When it comes to your home, proper care and maintenance extend even to places you may never see or think about. This includes areas such as the crawl space underneath your property. Many homeowners who have a crawl space under their property tend to ignore this space. However, such negligence can cause a huge range of problems to your home. Thus you should never ignore a wet crawl space. Read on to learn all about the proper care of your crawl space!
How Water Gets In to Create a Wet Crawl Space
There are a few ways that water typically gets into crawl spaces. The most common way water gets in is as water seepage from the surrounding soil, usually after heavy rain. A plumbing leak can also lead to sitting water. Depending on your climate, condensation can be an issue. Humidity condenses on cold surfaces, like ducts, and drips onto the crawl space floor.
The Risks of a Wet Crawl Space
All sorts of issues can arise if you do not look after your crawl space. However, by taking care of the crawl space area, you can reduce the risk of issues around your home. While you may never look at or enter your crawl space, just because you ignore it doesn’t mean a problem isn’t brewing. Instead, issues in the crawl space can impact your main living areas. Let’s look at some of the problems that can arise from a wet crawl space.
Mold thrives in moisture. And mold loves to eat dead organic materials, like wood, paper, and cardboard. Unfortunately, most crawl spaces have lots of moisture, as well as wood and other organic materials for mold to grow on.
What’s worse is mold releases airborne spores that eventually make their way up to your living spaces. Mold in your crawl space left unchecked can grow and spread, creating health problems for your home’s residents.
Another issue that can impact your home if you ignore your crawl space is pest infestation. Pests love to breed in damp crawl spaces. But they won’t just stay there! They can then invade the exterior and interior of your home too. Pests cause huge amounts of damage, create hygiene issues, and spread disease.
Dust mites also thrive in humid environments, so they love homes with moist crawl spaces underneath. Dust mites are microscopic parasites that live in your bedding, carpet, and furniture. Their droppings float in the air and can trigger allergies and asthma. Other pests, like termites, spiders, mice, rats, and snakes love damp, dirt crawl spaces too.
You may be surprised to see this on the list, but a home with a wet crawl space costs more to heat and cool. This is because damp air takes more energy to heat or cool, and more energy means higher energy bills.
Solutions for a Wet Crawl Space
Solutions for a wet crawl space include cleanup, repairs, and encapsulation.
The job of cleaning a flooded crawl space starts with removing the standing water. If all you have are a few puddles, you can use a wet vac to suck up the water and dump it outdoors.
For widespread flooding that doesn’t reach more than an inch deep, you can try sweeping the water out with a push broom. Using a general-purpose pump, however, will get the job done more efficiently and it’s the only practical option if the space is severely flooded.
When all the standing water is out, you can begin drying the space more thoroughly. This means drying the wood framing, the subflooring above the crawl space, and the crawl space floor. Before you start, make sure all mold and moldy materials have been removed, that there are no lingering puddles, and that no water is still entering the crawl space.
Repair and Seal
Once you’re removed the water and dried to space, inspect your walls and any exposed pipes to see if you can determine the source of the water leak. If you find any cracks in the foundation, will need to have that repaired so water doesn’t seep in and cause more damage. Your priority with repairs is to address any ongoing issues that are letting water in, and then begin the process to repair and seal off the space. You can also install a dehumidifier in the crawl space to help keep things dry in the future.
Crawl space encapsulation refers to the addition of a heavy-duty moisture barrier to the floor of your crawl space, sealed foundation vents, insulated walls, and a crawl space dehumidifier.
Crawl space encapsulation is most effective when you seal the space completely. As soon as you’ve encapsulated the space, you can use a dehumidifier to help regulate the moisture levels in the area.
For many homeowners, DIY home upgrades are fun and cost-saving projects. But when it comes to crawl space encapsulation, it’s a bad idea to assume you can complete the project by yourself. Keep in mind that since this is a space you don’t examine very often, you want to know the job has been done correctly so you can leave it be and not stress over whether you have a mold or pest issue growing under your home.
A professional crawl space encapsulation company brings valuable experience to the table, ensuring that the job is done properly. Because they have the necessary tools and skills, professionals can also complete the project much more quickly than you could on your own. And since you will be getting a high-quality encapsulation installation, you won’t need to worry about replacing the encapsulation any time soon.
Benefits of Encapsulation
Crawl space encapsulation offers many benefits. And the peace of mind you’ll have from knowing you have taken care of your home is priceless!
Protection from Mold
One of the issues associated with a damp crawl space is mold and mildew. Mold exposure can cause certain health problems, including wheezing, coughing, stuffy nose, itching, and so on.
Thus, when you encapsulate your crawl space, you prevent moisture from building up in this space, prohibiting mold growth.
Improved Air Quality
An unencapsulated crawl space can introduce mold, mildew, and other contaminants into your living space. Contaminated air does not only make your indoor space uncomfortable to stay in but could also be harmful to your health. Once you seal the crawl space, you stop this problem and will enjoy improved air quality.
Prevents Structural Damage
Moisture in your crawl space will lead to structural damage over time. The vapor within the crawl space can rot your home’s wooden frames and flooring. However, encapsulating the crawl space keeps away this moisture. Additionally, encapsulation helps keep out dangerous pests like termites, that can cause structural damage to your home.
Your home is your place to get away from it all. Thus you want to enjoy a healthy and comfortable environment. However, crawl space issues can lead to a range of issues including bad smells and poor air quality. Luckily, these problems can be avoided by taking care of your crawl space.
If you are ready to upgrade your home’s safety and quality, crawl space encapsulation is the way to go. And when you use a TrustDALE certified professional, you're always protected by Dale's trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right Guarantee. So start looking for a trusted crawl space encapsulation professional in your area today!