A crawl space is a narrow, unoccupied space within a building, between the first floor or ground floor and the ground. It’s named for the fact that there’s only enough space to crawl instead of standing. Anything bigger than 1 – 1.5 meters is considered a basement.
Such a small space can host a large number of conditions that can pose risks and harm to your home and family. This dark, cool environment can attract and promote dangerous inhabitants and conditions and not to mention that it is left unchecked for a long period of time.
Here are some of the more common risks and dangers of damaged and unmonitored crawl spaces.
1. Fungus and Mold
Fungus and mold can grow rapidly in your crawl spaces. Damaged crawl spaces that allow moisture can create the perfect breeding ground for fungus and mold to grow.
Molds and fungus pose numerous health risks to your family. For one, they can produce allergens and irritants that can potentially enter your living space. In some cases, molds can also produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins.
In addition, molds and fungus can also cause structural damage. Since they feed on and break down organic matter like wood, a mold infestation can cause wood decay, damaging your crawl space integrity.
If you’re worried about molds in your crawlspace, you need to find the best crawl space specialist in Baltimore right away!
Other than molds and fungus. The dark, humid environment is also a perfect home for pests the likes of roaches, rodents, ants, and termites. Termites and carpenter ants can cause serious damage to your crawl space structure. Meanwhile, pests like cockroaches carry health hazards and potential carriers of intestinal diseases like dysentery, diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid fever.
But perhaps the most dangerous of all are the disease-carrying rodents, particularly the hantavirus carriers. And because crawl spaces are dark, the lack of UV radiation activates this virus. Exposure to this virus can cause fever, headache, and worse, death. Currently, there are no known vaccines and cures that especially targets HCS. It can be treated if symptoms are recognized early.
In addition, spiders, snakes, scorpions, and bees may also linger in your crawlspace. While they pose little structural damage to your home, they certainly can harm you. Stings and bites can cause swelling, rashes, redness, itching. However, the poisonous pests can cause severe reactions such as nausea or vomiting, fever, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, and more.
3. Asbestos Insulation
Most homes built in the 1980s may have asbestos in cement, steam pipes, floor and ceiling tiles, and insulation, which means they can be found in your crawl space too.
When these construction products are damaged, these natural mineral fibers become airborne and may pose health risks to anyone who inhales this toxic dust.
4. Structural Collapse
A damaged crawlspace can weaken the integrity of your home’s foundation and may result in structural collapse and expensive damage to your house.