestos, a contractor needs to provide cleanup services.
Pests. Crawl spaces also provide an ideal home for many unwanted pests like mice, raccoons, squirrels, termites, and cockroaches. These types of pests can do significant amounts of damage to the home, and the smaller pests can infest the living areas. Homeowners will need to contact a pest control expert for a solution to the problem.
To prevent crawl space dangers from developing, homeowners should hire an expert to perform regular inspections. An inspector will check for the typical hazards in addition to evaluating the ductwork, vents, pipes, and electrical wiring in the crawl space. Homeowners can also ask the expert for further tips on crawl space safety.