Crawlspaces were constructed to put a barrier between the home itself, and the earth below.
Although similar to a basement, crawlspaces are vented to the outside air, and many have a dirt floor. They were built for their accessibility, and cost effectiveness.
Instead of building directly on a concrete slab foundation, the crawlspace creates a place to install an HVAC unit and the necessary water and sewer distribution for the home. They are also cost effective for the builder to create a level home without moving dirt to pour a concrete slab foundation. Creating a level lot for building a home can be costly, building a crawlspace negates this.
Although convenient and cost effective, having a vented space under your home can lead to multiple issues. Homes built over crawlspaces have the tendency to suffer from moisture related issues. This means that mold, wood rot, and termite infestations tend to come into play with a crawlspace.
How To Combat Crawlspace Issues
Two key ways to combat crawlspace issues is installing a vapor barrier and a dehumidifier in the crawlspace. Some crawlspaces already have a thin and non sealed vapor barrier that isn’t doing the full job. When using the correct materials the crawlspace vapor barrier prevents ground moisture from entering the crawlspace air and creating moisture related issues. The vapor barrier will spot air movement from the dirt crawlspace, thus making the space a semi-conditioned area, meaning that your crawlspace will be a similar temperature to your living areas. This will also make your energy bills more efficient, instead of battling with the temperature elements from under your house. However, this is only solving part of the problem.
This is where the dehumidifier comes in. The air from your crawlspace rises into your home, which includes moisture, and potentially even mold spores. Whatever is in the air at the lowest point of your home, eventually flows up to the living areas. As stated previously, crawlspaces are vented, and are a never ending source of moisture. Once the crawlspace is sealed with a vapor barrier, the dehumidifier will suck out the remaining moisture from the air, leading to healthy air coming up through your house.
With these two solutions coupled, you will see benefits in the form of healthier air, pest protection, increased structural integrity, and saving on your energy bills.
Is My Crawlspace an Issue?
When crawlspaces are exposed to moisture, your home’s health, your energy bills, and even your own personal health can be a target. Once moisture enters a crawlspace the problem can grow and worsen over time.. If left unattended, moisture can create a mold, wood rot, floor failure, allergy aggravation and move.
If you’d like a professional evaluation of your crawlspace contact ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing for a free crawlspace repair estimate.