The homeowner went into their storage area and discovered the black junk on their shelf was actually mold! They also found out that their crawlspace entrance was directly below this shelf.
Here, you can see where our technicians have started the mold remediation and are removing the old wood to gain access to the crawlspace. What will they find when they crawl in?
Once the wood was removed to gain access to the Boonville crawlspace, the odor that came out was gross and it was easy to see the extreme mold growth. In this case, the homeowners were remediating the mold anyway, but they also wanted our Healthy Space technicians to investigate the underlying cause of the excess indoor humidity.
Once the Healthy Space Technicians explored the crawlspace, they found an old, worn black vapor barrier--covered in mold! The entire vapor barrier was actually fuzzy with mold! No wonder the homeowners felt horrible and sick every time they came home!
When our technicians tested the relative humidity in the crawlspace, they discovered that it was over 70%! The EPA recommended relative humidity levels in a crawlspace should be below 40%. This reading confirms that an overgrowth of mold was inevitable.
Excess mositure in crawlspaces promotes mold growth. This in turn can lead to a variety of health effects ranging from more common allergic reactions, to asthma attacks, and hypersensitivity pneumonitits, for example. Excess moisture can be in the form of high relative humidity including humidity generated by people and their activities such as showers, cooking, or drying clothes. Water can also come from plumbing leaks, wet boots, or splashing around sinks. Moisture can travel with infiltrating outdoor air (or exfiltrating indoor air) through the building shell, including the foundation. In addition to health problems, high relative humidity or water that enters building cavities that is not allowed to dry quickly can lead to problems such as rot, structural damage, and premature paint failure.
Besides being able to see the nasty mold growth on the black vapor barrier in this picture, you can also see the mold growing on the walls of the crawlspace between the old part of the home and the new addition. This mold growth indicates that the moisture is wicking through the concrete wall from one part of the home to the other!
In this picture, you can see the area where the old part of the home and the new addition join. There has been an excess of condensation that flows down the wall here and has deposited minerals and mold.
Now back to that comment I made earlier about the river running through the crawlspace. That's right, you can see here where a silty river has been flowing under the foundation wall from the exterior of the home where the grade tilts toward the house and runs straight through the house. Once the Healthy Spaces team removed the failed black vapor barrier, they discovered this river of silt. Thankfully, they had the solution. There are options to capture moisture that is running through the middle of the crawlspace, not just capture moisture along the perimeter.
Now that the problem has been diagnosed, the remedy is easy! The first step is to trench out the area where the river usually runs and install a perforated piping system from Basement Systems.
The trench is dug throughout the entire crawlspace and the Basement Systems drainage system is being put into place.
Here, you can see the really special part of the Basement Systems drainage system. It's not just the perforated system that you are used to! The entire pipe system is surrounded with a polystyrene filtering component and a nylon mesh fabric outside to keep that silty clay from clogging the line.
Here, you can see the most important part of any drainage system--the sump pump. This is a Zoeller pump with a waterwatch alarm and one of the most advanced designs available on the market today! The blue lid has a drain to handle any broken pipes or water from above. The WaterWatch Alarm will notify the homeowners if the pump fails or becomes overwhelmed. The pump itself is powerful and move plenty of water to keep this crawlspace dry.
Another important step to keeping the crawlspace dry and properly dehumidified is to insulate between the subfloor joists with Silverglo product.
Once the sump pump moves the water out of the drainage system, it proceeds to a discharge line, which will move the water a safe distance from the home and outside. This discharge line should be the right diameter to make sure that the water doesn't take too long to leave the sump pump, allowing it to become overrun. The technicians at Healthy Spaces elected for a larger pipe system to make sure the river doesn't overwhelm the system.
Since the river naturally flows this direction, it's easiest to draw the water along the existing channel. From here, the water will go through the discharge line outside. The technicians are going to make sure that the line discharges away from the home and isn't prone to letting water flow back into the crawlspace after we went to all the trouble of getting it out!
In this picture, you can really see the cleanspace difference! The entire area is brighter and safer for the homeowners now. The 7 layer Cleanspace product is guaranteed against ripping, tearing, or water above the liner for 25 years.
In this shot, you can see the discharge line exiting the home and flowing to a lawnscape unit. The lawnscape will make a safe discharge area since it keeps tripping to a minimum and won't get clogged up easily. The grade of the surrounding area is away from the home and will keep the river of groundwater from re-entering the crawlspace. It's another crawlspace made into a Healthy Space!
Most crawlspaces in Boonville have elevated relative humidity, but not every one can boast that they have a river running through it. This crawlpace did happen to have a seasonal river of excess groundwater flowing through it whenever it rained. The homeowner wasn't even aware of the problem until they noticed mold growing up through the floor into a storage area above the crawlspace access.
If this problem looks familiar, contact our office today for a free estimate! We're the crawlspace experts who can turn your crawlspace into a Healthy Space!