Why It’s Important
Everyone knows that water penetration will destroy your home. But did you know that water in your crawl space can also affect the inside of your home? Here’s a brief rundown of resulting problems:
- The joists under your home may rot, resulting in sagging floors and eventual collapse.
- The damp areas in your crawl space provide the perfect habitat for insects such as spiders and cockroaches, which inevitably enter your home.
- The damp air negatively affects the air quality inside your home, causing your family to inhale dust, soil gases, and possibly mold spores.
- Your family may develop allergy and other respiratory problems from breathing musty air.
- The air intrusion from your crawl space causes your cooling and heating systems to work less efficiently, raising your monthly bills.
While the above list only scratches the surface of what a damp crawl space can cause, it’s undeniable- a wet crawl space will only lead to trouble. Fortunately, crawl space waterproofing and conditioning can help mitigate all the potential risks.
What Not to Do
Traditionally, experts thought your crawl space needed to breathe. Therefore homes commonly came equipped with vents in the crawl space. However, contrary to popular belief and older building code recommendations, recent studies show this line of logic to be flawed. The fact is, vents allow humid and moist air to flow into your crawl space which first causes humidity fluctuation and then condensation on air ducts and floor joists. This can eventually create structural problems and also a number of air quality problems, including mold and mildew. Venting of the crawl space is now known to be very detrimental to solving a moisture problem.
The Stack Effect
The stack effect is the process of constant air circulation throughout your home. Basically, as hot air in your home rises, cool air rushes in through your crawl space vents. Your house then sucks the cool, damp air up inside through various cracks and crevices. Unfortunately, the air from your crawl space isn’t pure. Instead it’s likely packed with soil gases, dust, allergens, and maybe even mold. In order to prevent your family from breathing the impurities, you need to condition and control the humidity and moisture in your crawl space.
Crawl space Vapor Barrier
In order to properly condition your crawl space you need to have a professional install a crawl space vapor barrier (sometimes referred to as a vapor diffusion retarder) to encapsulate the area underneath your house. Using a thick, fiber-reinforced material, unlike the thin plastic Visqueen used very often, minimizes the amount of water vapor that finds its way into your home. However, the vapor barrier will not serve its purpose unless it is properly installed. Correct installation includes multiple strategically placed fasteners and overlapping seams to ensure that the crawl space is completely sealed off from the soil underneath. That said, it’s probably not a good idea to take crawl space vapor barrier installation on as your next do-it-yourself home improvement project.
Electronic Humidity Control Systems
An electronic humidity control system can be installed to regulate the quality of air in your crawl space. It works by first expelling the damp air from underneath your home and then reclaiming the warm air that has risen into the upper levels. This warmer air gets repurposed to dry out your crawl space. The end result is a home that is dry from top to bottom, with clean, comfortable air that won’t put your family at risk.
Where to Begin- Free Inspection
It’s easy to get started. Simply find an experienced contractor with ample references to visit your home and give you a free inspection. Then you’ll know exactly what you need and how much it will cost. Don’t let dollar signs scare you off- a quality crawl space repair company offers convenient financing options, making it affordable for any budget. And don’t worry; finding the right contractor means you’ll never have to worry about your crawl space again because they offer warranties.
So don’t hesitate, call a professional for crawl space repair today.