Mold In Closets
LESLIE: Jenny in Maine is calling in with a crawlspace question. What can we help you with?JENNY: Well, I seem to have a mold problem on things that are on the floor in my house.TOM: Hmm. Things that are on the floor in your house. Like what kinds of things and where is the mold forming?JENNY: Well, when I took my fall shoes out of my closet, I had some shoes that were moldy or had an old knapsack in another closet that was moldy.TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. OK. Yeah. OK, so closets – mold in closets is not unusual and it’s not necessarily because they’re on the floor.LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s an air circulation thing.TOM: (overlapping voices) It’s just because there’s no air that moves in there, correct. I would try to lower the relative humidity inside the house. You would start in the crawlspace. Now, the crawlspace has a floor; the floor is dirt?JENNY: No, concrete.TOM: It’s concrete. Alright.JENNY: Yeah.TOM: And what – you know, what kind of space? You have enough room to get in there and move around?JENNY: Yeah. You can’t stand up but it’s probably …TOM: OK, here’s what I would do. I would put some plastic down on top of the concrete floor. This will stop some of the humidity that’s going to be evaporating up from the floor into that space. The second thing I would do is make sure that the vents are open all the way around. The third thing I would do is I would make sure that the grading at the outside of the foundation perimeter and the gutter system is doing whatever you can to get it to run water away from the house. We want to try to avoid a lot of water collecting against the foundation walls and it will collect if it’s very flat there, there’s no pitch-away or if the downspouts are dumping right there. Because that water will work its way in under the crawlspace. It’ll evaporate it up and it gets into the floor structure, goes through the insulation and basically raises the humidity.As far as those closets are concerned, you need to get some ventilation in there. You can either add some vents to the closet walls themselves so that you get some air from inside the house circulating in there; you could replace the doors with louvered doors. Whatever it takes …LESLIE: Can you just cut the doors down like an inch?TOM: Yeah, you could have a gap under the doors as well but you need to get some air in there. Because that’s very, very common in those stuffy, damp places because you have lots of mold food and you have lots of moisture and lots of air and that’s what causes it to grow.JENNY: OK, great. That sounds good. Alright, thanks.TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.