A moisture barrier is a plastic liner that covers the dirt in your crawlspace. These barriers are used to block vapors and moisture in the soil from entering your crawlspace. But is it necessary to install a moisture barrier under your home? While that decision remains a personal one for you as a homeowner, there are several benefits to moisture barriers.
Moisture in your crawlspace can affect the temperature inside your home. As your HVAC unit or furnace runs longer to help maintain the temperature inside, it uses more electricity which, in turn, increases your electricity bill. This also puts additional strain on the HVAC unit, causing them to wear out faster and need costly repairs and/or replacement. A moisture barrier acts as a sealant, controlling the moisture levels and easing the strain of your HVAC system, making your home more energy efficient and saving you money on your energy bills.
High moisture levels in your crawlspace provide the ideal environment for mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew in your air system can be detrimental to your and your family’s health. Mold can also cause significant damage to your home. Installing a moisture barrier greatly reduces these moisture levels, preventing mold and mildew from forming. Mold and mildew are often the cause of foul odors in your home, as well. A moisture barrier can also help eliminate these stale, musty odors from your home.
Moisture that gets into your crawlspace affects the temperature in your home. It can make your home too hot, too cold, too stuffy, or too dry depending on the weather, the season, and other factors. The moisture either absorbs the warmth from your house or keeps it from escaping. In turn, this causes your HVAC unit or furnace to run too long trying to maintain a steady temperature indoors. Installing a moisture barrier seals those spaces and keeps the moisture out of your crawlspace, helping to regulate the temperature inside.
Your home’s foundation is vital to its structure and soundness. Moisture in your crawlspace can lead to wood rot, especially on joists and beams. Rotting wood can lead to significant structural damage to your home which can, in turn, stick you with a huge repair bill. Moisture barrier installation reduces the amount of moisture in your crawlspace which helps prevent wood rot, protecting the structural integrity of your home.
Your unsealed crawlspace is an open invitation to pests and wildlife in search of shelter, food, and water. Once inside, these critters can cause significant damage to your home and your health. Rodents and other wildlife can chew through wood and electrical wires. Roaches and other insects can use the crawlspace to gain access to your home, posing potential health risks to you and your family. Installing a moisture barrier completely closes off your crawlspace, eliminating this entry point for pests into your home.
How do you know if you have a problem within your crawlspace? Some signs of crawlspace trouble include:
- Pooling water. If you have pooling water, a moisture barrier will be completely ineffective. If pooling water is already an issue, crawlspace enclosure or a sump pump will be necessary instead.
- Cold Floors. Cold floors are usually a result of moisture buildup in your crawlspace. Vapor barriers can help prevent this.
- Mold and Mildew. Mold has the potential to be toxic. Check routinely for leaks and water damage in your crawlspace and repair them immediately.
- Pests in the Home. Seeing an increase in pests in your home could indicate an issue in your crawlspace. They may be using this as a point of entry into your home. Vapor barriers can help mitigate this.
If you are interested in moisture barriers or crawlspace enclosure, contact a reputable company for more information.