Don't Crawl Naked for Home Inspections (Pottstown)
Several years ago, I read an article in one of my trade magazines about making sure you are protected before going through crawl spaces.
When I do home inspections in Pottstown & surrounding and I have to go through a crawl space, I don't crawl naked! By "naked", I'm referring to being unprotected. The risk these crawl spaces pose when you crawl through them and stir up that old dust might be shocking if you knew what lies waiting in that old dust.
Almost a quarter of the home inspections I do in Pottstown and surrounding areas has a crawl space. Newer homes, even with the polythylene vapor barrier, can pose a risk, but most dangerous of all are the older crawl spaces with the dirt floor.
If you have ever crawled through one of these spaces, you know that you can find all sorts of interesting things in there- decompossed animal carcasses, rodent feces, trash, etc. It's the stuff you don't see that is most troublesome.
That dust you stir up from going through a crawl space can contain all sorts of chemicals and materials that do not biodegrade over time. There are mold spores, asbestos, loose glass fibers from insulation, and pesticides. Think about all those pesticides accumulating over the years ever since that home was first built. Understand that some of the pesticides like Chlordane that they used in the 40s through the 80s and Dursban that was banned in the year 2000 were found to be carcinogens. Those pesticides were designed not to be biodegradable and they lie and wait in some of these crawl spaces.
If you are homeowner, your risk is minimal if you've only been through your crawl space on a few occasions. If you are a home inspector or in a trade that visits crawl spaces often, protection is a must. I wear protective clothing during my home inspections to prevent contaminating the rest of the home and I wear a respirator and goggles so I can continue to do home inspections for years to come and protect my health.
What does "don't crawl naked" entail? It means you want to wear protective clothing like coveralls, gloves, hat and remove those upon exiting the crawl space. You also want a good respirator. I recommend using a mask with a P-100 cartridge and make sure that you change the cartridges regularly because if they clog up, you are just going to pull in contaminated air.
For further information, visit The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
I don't crawl naked for home inspections and neither should you!
David Artigliere with ARTI Home Inspections LLC is a home inspector in Pottstown, Reading, Norristown & surrounding areas. He is available 7 days a week. Visit his website at www.artihomeinspections.com or call (610) 220-1907.