InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
Crawl space debris removal:
Tebris in the crawl area makes inspection and repair work difficult, may be dangerous itself, or may invite infestation by rodents, wood destroying insects, or mold contamination. For these reasons an important step in crawl space dry-out or mold removal is debris removal.
How & Why to Clean Out the crawl space: get rid of unsafe debris, junk, insulation
Remove Debris & Other Hazardous Materials Such as Asbestos in Poor Condition
[Click to enlarge any image]
Debris not only prevents crawl space access, it can become a mold reservoir, a home for rodents, or it may contain dangerous components like asbestos or rusty nails.
Not only are these nails, splinters, and possibly rodents that may be in the debris a hazard to workers entering the area, these materials also invite termites, carpenter ants, or mice, rats or other pests which in turn damage the building.
Old cardboard boxes and stored junk invite mold growth and rodents.
Do not bring mold-suspect boxes of stored items out of the crawl space (or basement) back into the living area of the building.
Take them outside for inspection and if appropriate, cleaning and salvage.
Check for loose, wet, moldy insulation
Is there wet or falling or rodent-infested fiberglass insulation in the crawl area? If so there is a high risk of mold or rodent contaminants that could present a fungal, bacterial, or viral airborne hazard. We recommend completely removing all fiberglass insulation from crawl spaces.
Fiberglass is an effective and cost-effective building insulation product that performs very well in many applications. And from the factory you can expect fiberglass building insulation products to be nice and clean.
But we do not recommend this material for use in crawl spaces or other tight, limited-access under-building areas nor for use against foundation walls.
If the floors above a crawl area or the rim joist or perimeter of the building need to be insulated we prefer to use spray foam or solid foam insulation in such areas because they resist moisture uptake. Here is a photo of a crawl space that was insulated with spray foam insulation.
CRAWL SPACE REINSPECTION: Inspect the crawl space periodically to make sure your crawlspace dryout measures have been effective. How often do you need to inspect the area? It depends ... on site conditions and building history. At least once a year you should look for any new leaks such as a leaky plumbing drain or an outside water entry problem. If you have been having trouble keeping water out of the crawl area, you should check more often until your confidence is restored.
Watch out: for steps 1-7 above, in some conditions, dust containment, negative air, and more protective gear or help from professionals may be needed.
Also see our other crawl space dryout and safety discussions beginning at CRAWL SPACE GROUND COVERS where we describe crawl space venting, crawl space poly over dirt, and crawl space heat, to illustrate current best-practices in keeping a crawl space dry.
This article series describes the steps needed to get into, inspect, clean, and then dry out a building crawl space. We give a step by step crawl space entry, inspection, cleanout, dryout and keep dry guide explains how to get into or inspect a crawl space even if there is no ready access, how to assess crawl space conditions, how to stop water that is entering the crawl area, how to dry out the space, how to clean up and if necessary disinfect or sanitize the crawl space, and how to keep out crawl space water and moisture in the future.
Continue reading at CRAWL SPACE SAFETY ADVICE or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
 Harriet Burge, Harvard School of Public Health, and EM Laboratory, a private mold and environmental testing lab - email to D.F. August, 2004. Dr. Burge is an educator, writer, and consultant in the field of indoor air quality and mold contamination.
 Product literature and MSDS sheets for the biocides and fungicidal sealants listed in this article.
 US Centers for Disease Control, CDC: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hanta/hps/ describes the risks associated with hantavirus.
 International Residential Code, IRC Section R408, Under Floor Space, http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/irc/2012/icod_irc_2012_4_sec008.htm, retrieved 3/2/2013
See IRC Section M1305.1.4 [PDF] Section M1305.1.4 for access requirements where mechanical equipment is located under floors.
 International Residential Code, IRC Section R406, Foundation Waterproofing and Dampproofing, http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/irc/2012/icod_irc_2012_4_sec006.htm, retrieved 3/2/2013
Thanks to reader C. Brown for suggesting the need for detail about rapid dryout procedures for a wet crawl space
Fiberglass: Indoor Air Quality Investigations: Health Concerns About Airborne Fiberglass: Fiberglass in Indoor Air from HVAC ducts, and Building Insulation
Humidity: What indoor humidity should we maintain in order to avoid a mold problem?
Stuff that is not mold but is often mistaken for it - things you may not want to test. Also, not all "black mold" is toxic - here are examples of harmless black mold.
Mold-Resistant Building Practices, advice from an expert on how to prevent mold after a building flood and how to prevent mold growth in buildings by selection of building materials and by anti-mold construction details.
"Weather-Resistive Barriers [copy on file as /interiors/Weather_Resistant_Barriers_DOE.pdf ] - ", how to select and install housewrap and other types of weather resistive barriers, U.S. DOE
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Asbestos: How to find and recognize asbestos in buildings - visual inspection methods, list of common asbestos-containing materials
Asbestos products and their history and use in various building materials such as asphalt and vinyl flooring includes discussion which draws on Asbestos, Its Industrial Applications, D.V. Rosato, engineering consultant, Newton, MA, Reinhold Publishing, 1959 Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 59-12535 (out of print).
Asbestos Identification and Testing References
Asbestos Identification, Walter C.McCrone, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, IL.1987 ISBN 0-904962-11-3. Dr. McCrone literally "wrote the book" on asbestos identification procedures which formed
the basis for current work by asbestos identification laboratories.
Stanton, .F., et al., National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 506: 143-151
Pott, F., Staub-Reinhalf Luft 38, 486-490 (1978) cited by McCrone
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones