The Essentials of Crawlspace Moisture Barriers

The Essentials of Crawlspace Moisture Barriers

There are over 27 million homes in the United States with crawlspaces. These crawlspaces are typically used for storage and easy access to plumbing but can also harbor water and mold. They are dirty, damp places that provide an ideal environment for mold, mildew, pests, and rust. Keeping your crawlspace dry is essential to improving the overall health of your home. Here are the essentials to crawlspace moisture barriers.

What is a crawlspace?

A crawlspace is a variation of a basement where you can crawl around. The surface of a crawlspace is often just bare earth. They are traditionally built for homes without a basement or for homes that aren’t built on a slab. The primary purpose of crawlspaces was to promote air circulation throughout the home and to allow easy access to plumbing, electrical, and other home maintenance needs. The crawlspace can also be used for extra storage.

Where does crawlspace moisture come from?

Crawlspace moisture usually comes from one of three sources:

  • Bulk water. Water can accumulate from plumbing leaks or blocked drains. The longer this water remains stagnant, the worse the moisture problem can get.
  • Outdoor air coming through vents. The vents around a crawlspace provide the perfect access for vapor from the outside air to come in, thus increasing your humidity levels.
  • Moisture from the ground. Uncovered soil releases moisture into the air, thus releasing it into the crawlspace.

What are the benefits of crawlspace moisture control?

Controlling the moisture levels in your crawlspace provides you with several benefits, helping to improve both your health and the health of your home. The benefits include:

  • Avoiding negative health effects from mold and mildew
  • Increasing your home’s resale value
  • Decreasing the risk of mold, mildew, wood rot, and floor failure
  • Decreasing your heating and cooling bills
  • Preventing insects and dust mites
  • Eliminating odors
  • Improving indoor air quality

What should crawlspace moisture levels be?

Crawlspace moisture should be kept at an appropriate level to help prevent adverse effects on your home and your health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends keeping the relative humidity in your home between 30% and 50%.

What is a vapor barrier?

A crawlspace vapor barrier is a set of polyethylene sheets that are placed on the uncovered soil of your crawlspace to prevent moisture from seeping through. This helps improve the relative humidity levels in the crawlspace. Vapor barriers, also known as moisture barriers, are often used in conjunction with dehumidifiers and/or crawlspace encapsulation.

Do you still have questions about crawlspace moisture barriers? Do you have an issue with moisture in your crawlspace? Contact a professional who can come out and inspect your crawlspace, identify potential areas of concern, and recommend the best treatment plan for your situation.

Keeping Cool for the Summer

Keeping Cool for the Summer

Not only does a Southern summer bring swarming pests, but it also brings the unbearable humidity. When it gets too hot, many of us head back inside and simply turn down the thermostat to a comfortable degree. Though some might find that turning the cool air up isn’t actually working, and the summer heat isn’t budging.

When the sun is beating down on your home, your attic will easily see high temperatures. The heat absorbs through the hard materials that make up your home and is likely to transfer downstairs into your living area, creating an uncomfortable living environment. An easy solution that could help is making sure you have enough insulation in your attic.

Attic insulation will create air pockets that slow the heat that is attempting to flow through your home. This will help uneven temperatures between the rooms in your house. Installing insulation can additionally help your HVAC system run more efficiently, helping lessen the need to turn down the thermostat and reduce the cost of your energy bills.

You will also find that your home can trap in the humidity and moisture. These two factors can welcome mold, fungi, and pests into your living environment. Termites, for example, prosper in areas of high moisture which in return can put your house at risk for structural damage.

A solution to ensure your home is not met with these issues is investing in crawlspace enclosure. With closing your crawlspace, you can equally save money on energy bills, but also improve the air quality in your home, creating a more comfortable living environment.

With these heat factors in mind, consider investing in both attic insulation and crawlspace encapsulation. In the long run, it could prevent future headaches! Request a Free Estimate Now

Should You Enclose Your Crawlspace in Winter?

Should You Enclose Your Crawlspace in Winter?

Should you enclose your crawlspace this winter? The resounding answer is yes. There are several benefits to crawlspace enclosure, especially when cold weather sets in and energy costs soar. Most crawlspaces house pipes, ducts, and other appliances. Continuous exposure to cold air and freezing temperatures can lead to frozen and busted pipes and potential water damage. While it is important to keep your crawlspace clean and dry year-round, it is especially important in the winter as it can easily become damp and humid. The excessive moisture and extreme temperatures can also cause significant damage to your home.

While closing your crawlspace vents can help, it is often not enough to keep moisture, insects, and other pests out of your crawlspace. The moisture found in crawlspaces attracts pests like termites, roaches, and millipedes and the crawlspace provides the ideal entry point to your home. The increased humidity also provides the ideal environment for mold and wood rot which can lead to serious health issues for your family and trigger allergies and asthma.

Cold air from your crawlspace can also seep through into your home, keeping your floors cold and causing your heating system to work overtime, greatly increasing your energy costs.

So what can you do this winter to keep the cold and the pests out of your crawlspace? Here are 4 steps to protecting your crawlspace this winter.

1. Clear Those Gutters

Your gutters can’t drain properly when they are clogged with leaves and debris. These clogs cause overflows with the water collecting at the base of the house. This overflow then seeps into the ground and evaporates into your crawlspace. Standing water from clogged gutters also attracts pests like mosquitoes and roaches to your home. Make sure runoff is directed away from the base of your home. If possible, extend your gutters to drain at least 10 feet away from your crawlspace. Make sure your gutters stay clean and free of debris. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs.

2. Close and Seal Air Vents

Although air vents allow air to circulate through your crawlspace, they also provide an entryway for water and moisture. In the winter, close all the air vents to your crawlspace before the temperatures get too cold. Have them sealed properly to prevent rainwater and moisture from getting inside. This also helps ensure your crawlspace stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

3. Seal Your Crawlspace

Your crawlspace walls, corners, and even base can have tiny holes that allow air leaks into the area. Professionally sealing your crawlspace can help prevent air from circulating through these cracks which, in turn, helps reduce humidity and keeps the warm air in.

4. Install A Vapor Barrier

Most crawlspaces have no covering or protection on their floors. A substantial amount of water evaporates from the ground and increases the humidity in the crawlspace. The professional installation of a vapor barrier can help prevent this evaporation and keep water and moisture out.

Whatever the season, crawlspace enclosure is a beneficial addition to your home. It not only helps increase the air quality of your home by preventing mold and wood rot, it also provides a natural pest control barrier. It also helps keep the cold air out, which means your heating unit doesn’t have to work as hard, increasing its efficiency and decreasing your energy costs.

 

You May Also Be Interested In:

How To Deal With Moles This Winter

Keeping Pests Away From Your Holiday Treats

How To Save Money on Your Energy Bills

Why Are There So Many Millipedes in My House?

10 Ways to Make Your Home Healthier

Things That Go Bump in Your Crawlspace

Things That Go Bump in Your Crawlspace

It’s October! Time for all things pumpkin, fall decorations, and staying in to enjoy your home. A potential drawback: the South, unfortunately, does not have instant cooler weather. With temperatures teetering between 85 and 90 degrees, your home might be battling moisture issues and pest invasions in your crawlspace throughout the month. Let’s look at what problems could arise and how investing in crawlspace solutions could help!

Pests

Excessive moisture and warm weather work together to create the perfect environment for pests. In addition, your home’s crawlspace is the ideal entry point for pests to enter and invade your home. (Think termites, cockroaches, ants, earwigs, and millipedes)

Mold Growth/Wood Rot

Along with pests, the high humidity also contributes to conditions suitable for mold growth and wood rot. This can cause severe health issues for members of your home that suffer from asthma and allergies.

Investing in the sealing of your home’s crawlspace won’t just help with cutting down on moisture issues; it can also improve the air quality of your home for you and your family. Acting as a natural pest control barrier, you can get back to enjoying those fall nights indoors and not worrying about what could be taking over your crawlspace.

Interested in crawlspace solutions for your home? Call your local crawlspace care provider to schedule an inspection for your home.

What Can You Do to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer?

What Can You Do to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer?

This unseasonably hot weather has catapulted us straight into summer. If you have found yourself making multiple trips back and forth to your thermostat, it may be time to look into improvements around your home that not only stop the multiple trips but also save you money in the end.

Problem #1

With the sun beating down on the roof of your home with little to no cloud cover, your attic will easily see high temperatures during the summer. Without proper insulation, the heat will absorb through the hard materials that make up your home, leading to unbearable temperatures inside.

Solution

Proper attic insulation will create air pockets which slow the heat attempting to flow through your home. This will help uneven temperatures between the rooms in your home and lessen the need to consistently visit your thermostat.

Problem #2

High heat and humidity have caused your home to become muggy and intolerable. The humidity and moisture can also become a welcoming environment for mold, fungi, and pests.

Solution

Investing in the encapsulation of your crawl space could not only save you money on your energy bills, but also prevent a headache in the long run. Termites thrive in areas of high moisture, putting your home at risk for structural damage. Not only will this method act as pest control, but it can also improve the air quality of your home and create more comfortable living conditions for you and your family.

Still on the fence? Give us a call to schedule your free inspection today, and one of our licensed professionals will answer all of your questions.

Moisture Barriers: What Are The Benefits?

Moisture Barriers: What Are The Benefits?

If you’re like most of us you don’t spend too much time inspecting your crawlspace. But did you know that moisture that makes its way into your crawlspace can cause significant problems not only for your home but for your health, as well? Dampness in your crawlspace is a common problem in homes without a proper moisture barrier system. Without a proper barrier, your crawlspace carries humid air that condenses and settles on the pipes, walls, and even the subflooring. This moisture provides the ideal environment for mold, mildew, and pests. A moisture barrier prevents this moisture from evaporating and seeping into the air beneath your home. Moisture barriers are composed of either foil or plastic material that helps prevent moisture from penetrating your crawlspace air.
So why should you have a moisture barrier installed in your crawlspace? Check out these 7 benefits of moisture barrier installation.

1. TEMPERATURE CONTROL

The 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.

2. ENERGY CONSERVATION

As we mentioned above, the 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.

3. MOLD AND ODOR PREVENTION

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 house.

4. PIPE PROTECTION

Your crawlspace is home to a number of pipes that supply both water and power to your home. When moisture infiltrates your crawlspace, it can cause rotting inside and around these pipes, leading them to burst or break. Moisture barrier installation helps keep your pipes dryer, which increases their lifespan and decreases costly repairs.

5. ELECTRICAL HAZARDS

As we mentioned above, many of the pipes in your crawlspace house electricity that runs to your home. Moisture and electricity don’t mix! Moisture in and around these pipes can lead to electrical shorts, rusted wires, and even fire. Installing a moisture barrier eliminates the moisture that can infiltrate these pipes, keeping your home safer from electrical hazards.

6. STRUCTURAL PROTECTION

The foundation of your home 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.

7. PEST CONTROL

Your unsealed crawlspace is an open invitation to pests and wildlife in search of shelter, food, and water. Once inside, these pests 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.

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