Crawl Space Moisture Danger
It is easy to forget about the crawl space deep under the carpet and floor boards as it is almost out of the house. However, the crawl space is the foundational portion of your home! So, when it comes to any threats, you should be alert. Thank you for tuning in as we learn more about the threats moisture brings to the crawl space.
How Moisture Gets in Crawl Space
Moisture can enter your crawl space through various sources, such as groundwater seepage, rainwater runoff, and condensation. Depending on where you live, you could be facing ocean moisture, river flooding, irrigation, and/or neighbors with irrigation problems that bleed over to your property.
Whatever the case, be sure to check around your home for standing water, leaky pipes or any other known issues. Clearing the water from the areas and repairing any leaks as soon as possible is the best policy.
Threats to Your Crawl Space
Moisture sounds like a pretty weak villain, but for the crawl space, it is the main threat! Moisture locked up in the attic or crawl space creates a new beast of problems for homeowners. Crawl spaces are notorious for being prone to moisture-related issues due to their proximity to the ground and limited ventilation.
When left unchecked, excessive moisture can lead to mold growth, wood rot, musty odors, and even compromise the structural integrity of your home. The moisture also attracts wood eating creatures too! Termites and rats who are seeking shelter, can chew away at your home’s value. These pests added to the moisture can rapidly destroy the structure of your home by weakening beams and joist supports.
Before delving into the solutions, it’s crucial to understand the potential consequences of crawl space moisture:
- Mold Growth: Moist environments are ideal breeding grounds for mold, which can release harmful spores into the air, affecting indoor air quality and causing health issues.
- Structural Damage: Excess moisture can weaken the wooden supports, beams, and floor joists, leading to sagging floors and compromising the stability of your home.
- Pest Infestations: Damp crawl spaces attract pests such as termites, rodents, and insects, which can cause additional damage to your home.
- Energy Inefficiency: Moisture-laden crawl spaces can make it harder to regulate indoor temperatures, resulting in higher energy bills.
- Odors and Allergies: Musty odors can permeate your living spaces, and allergens from mold spores can trigger allergies and other respiratory problems.
The Ground Under My Crawl Space is Wet, is This A Problem?
If there’s moisture so prevalent that it creates a wet patch or mud, you will want to get a dehumidifier. Also, if standing water is in the space, you will want to remove it using traditional methods such as siphoning with a hose leading to the outdoors, using buckets or other manual options as the water needs to be removed. Crawl space moisture is a large threat to your home’s structure and it attracts pests. So, the short answer is YES, plan to remove the standing water, sewage or excess moisture from your crawl space immediately.
Effective Strategies to Eliminate Crawl Space Moisture
Now, let’s explore actionable steps to combat crawl space moisture and ensure a healthier crawl space, attic, and home.
- Inspect Crawl Space and Attic Regularly: Conduct routine inspections to identify moisture sources, leaks, and potential issues early on. We conduct FREE attic inspections for San Diego homeowners.
- Ensure Proper Drainage: Proper grading and installation of gutters and downspouts can redirect rainwater away from the foundation, minimizing moisture infiltration.
- Seal and Insulate: Seal any gaps, cracks, or openings in the crawl space walls and foundation to prevent outside air and moisture from entering. Proper insulation can also help regulate temperature and reduce condensation. When considering new insulation for your crawl space, be sure to consult a professional to make sure it is the right move for your particular home envelope.
- Vapor Barrier Installation: Install a high-quality vapor barrier, such as a heavy-duty plastic sheet, to create a moisture-resistant barrier between the ground and the crawl space. This helps prevent moisture from rising up into the crawl space as humidity, to read more on this, please look at this article by Crawl Space Ninja.
- Improve Ventilation: Ensure adequate ventilation by installing vents and fans to promote air circulation and prevent stagnant, humid air from accumulating. Only consider installing vents in dry conditions. Often, attic professionals will say a vent system is what will lead to more problems, so only consider a vent if a professional has suggested it for your particular home and the environment around the home.
- Dehumidification: Consider using a dehumidifier specifically designed for crawl spaces to maintain optimal humidity levels. If you are simply looking to dry your crawl space, you might want to read this article by Enviroquest regarding drying process. This can be an expensive move, so be sure to get a professional involved to help you make the best decision for your home’s needs.
- French Drains and Sump Pumps: In cases of persistent groundwater seepage, installing a French drain system and sump pump can effectively manage water intrusion. If you have a flood or need water mitigation, our partner Pro Plumber San Diego is available to handle any plumbing emergency or floods.
- Professional Assistance: If moisture issues persist or are severe, consult a professional waterproofing contractor who can provide tailored solutions. We can help you with all your needs to help keep your attic and crawl space healthy!
Air Sealing your Home, Attic and Crawl Space
While sealing the crawl space is one of the first suggestions we make above, we would also go further to suggest that air sealing the home and attic are a good idea. The attic can have similar issues to the crawl space for moisture, but also if you have HVAC systems installed, your home can really benefit from air sealing procedure. Also, a useful blog if you are thinking of installing a new HVAC system, check our blog about installing insulation before your HVAC system upgrade.
If you are having the attic and crawl space air sealed, you may as well also do the same to the home. Air sealing your home can be a little easier, homeowners can do a lot of the work by weather stripping and sealing any gaps on doors or windows. When considering the air sealing process, you should start with consulting a professional as lots of variables impact the decision.
This image was provided by the EPA to help homeowners learn about the financial, as well as comfort and environmental, benefits of sealing and insulating their attics and encourage homeowners to take action to improve the insulation in their own attics.
“Air sealing your entire home envelope can have numerous other benefits.” -Attic Health
Adding Vapor Barrier to Crawl Space Floor
After removing the standing water or any moisture issues, consider covering the ground with crawl space vapor barrier material. Make sure to lay this heavy duty vapor barrier overlapping across the floor of your crawl space, making for less possible moisture permeability. Small tears or holes will not greatly impact the effectiveness of this vapor barrier material. Around the edges make sure to tuck in the materials to keep it in the position to lay it. Vapor barriers often move over time, anything you can do to secure the moisture barrier in place.
Insulation in Crawl Space is NOT a Definite Solution
Make sure to get an expert involved in this decision whenever possible. Knowing the environment of your home, the ground, the surrounding contributors to risks, and the attic & crawl space configurations are essential to making this decision. While many less integral insulation installers will rapidly sell you insulation and install it, they will also not be there when problems arise.
At Attic health, if we are not sure about the plans for crawl space insulation, we will work with the homeowner over time to make sure to make recommendations after experiencing the conditions on several instances on our inspections. We will work hard always to make sure to assist homeowners who want the job done right and also at the best price for our quality insulation materials.
Attic Health-Crawl-Space Wrap Up
Your crawl space may remain unseen, but its vital role in your home’s health cannot be understated. Moisture, the stealthy adversary, can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation. By understanding the sources and consequences of crawl space moisture and implementing the suggested strategies, you fortify your home against mold, structural damage, pests, inefficiency, and allergens.
A vigilant approach to moisture management ensures a dry, safe, and comfortable home haven for you and your loved ones. Some other benefits come from air sealing your home, you should consider reading our blog on this topic if you have any inclination to get your home air sealed. If you have doubts about your needs for professional services, or if something from your attic or crawls space has you worried, call Attic Health!
Don’t procrastinate when it comes to attic or crawl space moisture removal, cleaning, and decontamination. Otherwise, you could be putting the health and safety of your family at risk. Call Attic Health today! (858) 289-6966