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Old 08-28-2013, 01:30 PM
2 posts, read 5,290 times
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Would love some feedback on this - it's about a house we are buying. We had a mold inspection the morning after a rainstorm. He reported that the ductwork appeared to be condensating, there were standing water puddles throughout, and that some insulation was wet and/or coming loose. Sample of growth observed came back with just trace amounts of common indoor and outdoor mold types that were deemed not indicative of water damage.

Two days later, after a dry weekend, the home inspector came and said the crawlspace was bone dry and aside from some missing/fallen insulation, it looked perfect with no indication of water damage.

Mold results not withstanding, how would you account for the completely opposite observations - one day standing water with condensating ducts and another bone-dry.

No mold smell, yes there is a vapor barrier intact, and it is vented.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:07 PM
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Hi. Where is the home located?
They did not inspect under the same conditions. It does seem unusual that a crawlspace is "bone dry" just two days after someone reported wet insulation and puddling in the same space.
The HI might have more insight as to how to assess grading, water intrusion points of entry/sources so if it were me I'd ask the same HI ( if they are a great inspector) or another highly qualified HI to comeback during, or directly after a similar rainstorm.
Did you get the best HI available, one that knows how to crawl under homes with lots of training and experience, or did you get a cheapie check list inspector? That might be relevant.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:57 PM
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,037 posts, read 37,675,762 times
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What is your main concern?

Our crawlspace is VERY wet, most all the time. It doesn't take long to go from one stage to the other, especially in summer, but if there are puddles there is usually evidence of that, like water rings on the plastic etc. We are over a very high water table. We have it vented, and there is a vapor barrier. We also have a sump pump in the lowest corner and regular pest control treatments.

Our floor joists and A/C ducts are in great condition. Some crawlspaces are just ... wet.

The best thing would be for one of you to get under there and take a look yourself.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:16 PM
Location: Salem, OR
13,741 posts, read 31,556,293 times
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There are a bazillion things that can cause temporary water to be in a crawlspace. A sprinkler that needs adjustment, grading by a vent that is too high, a clogged downspout, heavy rains for a day.

I assume you mean there is condensation in the ductwork or on the outside of it?

Small temporary puddles are totally normal out here so it wouldn't be an issue, but this is Oregon. Not sure what is normal for your area.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:23 PM
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No real conflict. As others have pointed out if the weather conditions / local environment is such that water will enter the crawlspace that is not a bad thing SO LONG AS there is adequate drainage / ventilation that it dries out.

IF the result of the mold test had come back indicating that there were serious issues with the crawlspace not being adequately vented / having improper drainage that allowed for mold to grow that likely would have been confirmed by the home inspector.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:58 PM
Location: Cary, NC
31,594 posts, read 55,307,520 times
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We just spent a couple of grand in the crawlspace.
Fogged for mold, wiped down, added 100% vapor barrier, sealed the foundation vents, and added a dehumidifier.
We had buckets of water condensing on the AC ducts and dripping on the old ground vapor barrier.

Hot, humid air enters the vents, hits the cool ducts, and condenses.
Our crawlspace is only about 18" high at the low end, and not enough air circulates to prevent mold growth.
The latest principle is to cut off ventilation and condition the air, insulating only the crawlspace walls without insulating the house floor. Most quality new construction is being done like that.
Anymore, people are so touchy about mold, which actually exists all around us, we did what we did in the recognition that we will sell one day and we wanted to be ahead of the game when that day arrives.

I would propose that both the mold guy and the home inspector are right. Dips in ambient relative humidity and temperatures can create wide swings in crawlspace moisture.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:52 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far. The home is in southeastern Virginia. I picked a very good and thorough home inspector - we got burned by a cheapo one when we bought our first house so I didn't want that to happen again. I kept reading that even after rain a crawl space should be dry so that's why we are confused. We have very hot and humid weather here - both days were hot and humid - a little more humid on the day it was deemed bone dry. Not sure if this helps clarify anything.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:24 PM
864 posts, read 3,795,710 times
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That's great that you picked a good inspector. The presence of water in a crawl space is of material interest. No matter what is causing the moisture (if actually present) or what happens to address it: it is in your best interest to get the most accurate and comprehensive information you can so you can decide how you feel about it BEFORE you close. Please let us know what happens.
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