Amidst all of the excitement of buying a new home, the crawl space is often the last thing on a new homeowner’s mind. It’s critical, however, to check your crawl space early in the sales process to prevent more costly fixes in the future. With the fast-moving real estate market in the PNW, crawl space inspections may not be conducted prior to the purchasing of a home. This leaves it to the new homeowners, like yourself, to handle.
We understand crawl space inspections seem daunting, so we’ve created a crawl space inspection checklist to help you understand issues that may cause potential damage to your new home. In short, the issues we see most frequently in homeowners’ crawl spaces are: 1) rats, 2) excess water, and 3) mold. While unpleasant to consider, these issues can be costly and dangerous, especially if left alone for extended periods of time. Luckily, if you do discover issues of this nature, crawl space inspection experts at Crawl Pros are leaders in crawl space water remediation, crawl space mold removal, and rat removal and exclusion.
Read on and keep our crawl space inspection checklist handy and talk with your trusted professional crawl space inspector about how to preserve the safety and value of your home.
Crawl Space Inspection Checklist
Check for Rats
Checking for rats is important because two rats can multiply to over a thousand in a single year. A rat’s primary goal is to sleep, eat, and breed — meaning there will almost always be more than one rat in your crawl space. Rats tend to stick to walls, attics, and crawl spaces to avoid interaction with larger animals, including humans. While they won’t attack, they do carry diseases and parasites, transferred by the fleas and mites living on them. These fleas and mites may transfer to you and your family, leading to unpleasant and dangerous health problems.
Not only do rats carry diseases and parasites, they also can cause physical damage to your home; in fact, damage to the walls in your crawl space is one thing to look out for when inspecting the room for rats. Additional things to take notice of include:
- Foul odor from droppings, urine, or dead rats
- Piles of dirt or droppings
- Sounds of scurrying or scratching
- Greasy rub marks along the walls, especially around vents or openings
- Holes or gnaw marks on any materials
Letting a rat infestation alone for too long risks the infrastructure of your home as they frequently chew through plywood, metal, and even concrete over time. Because of these dangers, investing in professional rat removal and exclusion is the best way to protect yourself and your home.
Check for Excess Water
In the Pacific Northwest, it’s normal to have a little water in the crawl space. But there’s a difference between a little water and a flooding problem. Even just a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Flooding and standing water can be one of the most hazardous issues seen in crawl spaces.
Excess water leads to significant structural damage, as well as creating an environment for mold and mildew to grow and threaten your family with dangerous health hazards. Signs of water damage in your crawl space include:
- Sagging or uneven first level floors
- Rise in energy costs
- Visible insects
- Water puddling around the footing of the home
- Musty smell in the home
Excess water is the leading cause of problems in most homes, especially in the PNW. If you suspect there’s too much water in your crawl space, call the pros at Crawl Pros for an accurate evaluation and free estimate.
Mold spores are commonplace, but when excessive moisture causes them to colonize in your crawl space it becomes a dangerous health hazard. Mold can cause serious respiratory health issues, with symptoms similar to those of allergies, including itchy eyes, scratchy throats, and difficulty breathing. It’s important to have a crawl space inspection to rule out mold as a cause of these health concerns.
To create an environment in which mold can grow, you need moisture, organic matter, and temperature. The presence of mold not only affects your health but can also also rot wood, affecting the structural integrity of the home. It may also damage the carpet, ceiling, and walls if not treated early and properly. In addition to water damage, you should keep an eye for the following to determine if you have mold in your crawl space:
- Visible signs of mold on surfaces
- Foul, musty odor
- Experiencing any health symptoms listed above
Mold is particularly tricky to remove as you must first identify the source of the moisture during treatment or else the mold will come back. This identification process is best left to the pros who are trained to look for and solve problems.
The Importance of Inspections
Why should you really care about crawl space inspections? Mainly because you don’t know what you don’t know. There could potentially be all kinds of problems just inches below your feet. Depending on the type of issues, you could be dealing with a lack of energy efficiency due to cold air coming up from the crawl space. You might also be dealing with pest problems, from rodents to raccoons to ants. You might even be the new host to the fleas and ticks that live on those animals. Excess water can cause damage and attract pests and lead to mold, which could also cause air contamination and health issues among residents. Crawl space inspection helps identify and ultimately resolve these problems so you can live comfortably and safely in your own home.
What Crawl Pros Inspectors Do
Crawl Pros crawl space inspectors will conduct a home inspection by doing a corner to corner inspection and crawl the whole perimeter looking for the biggest problems, including rats, mold, and water. They also will look at the condition of insulation, sealed ducts, and proper vapor barriers. During a crawl space inspection, Crawl Pros inspectors are fully geared and trained to enter crawl spaces, something homeowners shouldn’t do themselves. It is recommended that you bring an inspector in at least bi-annually, but preferably for each season to ensure seasonal issues aren’t present. When first purchasing a home, it is important to recognize that time is not on your side. The longer you wait to inspect, the more expensive solving problems will become.
Call Crawl Pros for Crawl Space Inspections
With locations in Washington and Oregon, Crawl Pros is the regional expert in crawl space and attic services. We understand common issues with houses in the region, know what to look for, and can offer thorough, accurate explanations and recommendations as a result. We’re so confident in our ability, in fact, that we offer a “Perfect Lifetime Guarantee” with all of our services, including water remediation services.
If you’re interested in scheduling Crawl Pros or Pest Pros services, please contact us by calling us or submitting the form below. We look forward to working with you!