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Crawl Space Problems: Causes and Solutions | HydroHelp911

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Today, roughly 15% (27 million) of homes have crawl spaces – the biggest benefit being that you can more easily access the systems of the home: the wiring, plumbing, gas hookups, and ventilation when there is a problem. Alas, they do include more unique challenges. These problems tend to go ignored, as your crawl space does not include a fundamental part of your day-to-day home life. However, the condition of your crawl space can impact the air quality inside of your home.

We encourage you to inspect your crawl space periodically and measure the humidity levels, as excess moisture can threaten the integrity of your wooden structural components and lead to rot. When the moisture problem isn’t addressed, it creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew, ultimately leading to the potential of the air circulating throughout the home, along with harmful microorganisms and bacteria.

Signs of Trouble

If left unkept, crawl spaces can grow very messy and even hazardous to your health. In addition, water destruction in a crawl space can lead to other undesired issues like mold growth or insect and pest infestation, which can ultimately lead to those problems infringing on your home:

  • Mildew or mold in your crawl space
  • Musty odors in your living space
  • Buckled flooring
  • High levels of humidity in the living space
  • Rotting wooden framing

CAUSES

Dripping Water
Water goes into your crawl space – through porous block walls, pipe leaks, or open vents – any leakage spells a problem for your hom e. Standing water in a damp, dark area is appealing to pests, and wet fiberglass lining is a breeding ground for mold. Water also can immerse wooden and metal supports, which head to wood rot, rust, declining support systems, and sagging levels.

Humidity
High levels of humidity is one of the most significant crawl space concerns affecting homes. If the moisture level is beyond 50 percent, the best thing you can do is run a dehumidifier to keep humidity down to an acceptable level.

Watch our video on: Stop Installing Dehumidifiers In Your Crawl Space Without Sealing The Foundation Vents!

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Crawl spaces usually have high relative humidity and moisture – the typical conditions for mold growth, particularly on organic elements like wood and insulation. However, any moisture in a crawl space may also enter a different part of the structure and add to mold growth. For example, water can pass from the crawl space and additional areas through cracks in walls, basements, and roofs.

Sagging Floors
You know how depressing summertime humidity can feel. Sadly, your home is no stranger to this either. When hot and humid air is released into the crawl space during warm months, this can begin to create sagging, soft, buckling floors, as well as harm your hardwood deck.

Energy Loss
In cold wintertime, air vented inside the crawl space will make the above floors feel cold and cause the furnace to operate even more challenging to hold your house warm and cozy. In addition, the more your furnace or air conditioner runs, the higher your utility bills goes.

Crawl spaces usually are “out of sight, out of mind” for homeowners, but they should not be. It is essential to be informed of what is below your living area.

Ventilated Crawl Spaces and the Stack Effect

Traditionally, the most common method of dealing with moisture in crawl spaces, and the one endorsed by building codes the longest, is ventilation. If incorrectly constructed, your crawl space can affect your comfort level inside the living space of your home, as well as your energy consumption. Lack of insulation and gaps in the flooring will admit moisture from the crawl space below and affect indoor air quality. In addition, between chimneys, to windows, to crawl spaces, no home is a closed system. Outside air can slip in through these access points and change the internal air temperature. Your home gets too cold, and you bump up the thermostat, kicking on the heat – ultimately leading to the stack effect.

The hot air will travel to the upper levels of your home and escape through gaps in the attic or windows, creating a vacuum that pulls in heavier, colder air through the leaks in your crawl space and ground-level windows. In the summer, quite the opposite occurs. The colder air inside your home becomes heavier and sinks to the bottom, looking for an escape route. A vacuum is created when the cold air makes its exit, pulling hot air through the upper areas of your home.

If the stack effect is left untreated, regulating the temperature in your home will seem near impossible, leaving your heater or air conditioner left to work overtime. This can create significant increases in your energy bill, the spreading of mold spores, and wear and tear on your temperature control devices.

Water, Moisture, and Humidity

Water into the crawl space area is never a great sign, whether entering from vents, plumbing leaks, or within porous block walls. Moisture and standing water attracts bugs and other insects, lead to wood rot and weakening support operations, and add to mold and mildew growth on insulation and throughout the crawl space and home.

Humidity is an added culprit that can wreak havoc on your living environment. The typical range for humidity in your home is 35 to 40 percent. If it is beyond 50 percent, we highly recommend you take action, such as operating a dehumidifier to help remove moisture from the air.

It is natural for crawl spaces to have high comparative humidity and moisture, which encourages mold fungus, especially on organic substances like wood and insulation. The moisture that grows in a crawl space may also enter other parts of the home and add to mold growth. Moisture can also pass through cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings from a crawl space into a home.

Solutions

If you are worried about going into your crawl space to check it out, call the experts at HydroHelp911! Our crawl space specialists have observed it all and can modify any problem you may be having.

CRAWL SPACE DEHUMIDIFIER

While other waterproofing methods work to keep water out, a dehumidifier is an excellent method to avoid humidity in the atmosphere and keep your crawl space a fresh, dry environment. Learn more here.

GROUNDWATER ADMINISTRATION

Groundwater administration is necessary during heavy rains, and the water needs to be appropriately channeled into preserving your crawl space from water destruction. Learn more here.

CRAWL SPACE MOISTURE OBSTRUCTION

Installing a crawl space vapor barrier is an example of the most cost-effective way to enhance your home and prevent the necessity for future repairs. Learn more here.

FAQs

Should I seal my crawl space vents?

While developers once considered crawl space vents a way to allow air and moisture to move quickly out of the crawl space, they instead found out vents invited more moisture inside. In order to create a conditioned crawl space, you must properly seal it. Proper sealant helps avoid condensation in humid climates, thus avoiding problems like damaged insulation, mold growth, and decaying structural supports.

Do I require a dehumidifier in my crawl space?

We recommend installing a dehumidifier in the crawl space — though only after ensuring all crawl space vents are sealed. Sealing your vents is an incredibly important step in this process, as you don’t want your dehumidifier working overtime to attempt to pull moisture from the air outside of your crawl space.

We typically place a dehumidifier at the end of a crawl space encapsulation project. Crawl space encapsulation includes:

  1. Eliminating any standing water or mold.
  2. Air sealing and implementing spray foam insulation.
  3. Installing a vapor barrier along the ground and walls.
  4. Installing a dehumidifier to maintain moisture levels under limitation.

Do I require crawl space insulation?

Again, our response is yes. It’s most helpful to treat the crawl space as the additional living space in your home if you need optimum indoor air quality, performance, and comfort. Spray foam insulation is an outstanding solution for crawl spaces because it allows temperature control, air sealing, and moisture protection.

Why do I have standing water in my crawl space?

In the wintertime and spring, standing water is usually weather and drainage-related. For instance, heavy rain has created excess water in several Eastern Shore area crawl space areas over the last two years. However, in the summertime, water may be an outcome of excess humidity. Therefore, if you see standing water in your crawl space, we advise crawl space encapsulation to take charge of those moisture concerns once and for all.

How to Find the Best Contractor for Crawl Space Renovations?

When you call a repair person into your home, you have expectations. You assume that person to be respectful, understand your concerns, evaluate your home, and provide an honest and fair evaluation of the condition. These expectations seem reasonable, but the truth is that not everyone is centered about behaving ethically.

HydroHelp911 is the foundation restoration company that will reach out and fix your problem swiftly and efficiently. Including our team of experts, we’ll be able to pinpoint the root of your problem and get it repaired in no time. In addition, we offer free estimates, so there are no surprises when you get your bill. If you live in North Carolina and want a highly skilled basement repair, basement waterproofing, or crawl space restoration team, look no further! Our team is ready to renew the life of your basement or crawl space! So, call us today at 704-396-4973 and Schedule a Free Estimate now.

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