Crawl spaces are built in houses as a more affordable alternative to basements. They do their job of lifting the house off the ground, which could be termite-prone or damp. However, crawl spaces are often neglected, causing them to collect mildew, moist, and heat, which lead to several problems with your home, including the presence of pests, poor air quality, and expensive energy consumption. Conditioning crawl spaces is not always a good idea, as it may cause many other problems. Fortunately, these problems can be prevented or stopped if you follow these steps to maintain the area:
Encapsulate the crawl space
This is the key to moisture control in the area. As heat and moist gathering in the crawl space without having any way of being released back to the atmosphere, the moisture can become water droplets that will gather around the wood, causing the growth of mold and mildew. If left untouched, mold can cause your wooden foundation to rot, compromising your home’s structural integrity.
But you can do something about insulating the crawl space. Seal all leaks and holes to prevent air from getting into the house, design gutters so they will divert water away from the foundation, or designing the landscape in the yard so it will also direct water away from your house.
You have no other choice but to check out the crawl space yourself. Seal off dirt floors with a moisture retardant, for instance, to prevent bugs from living in them. Make sure to clean your crawl space regularly as well and air it out. But if you notice signs of mold, it would be better to call for a professional service to remove it completely. Otherwise, the mold will keep reducing the quality of the air in your home and cause you to get sick. If the moist and mold are due to the stagnant water in your crawl space, dry it and have a perimeter drain installed right away.
Stop pests from coming in
Inspect the crawl space for signs of rodents. Seal off any possible points of entry, such as seams and cracks as they can easily serve as invites for cockroaches and mice. However, you would not want to forget about ventilation. You may want to try installing laminated water vapor barriers for proper ventilation.
Most crawl spaces use fiberglass batts, which become even more effective with spray foam insulation, although the latter is a bit costly. It does give you value for your money, though, in terms of its effectivity in tightly sealing your crawl space against air movement and heat transfer.
You can use spray foam to make sure the gaps in every nook and cranny in your crawl space are filled. This should help keep the cold air in and warm air out during the summer and vice versa during the colder seasons. When used properly, spray foam insulation also inhibits the growth of mold.
Insulating the access door to the crawl space will ensure effective temperature regulation in the area. If you want to do DIY insulation for a plywood access door, cover its inside with a firm insulation board that has an R-value rating of R-5 to R-6. You may also want to add weather stripping to the outside edges of the door.
For the perimeter of the crawl space’s walls, you can use a foam insulation board, which also inhibits the growth of mold and stops unwanted air from passing through. This is also a more beneficial arrangement in that it does not block contractors from accessing air ducts or pipes that need repair or maintenance.
Check the air ducts for any leaks or holes. Leaky ducts can cause cold or hot air from the house to escape to the crawl space, while unwanted cold or hot air from the crawl space will reach the house, causing your air conditioning or heating units to work even harder, consuming more energy. To plug the leaks, you can apply a mastic tape or use insulation duct wraps with an R-value rating as specified by the building codes in your area.
With proper insulation in your crawl space, your entire home’s insulation will also improve. This meant reduced energy consumption and utility bills.
Put in a dehumidifier unit
Now that you have cleaned and properly insulated the crawl space, you can set up a commercial dehumidifier unit in the area to help regulate the air in it. The dehumidifier’s job is to control the air in the crawl space so it will remain at a comfortable temperature. It will also help keep the moisture down and prevent mold from growing in the space. You can look for a dehumidifier with a thermostat that can automatically turn on only at pre-set times so it does not waste energy.
To effectively wring moisture out of the air in the crawl space, choose a high-efficiency and high-capacity dehumidifier. It can keep everything in the area dry, removing any musty smell in it and preventing mold from growing on any surface.
Don’t let a dirty and damp crawl space wreak havoc in your home and to your bank account. Clean it up, insulate it, and keep it dry with the right dehumidifier.