Moisture can get in through vents or the dirt floor and cause problems. Keeping crawl space moisture in check is vital for the health of your home. Learn some key facts about humidity and measures you can take to bring it down.
Purpose of the Crawl Space
The crawl space under your home can serve different purposes. Piping, ductwork, and electrical wiring run through this area. Some people even install their HVAC units down there. Others convert it into a storage area for their construction materials like bricks and tiles. The unrestricted nature of the crawl space makes it easy for technicians to access and perform repairs.
What is Crawl Space Humidity?
Crawl space humidity is the amount of water vapor present within the crawl space area of your home. The ideal relative humidity ranges between 30-60%. If it’s constantly higher than this range, you should investigate the cause and resolve the issue immediately to prevent moisture-related problems. Excess crawl space moisture is detrimental to your home.
Causes of High Crawl Space Humidity
The following things can cause the humidity levels in the crawl space area of your home to go over the roof.
Excess Water: Whether it’s rainwater or a leaky pipe, excess water is one of the major causes of crawl space humidity. The water can create a pond in the crawl space floor.
Ground moisture: Exposed dirt floors can also contribute to high crawl space humidity. If the ground is damp, the moisture it contains will evaporate and dampen the crawl space area.
Warm outside air: Moisture-laden air from the outside can flow through open vents and drive up the humidity levels in the crawl space. When the air comes into contact with cool air or cold surface, it condenses into moisture.
Effects of Crawl Space Humidity
Left unchecked, crawl space humidity can instigate various issues that could be costly to remedy. Below are the major effects of high humidity in the crawl space area.
Mold: Mold thrives in damp and warm environments. Tell-tale signs that mold is growing or active include white/black sports, water stains on baseboards, and a lingering musty smell. Prolonged mold exposure can lead to various including skin, eye, and throat irritation.
Wood Rot: Crawl space moisture can also cause your wooden supports or beams to rot or disintegrate. This can lower the structural integrity of your home.
High Electric Bills: If your electricity bills suddenly go up, yet there’s no other reasonable explanation, the excess humidity in the crawl space might be the problem. High humidity will make you spend 15-25% more energy than your average consumption. The warm and moist wair that floats into your home needs to be controlled for comfort. And that means running your HVAC for many hours.
Overworks The AC: Excess moisture will force your air conditioner to work long hours to create a comfortable indoor environment. If this happens regularly, your AC unit will wear out quickly.
Discomfort: Moisture build-up can make the indoor air feel clammy and uncomfortable. Some people try to fight off this feeling by turning up the air conditioning.
Lowers Home Value: Excess humidity levels also negatively affect your home’s value. Prospects will be hesitant to buy it if they realize a serious moisture problem due to the open crawl space below.
Best Solutions for Crawl Space Humidity
Taming the humidity in your crawl space is easy if you know the right solutions. Crawl space experts can help suggest measures or solutions bring down the high humidity in your crawl space. Below are the practical steps to fix the moisture menace and attain relative humidity.
Removing Standing Water
If there’s standing water on the crawl space floor, you have to remove it quickly. Stagnant water will evaporate with time and make the crawl space area damp. A crawl space expert can help you eject the flood water before it causes problems.
Close the Crawl Space Vents
As long as your vents stay open, you have little control over the moisture situation in the crawl space. Warm air will enter the vented crawl space day and night. Sealing your crawl space vents helps stop the unregulated flow of outside air that gets into your home via the crawl space.
With no air coming in, the crawl space stays dry and healthy. Ask your waterproofing contract to help you choose dehumidifiers for the crawl space area.
Install A Plastic Vapor Barrier
A crawl space encapsulation entails covering the crawl space floor and walls with a heavy-duty 20-mil plastic vapor barrier. The material goes around obstacles such as beams and supports and is taped down.
This solution cuts off the moist outside air and prevents groundwater from ruining your crawl space. It also discourages mold growth and prevents wood rot. Upfront costs may seem high, but the returns are worthwhile.
Dehumidify The Crawl space
Adding a dehumidifier to the crawl space is a smart move and can help you overcome seasonal moisture problems. A good dehumidifier will bring down the moisture levels and improve the quality of indoor air.
By reducing moisture, the dehumidifier also helps you prevent moisture-related problems like allergies due to dust mites, wood root, and cold surface while ensuring energy costs stays low.
Get A Crawl Space Sump Pump
It’s not enough to seal areas where moist air enters the home. You also need to install a sump pump at the lowest point of the crawl space. What this does is eject any water that gets in through flooding or pools on the floor due to leaky pipes. Contact a foundation, basement, or crawl space waterproofing service if you need help with pump sizing or selection.
Insulate The Crawl Space
Many of the homes that were built before the 90s have no insulation. Without insulation, heating and cooling costs will increase. Covering the crawl space walls with a two-inch polystyrene foam board is a common insulation method.
This type of insulation usually comes with an inward-facing foil that helps reflect heat to the crawl space. This material is crucial for your home’s energy efficiency.
Contact Our Mold Remediation Experts Today!
We can help remove stubborn mold that’s gotten into your home via the crawl space and recommend measures to control the humidity level in your crawl space or basement.