Generally, the average crawl space area is barely tall enough to stand in and has a dirt floor. Because of the dirt floor’s high moisture content, the conditions in most crawl spaces are excellent for the growth of bugs, fungi, and other microorganisms, as well as dampening wood.
The reason for a crawl space is to elevate the lowest livable part of a house above the base flood elevation. Thus, in the event of a flood, the home’s living spaces shouldn’t be flooded. Do you live in a house that has a crawl space? You should know a few things when caring for the space underneath your house to keep it a helpful area and not one that causes concern for the safety of your home.
Keeping the humidity in your crawl space at the right level is crucial for preventing mold formation and other harmful problems. Continue reading to increase your home’s lifespan and learn how to reduce crawl space moisture properly.
Proper Crawl Space Humidity Levels
The air quality in your crawl space area is at its most healthy when kept at around 65% humidity. Some negative impacts of high humidity in your crawl area include the following:
- Wood rot
- Mold and mildew growth
- Insulation damage
When in poor condition, the structure of your home can be destroyed by wood rot brought on by mold and mildew. You can use a digital meter to test the humidity levels in your crawl space area if you are concerned, or more effectively, contact a local waterproofing expert,(like us here at PIERMAN Foundation Repair) for a professional reading.
The Reason for Excessive Humidity in Your Crawl Space
Water can enter the crawl space for a variety of reasons. Before handling the crawl space itself, those issues must be located and resolved for the problem to truly be solved. Some of the most common causes for water intrusion are listed below:
Standing Water or Bulk Water
Standing water accumulates in many crawl spaces across the country. Do you notice water that is at least a few inches deep underneath your home? If so, search for drainage problems and possible plumbing leaks. The uneven slope of the ground outside the property can also be a contributing factor to why there is a lot of water in your crawl space.
There will be an especially difficult condition forming if the land slopes in the direction of your home. A minimum of a 5% gradient should be present as the ground drops away from home.
Moisture Evaporation from The Ground
The earth is saturated with water that naturally evaporates into the crawl space air. The earth may look dry sometimes, but it can be full of water that is evaporating into your crawl space. Contacting a professional can help you determine if the issue has become worse and is negatively affecting the structure of your home.
Moist Air and Crawl Space Vents
Vents in the crawl space are an old-fashioned solution to the humidity problem. The problem is, the vents in the crawl space are ventilating moist air into the space when the outdoor weather is damp! This only makes the problem much worse.
For example, air venting into the crawl space area on a hot, humid summer day may have up to 75% relative humidity! To make matters worse, when the hot air enters the colder crawl space environment, it condenses and can increase the humidity by up to 2%! This process creates a whole bunch of condensation on sensitive material structures like floor joists, etc. Needless to say, crawl space vents have become obsolete and are highly recommended to be sealed off.
Fix The Problems First
If standing water is in your crawl space, the source of the problem needs to be located immediately. If the dirt slopes in the direction of the foundation, it will need to be graded.
Do you believe there is a plumbing leak? Check all the pipes under the home with an expert. Old copper pipes can have tiny pinhole leaks that are difficult to spot. These little leaks can add up to significant water issues over time. Sometimes the issue is external, like water intruding from another property. In that instance, professional sump pump installation is a smart solution.
Sump Pump Installation
In the crawl space, a sump pump is buried in a bucket. The water collects in the bucket after draining to the lowest point. The pump drained the water outside the house, turning on. If you have a sump pump, make suits function properly.
Vapor Barrier Installation
A vapor barrier is a thick layer of plastic that is laid across your crawl space floor, especially if the floor is of bare dirt. The vapor barrier prevents moisture from getting under the plastic and onto your floor’s wood joists. The insulation is also kept dry using this encapsulation technique.
For this process, choose a reputable encapsulation company, like us here at PIERMAN Foundation Repair, to ensure it was completed correctly. The air you inhale inside your home will be protected from mold, mildew, and more by the vapor barrier.
Crawl Space Dehumidification
A crawl space dehumidification system is installed to maximize air circulation. The dehumidifier will help lower humidity levels in the crawl space and maintain a healthy level of moisture for well into the future.
The Necessity of Proper Crawl Space Humidity Levels
Maintaining the proper crawl area humidity level is essential for your home’s health. The proper humidity level keeps insulation dry and prevents the formation of mold and mildew. Since the air in your home comes through the crawl space, preventing mold growth is crucial. If the air in your crawl area is toxic, it will also be bad in your living space.
Please visit our website to schedule an evaluation of your home’s foundation and crawl space condition. Give us a call today at (580) 453-0330 and ask for more information on the benefits of professional encapsulation services.