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New Jersey Crawlspace Science

The Link Between Moisture, Mold & Your Home and Family’s Health

You might ask yourself- “Why should I care what condition my home’s crawlspace is in? I never go down there, no one sees it and I think it is vented.”

Moisture

To have a better understanding of the professional services which Jersey Shore Home Moisture Management offers to homeowners, it is important to first understand the environment in your home’s crawlspace and the environmental science involved which determines the pro-active measures a homeowner can take to best protect the family and the home.

It is well documented that the exposed ground in your crawlspace produces water vapor that can add up to as much as 19 gallons of water in a single day for the average crawlspace. If your home is in a flood zone, like many homes along the Jersey Shore are, the amount of water vapor produced could be even more. Due to the scientifically proven Stack Effect, the water vapor rises silently to penetrate the wood in the crawlspace and eventually permeate the structure of the home. The wood is porous and will hold the moisture in, softening the wood over time and creating a musty smell or odor in the crawlspace. As air from the crawlspace is drawn up into the living areas of the home, it takes with it any air borne mold spores and dust mites that have been released along with the foul, stale air.

Why Moisture Readings & Testing Are Important

Because of the large volume of water vapor that is produced daily in a crawlspace, it is important to have moisture levels monitored and the wood tested to be sure that the levels in your crawlspace are not exceeding safe ranges. Acceptable winter-time readings are in the range of 9 to 12 percent while Relative Humidity (RH) levels are generally low. Mold spores and other fungi will grow as moisture in the wood tops 20 percent and RH in the crawlspace is over 65%. Thus, since there is generally a 6 to 7 percentage point rise in moisture levels during the seasonal transition from winter to summer, a moisture reading of 15 in the winter can actually be a mold producing 21 or 22 percent in the summer.

Studies have shown that as much as 50% of the air in your home comes up from your crawlspace. This air often carries with it many forms of allergens and musty odors. The American Lung Association, American Medical Association and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend maintaining the relative humidity level in your home between 30 and 55%. The main reason for this is that when conditions stay above 55% relative humidity for pro-long periods of time, mold, mildew and bacteria growth is stimulated.  Click on the U.S. E.P.A. site for more information about mold and relative humidity.

Crawlspaces are generally subterranean so they are naturally damp and prone to moisture buildup. This creates a breeding ground for mold & mildew, unpleasant odors, stale air and can be a source of rodent and insect infestation. Environmental scientists realize that by keeping the level of relative humidity down, in crawlspaces, reduces the chance for mold to grow. As stated above, in general, mold will not grow at less than 50 to 60% relative humidity.The first step toward reducing humidity levels is always to eliminate the source of the water entry.
   
Let the Jersey Shore Home Moisture Management perform an Evaluation of your home’s crawlspace and you will see actual relative humidity readings found in your home and you will learn if corrective measures are warranted.

Relative Humidity (RH) Chart      
RH should be within certain limits for control of health aspects.

Relative-Humidity-Chart

Why Excess Moisture In Your NJ Crawlspace Is Bad

Excess moisture on almost all indoor materials results in the growth of microbes, such as mold, fungi and bacteria which subsequently emit spores, cells, fragments and volatile organic compounds into the air. In addition, dampness initiates chemical or biological breakdowns in or the degradation of materials (such as wood beams, insulation, sheet rock, ceiling tiles etc) which then also pollutes indoor air.

Experts agree then, that dampness is therefore suggested to be a strong and consistent indicator (cause) of the risk of asthma in children and adults as well as numerous other respiratory problems. Prolonged exposure to mold can actually cause asthma.

The health risks associated with biological contaminants of indoor air (mold/mildew) can thus be addressed by recognizing dampness and excess moisture as the prime risk indicator. To prevent or lessen the risk, all experts recommend that crawlspace moisture control measures be taken.

The purpose of our website is to provide homeowners with enough knowledge to make an educated decision on what work needs to be done to their homes, who should do it and why.

The crawlspace environment professionals at Jersey Shore Home Moisture Management have developed their trademarked CrawlspacePros TM   system and techniques for handling all of a homeowner’s crawlspace moisture and air quality issues so that they might have the peace of mind of knowing that family and home are protected.

Click Here to take the first step toward insuring that your family is protected by scheduling a Comprehensive Crawlspace Evaluation today.

Jersey Shore Home Moisture Management and Jersey Shore Pest Control would like you and your family to experience the benefits and peace of mind of a Cleaner, Dryer, Energy Efficient and Healthier Crawlspace.

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