Where to Begin, What to Do, and Who to Turn To When Mold in Your Crawlspace and Ductwork is Making You and Your Family Sick.
Today’s post comes directly from some recent communication that I have been having with a reader concerning properly remediating moldy HVAC ducts and a wet and moldy crawlspace. She lives in the humid Southeastern part of the United States and has been going through quite a bit of mold discovery and damage control. She is currently facing trying to correctly remedy the problem without spending her family into a financial hole. I definitely feel for her and want to help her navigate this. Much of what she is going through is similar to what we went through with the mold in our HVAC system—getting sick, linking our sickness to something in our environment, locating mold in our home, trying to determine if and how the mold could be safely removed, and finding the money, appropriate professionals, and mental fortitude to get it done.
The good news is that her questions are ones that I feel very confident in answering. These days, all of this “HVAC stuff” is in my wheelhouse, because during the course of our ordeal, I learned more about Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Heating and Air Conditioning Systems than I ever imagined. It’s funny how when your wellbeing hangs in the balance, suddenly learning about anything that could improve or destroy the health of those in your home becomes your new passion. The only problem is that now that I know how things should be done for optimum IAQ, I am angered when I hear others’ stories like ours where poor building practices and HVAC design on the front end from trusted “professionals” in the field have caused a home to harbor mold and other environmental contaminants that have made the occupants extremely sick.
In this reader’s case, as you will see, she trusted that everything was done and constructed correctly. She even took some bad advice on add-ons to her system, like a humidifier, thinking she was doing to right thing. It is only now as she faces remediating her crawlspace, ductwork, and HVAC system, that she has found that many things were initially done with subpar materials (aka builder grade) or with designs that did not mitigate mold or improve air quality, but rather, created excess indoor humidity and caused mold growth to occur.
Here is a summary of some of her emails, so that you can understand what she is dealing with: