Signs of Possible Air Quality Issues

Indicators of air quality issues- when should I suspect an issue?

Smell

Our noses are a great tool– a musty smell can indicate an air quality issue- especially at basements and lower level living areas.

Visible Signs in Crawl Spaces and Unfinished Basements

Stringy insulation, mold, standing water, water stains/efflorescence at foundation walls, wet/muddy areas,  and decay can all indicate air quality issues.

Visible Signs in Finished Basements

Gravity pulls moisture downward which is why moisture issues will often manifest at the baseboard trim in basements– especially at the uphill side, corners, or at other areas with water issues from the outside.  Decay, water stains, sunken-in areas, millipedes and other insects at the baseboard trim can all indicate possible water issues from the outside.

Visible signs at other Finished Areas — Mildew

Mildew at walls, cabinets and doors can indicate a history of a high moisture environment.  In homes without AC or when the occupants do not use AC/dehumidification it can be common to see mildew at the finishes.

Visible signs at the Finished Floor — Cupping

When there has been a long history of high moisture from the crawl space it is not uncommon to see cupping at the wood floors.  The cupping is caused by moisture seeping upwards from the crawl space.

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