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Crawlspace encapsulation / Mold remediation

Old 04-25-2011, 06:38 PM
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Default Crawlspace encapsulation / Mold remediation

I live in a 65 year old home constructed on a crawlspace. About 3-4 weeks ago, we noticed a musty smell in the house. We called a plumber who discovered that a cast iron drain pipe had corroded and was leaking water under the house. We got that fixed right away, but it's been 2 weeks and the smell is still there. So, I called a flood restoration/remediation contractor. He came out today and quoted me a pretty penny to dry the crawlspace, clean the smell-causing mold, and perform a complete encapsulation of the crawlspace.

My feeling is that the encapsulation is not necessary. There is nothing wrong with the drainage of the lot or ventilation of the crawlspace. All problems were due to one leaky pipe, so it seems to me that one the moisture/mold is cleaned, I am good.

The kicker is that the house is for sale. I by no means want to stick the next owner with a problem - I have no intent on doing that, but I also do not want to spend thousands to encapsulate a crawl space that has worked just fine for 6 decades. Any advice appreciated.

Any advice appreciated.
Old 04-26-2011, 12:41 AM
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1. Go to wally world and buy the cheapest box fans possible...3 or 4 (or more if the house is huge).
2. Hookem up under the house.
3. Open all the vents/doors etc. to the crawlspace
4. Run the fans...especially in the hot part of the day.
5. When it is dry, go back in with 1/2 a cup of bleach to a gallon of water in a pump sprayer, spray it down.
6. Run fans again.
7. problem solved.
Old 04-26-2011, 04:08 AM
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Encapsulation is a great thing for many older homes. Years ago the materials and processes weren't as good as they are today. Just be careful if you have it done, there are tons of crooks out there in this line of work. If it's done correctly, there should no longer be any musty smell but understand it's going to dry out everything that's been exposed for 65 years. Bare ground gives up moisture even when none can be seen. That's the reason for vapor barriers under concrete foundations, etc..
Old 04-26-2011, 04:14 AM
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Here's a good overview, with the good, bad, and ugly of encapsulation.

http://www.advancedmoldinspectors.co...emediation.htm
Old 04-26-2011, 04:15 AM
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No way in hell I would encapsulate it if I was selling it. What a waste of money. Just vent it with the fans and get rid of the mold.
Old 04-26-2011, 06:52 AM
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Is there a rat slab (dust slab) (thin layer of concrete) under there? Is there a vapor barrier?
What kind of soil?
What kind of environment?

Most of these "remediation" experts are fear mongers and NOT to be trusted.

Pete
Old 04-26-2011, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by msumoose View Post
1. Go to wally world and buy the cheapest box fans possible...3 or 4 (or more if the house is huge).
2. Hookem up under the house.
3. Open all the vents/doors etc. to the crawlspace
4. Run the fans...especially in the hot part of the day.
5. When it is dry, go back in with 1/2 a cup of bleach to a gallon of water in a pump sprayer, spray it down.
6. Run fans again.
7. problem solved.

8. Lay plastic over the soil (?)
Old 04-26-2011, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by msumoose View Post
1. Go to wally world and buy the cheapest box fans possible...3 or 4 (or more if the house is huge).
2. Hookem up under the house.
3. Open all the vents/doors etc. to the crawlspace
4. Run the fans...especially in the hot part of the day.
5. When it is dry, go back in with 1/2 a cup of bleach to a gallon of water in a pump sprayer, spray it down.
6. Run fans again.
7. problem solved.
This sounds adequate. Make sure it is well ventilated - I hav eused the bleach 50/50 with no apparent harm - not sure what is best for concentration.

Good Luck
Old 04-26-2011, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by OldPete View Post

Most of these "remediation" experts are fear mongers and NOT to be trusted.

Pete
This is true in almost any field - If I listened and heeded to all the experts advice I would be broke
Old 04-26-2011, 11:31 AM
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Have you crawled under the house to take a look at the area where the leak was? Where exactly was the water coming from, did it pass over any floors, subframes, joist, insulation or did it drain directly into the soil? I'm willing to bet you get under there and you will find the source of the mold smell. Another possibility is that when you move around in a crawl space you disturb the soil, it tends to kick up a damp musty smell that can linger for weeks. This happened to me this past summer when I had to do some work under the house.
Old 04-26-2011, 12:31 PM
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Until we get more info from from the OP this is all a waste...
Old 04-26-2011, 12:50 PM
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Yeah...I forgot the plastic!
Old 04-26-2011, 01:05 PM
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If you have been all these years without issue and now only have an issue because of a broken pipe. You just need to vent it out some and dry it out and you should be good to go. If you dry it out too much you will have other issues with wood moving.
Old 04-26-2011, 03:57 PM
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Thanks all for the replies thus far. Here is what else I can add... The water was leaking from a rusted out pipe and directly into the soil. It was not running over any wood or other structure. I suspect that a lot of the smell has to do wiht the fact that the leaking pipe drained the kitchen, which included the dishwasher and garbage disposal, so it wasn't just water leaking - it was food. At least it wasn't a toilet.

The soil is very fine sand/dust. I am in coastal NC, so the weather can be hot/humid, but it was generally not when this problem started a few weeks ago. The failed pipe has been fixed for about 2 weeks. I have had box fans running continuously at hte crwl space door and several vents for the last two weeks. As long as they're running, there's no smell, but if I stop them it gets smelly in the house within about an hour.

I have a contractor friend whom I trust coming out to give me his opinion. Again, I absolutely want to satisfactorily fix the problem, but I feel like the guy who made the original proposal to me may be trying to take me to the cleaners. It seems like he had his mind made up about what I needed before he got to the house.
Old 04-26-2011, 04:12 PM
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I would get a 5 gallon bucket, drill holes in it and put it over where the leaked water entered the soil.

Then I'd dump 50/50 bleach/water mix into the bucket.

I'm thinking you want to penetrate deep into the sand to kill the kitchen waste water.

Maybe do it a time or two. The holes will allow the bleach water to go deep, just like the original water leak did.

I realize that's ADDING water, but maybe it will kill the smell.

I guess you could dig down in that spot and take a whiff.
Old 04-26-2011, 04:52 PM
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Cover with plastic and ventilate the crawl space to help with smell. If you want to pour bleach in that area before hand, it probably wouldnt hurt . If you have water then a pump pit would be required.
Old 04-26-2011, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by msumoose View Post
1. Go to wally world and buy the cheapest box fans possible...3 or 4 (or more if the house is huge).
2. Hookem up under the house.
3. Open all the vents/doors etc. to the crawlspace
4. Run the fans...especially in the hot part of the day.
5. When it is dry, go back in with 1/2 a cup of bleach to a gallon of water in a pump sprayer, spray it down.
6. Run fans again.
7. problem solved.

and lay plastic down.

this whole mold crap is a big dollar fear monger,much like global warning.
Old 04-26-2011, 05:17 PM
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My buddy had almost the same problem a few years ago. Soil is clayish, house was a Victorian built in 1902. He got some crazy prices from a few places that wanted to come in a spray foam under the house. He ended up buying 30 mil clear poly (60 inch rolls). We spent the better part of a Saturday rolling it out and taping it. The smell was gone within hours. That was 2 plus years ago
Old 04-26-2011, 08:09 PM
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Contrary to popular belief, bleach will not kill mold....it may mask the smell of the odor for a time but it will not kill the mold/odor causing agents. Simple Green is a simple and effective way to kill odor causing mold..

(and no....I'm not affiliated with Simple Green in anyway. Live in South Louisiana and deal with flooding for hurricanes you learn these things)
Old 04-27-2011, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Graddy-fied View Post
Thanks all for the replies thus far. Here is what else I can add... The water was leaking from a rusted out pipe and directly into the soil. It was not running over any wood or other structure. I suspect that a lot of the smell has to do wiht the fact that the leaking pipe drained the kitchen, which included the dishwasher and garbage disposal, so it wasn't just water leaking - it was food. At least it wasn't a toilet.

The soil is very fine sand/dust. I am in coastal NC, so the weather can be hot/humid, but it was generally not when this problem started a few weeks ago. The failed pipe has been fixed for about 2 weeks. I have had box fans running continuously at hte crwl space door and several vents for the last two weeks. As long as they're running, there's no smell, but if I stop them it gets smelly in the house within about an hour.

I have a contractor friend whom I trust coming out to give me his opinion. Again, I absolutely want to satisfactorily fix the problem, but I feel like the guy who made the original proposal to me may be trying to take me to the cleaners. It seems like he had his mind made up about what I needed before he got to the house.
"but I feel like the guy who made the original proposal to me may be trying to take me to the cleaners" you are probably right. Have you crawled under the house to take a look at it yourself?

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