Hello ma’am, I’m here to see your crawl space. Nice old gal you’ve got, dating back to the twenties, is that right? And still up and running!

Now I recommend treating even minor creaks and cracks immediately because everything in your house is connected. The air you breathe in one room’s the same air you breathe in another, so if you’ve got mold in your crawl space underneath your basement, you won’t escape it, not even by living in the attic.

Look at your hallway here, these smooth white walls, freshly painted, everything seems clean and healthy. But you’ve got to think of your house like a body, all wired up with electrical veins and pipes, a nervous system running beneath the surface without you even knowing it. You’ve got your water pump, your furnace, your water heater in the basement, these are your organs, they keep things moving, they keep things regular.

Now here’s the kitchen, and look at those cracks in your ceiling, the gash in the plaster, the paint flaking from the window. If you cut off your finger won’t your whole body feel it? Houses breathe and houses remember. Houses grow old and die, and they don’t get a choice between burial and cremation.

Alright, let’s have a look at the problem, I’m glad you called me, I can smell something, and the air’s denser here, can you feel that, the moisture on your skin? I always tell people: Use your senses. Houses show problems just like your body: if something smells funny it’s time to shower, and if that doesn’t work, you’d better call a professional.

The moisture reading’s very high, hold this while I get my flashlight and then we’ll get that open. Hmm. The door’s a little warped, you see those wavy lines? Water damage. Lines like that make me sadder than fresh wrinkles, because some lines are preventable. It’s like trapping gin in your liver.

OK. Here we go. Look there along the ceiling: black mold caked into the corners. And all those black and orange spots sprinkling the walls. This room is diseased, and by the smell of your basement it appears to be spreading. Before long the whole place will be infected.

Let’s have a seat in the kitchen.

Ma’am. You should have called me earlier. We could have saved her. At this point you’ve got two options and I’m going to recommend the cheapest and the easiest: amputation and radiation. Carve it out, seal it up, and treat the surrounding area.

No, I don’t mean to sound callous, but you have to understand this is a very old house.

No, I wouldn’t want my finger cut off either.

I’m not sure how the house would feel with a part of itself missing, and as a professional I have to distance myself from my clients, avoid developing attachments that might make me dishonest about one’s chances.

Yes. Yes, ma’am, it is a beautiful house. And I can see the old gal means a lot to you, so here’s what I’m going to do. I can get that mold out, but it’s an extremely costly and invasive procedure. And there’s no guarantee the problem won’t come back. If you’re willing to work with me, to stay strong and do whatever needs to be done, to fight as long as we can stand to fight, I’ll do everything within my power to save your crawl space.

Ma’am, you are welcome. That I might preserve this kind of bond is what gets me out of bed in the morning. You make my job worth doing.