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.
Even though the calendar says September, the thermometer still reads summer! Summer is the time of year when we see a surge in our energy costs and utility bills. As the temperatures increase outside, we spend more time inside. Kids are home from school all day running the air conditioner, using electronics and appliances, and leaving the lights on. There is also a bigger gap between the temperature outside and the temperature inside our homes – causing our air conditioning units to work harder to keep our homes cool. Summer is also a time to utilize swimming pools to have fun and cool off. Electric pool pumps, however, use a lot of energy. In fact, they can add an average of $80-90 per month to your energy bill if they run 24 hours a day. As the demand for energy increases and the supply of energy decreases, the market price of energy will inevitably go up. This helps explain why our energy bills are so high in the summer months.
So what can you do to help stay ahead of this surge in energy costs? Two options available are TAP insulation and Complete Crawlspace Enclosure.
TAP or thermal acoustical pest control insulation can help protect your home and your wallet from those increasing summer energy bills. TAP insulation:
Is energy start rated and reduces the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home, which can lower your energy bills by 20-38%
Is made of 87% recycled newsprint so you can insulate your home while saving landfill space
Is treated with borates (a natural pest control product) to help control roaches, ants and other pests
Is treated with a fire retardant that limits the spread of fire
Allows you to keep more consistent temperatures inside your home year-round
Complete Crawlspace Enclosure
Complete crawlspace is an enclosed crawlspace solution that includes high quality vapor liner, taped seams, sealed foundation vents, and mechanical drying. Complete Crawlspace provides you with:
A healthier living environment by preventing mold growth and wood rot
Decreased humidity levels
Pest control by completely closing off your crawlspace, eliminating an entry point for pests
Decreased HVAC repair costs by decreasing the workload of the HVAC unit
Decreased utility bills by up to 18% with increased energy efficiency in your home
Even though we’re well into the winter season, it’s never too late to weatherproof your home. These easy fixes will not only seal up your home and keep it nice and warm, they will also help save you some money on your energy bills this year. Check out these simple winter weatherproofing tips so you’ll be prepared just in case the groundhog DOES see his shadow this year!
Windows And Doors
Check your doors and windows to make sure they are in good repair. Insulate your doors and windows with weatherstripping. Use transparent weather sealant tape for any areas where the weatherstripping will be applied directly to the door or window. This tape can also be used to temporarily seal any cracked windows until you can permanently replace them. Use door sweeps on the bottoms of exterior doors to keep cold air from coming in. You can install them with nails or with adhesive.
Attics And Crawlspaces
Attics and crawlspaces are notoriously cold areas of your home. Thermal accoustical pest control (TAP) insulation is an energy star rated attic insulation that provides several benefits to your home. TAP eases the burden on your heating and cooling systems, making them more efficient and keeping the temperature in your home more consistent throughout the year. TAP also leads to a 20-38% savings on your energy bills AND protects your home against pests including roaches and ants. Finally, TAP is treated with a fire retardant that limits the spread of fire in your home.
Complete CrawlSpace enclosure is another way to weatherproof your home. Enclosing your crawlspace with Complete CrawlSpace increases energy efficiency, prevents mold growth, and completely closes off your crawlspace to pests. This can also save you up to 18% on your energy bills each year.
Most garages aren’t insulated which makes them very chilly spaces in the winter. Install weather sealing strips on the bottom of your garage door. These strips not only keep out cold air but also keep out rain and pests as well.
Outlets And Switches
Outlets and switches on the exterior walls of your home can be a big source of cold air. One solution is to install foam outlet and switch sealers. These can be installed by simply turning off the power, removing the outlet or switch cover, applying the foam sealers, and reinstalling the covers.
Hardwood and tile floors can be especially cold in the winter. Curtains and rugs can make a big difference when it comes to heating your home. if you have drafty windows, hang some heavy curtains to keep the cold air out. Use area rugs on hardwood floors and in bathrooms with tile floors to help keep them warm.
Air conditioning units in walls and windows give a direct path for cold air into your home. One solution is to install a heavy duty polyethylene and vinyl cover that fits around the outside of the unit. You can also wrap the inside grill with plastic sheeting and double sided tape. Consider installing a programmable thermostat which will automate your interior temperature. This can save you up to $200 per year in heating and cooling costs.
Hot Water Heater
Insulate your hot water heater with a water heater insulating blanket. This saves energy by reducing heat that is lost through the sides of the hot water heater by 25-40%. This reduction in heat loss can also lead to savings on your energy bills.
When it comes to increasing your home’s energy efficiency, preventing dangerous mold, and stopping pests from taking over your crawl space and working their way into the rest of your home, you can’t go wrong with investing in a Complete CrawlSpace encapsulation. And while we here at Northwest Exterminating would love to take care of your crawl space, we know that just like visiting the doctor, you can’t go wrong with a second opinion. Here are the top 5 moisture barrier providers in the Metro Atlanta area and surrounding cities.
All Exterminating Georgia: All Exterminating Georgia was founded in 1989. They service locally and all over Georgia. Their motto is “Bringing back customer service one appointment at a time.”
Southeastern Crawlspaces: Southeastern Crawlspaces is “Atlanta & North Georgia’s Crawlspace Encapsulation Experts.” They have been servicing Atlanta homes since 2007.
AquaGuard Foundation Solutions: With locations in Atlanta, Marietta and Athens, AquaGuard provides foundation repair, basement waterproofing, and concrete leveling throughout the Metro Atlanta area.
Trotter Company: Trotter has been a trusted provider since 1929! They specialize in correcting drainage, basement waterproofing, crawl space waterproofing, foundation piering and wall reinforcement. What makes them unique is their 85 years of experience of making foundation repairs in Georgia red clay.
Harris Waterproofing: Harris is the leading vapor barrier installation company in Metro Atlanta and surrounding areas. Family owned and operated, Harris Waterproofing has been around since 1989. They provide complete waterproofing solutions, both inside and outside your home.
When looking for a crawl space contractor, weigh your options, ask as many questions as needed, and request to see photos of previous work.
We also found these resources for you regarding crawlspace enclosure and moisture barriers.
Your electric bills are probably at an all-time high right now. It’s hot, the A/C is running all day, and energy costs are on the rise. Here are a few tips on how to save some money this summer and in the upcoming winter months, by lowering utility bills and improving energy efficiency, making your home more comfortable:
1. Check to See if Your Home is Properly Insulated
Most homes don’t have enough insulation. Adding insulation to your home provides an immediate return on your investment by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home. Some products, like TAP Insulation, can even lower utility bills by up to 30% and has the added benefit of pest protection!
2. Install Weatherstripping Around Doors & Windows
Keeping cool air in during the summer and warm air during the winter increases the efficiency of your HVAC system and makes your home more comfortable (and keeps pests out!). Check around doors and windows for gaps and install weatherstripping to correct any issues.
3. Upgrade Light Switches to Dimmer Switches
Using less light powered by electricity is an easy way to cut utility costs. Consider installing dimmer switches in the areas of your home you spend the most time, and turn the lights on a low setting to conserve energy.
4. Install Ceiling Fans
While ceiling fans use electricity, the benefits of air circulation outweigh the electric usage. Run ceiling fans consistently to keep air distributed evenly throughout your home, making your HVAC system run more efficiently.
5. Enclose Your Crawlspace
One of the best ways to increase energy efficiency is by completely closing off your crawlspace with a service like Complete CrawlSpace. This could save you up to 18% on utility bills and offers other home-healthy benefits like mold growth prevention and pest control.
6. Keep Sunlight Out
While most of us love a lot of natural light coming into our homes, that sunlight heats up the house and makes HVAC systems work extra hard to keep it cool. During sunniest hours (12-4 ) keep curtains closed to cover windows or consider installing shutters, blinds or shades to help cut down on sunlight exposure.
7. Change HVAC Filter Once a Month
A lot of people forget to change their filter regularly which increases utility costs. Change your filter out about every 30 days to keep your HVAC system running efficiently.
8. Upgrade Your Appliances
While this will cost more out of pocket initially, the long term savings on energy bills will be worth the investment. Energy Star-rated appliances perform more efficiently, using less energy to perform the same functions as your old appliances. And you can always upgrade one at a time to spread the cost out over time!
9. Wash & Dry Better
When washing clothes or other laundry, use cold water cycles when possible and only wash full loads. If you’re using the dryer, make sure you clean the lint trap after every load; this maximizes your dryer’s efficiency so it doesn’t have to work as hard or long to dry laundry. It’s also a good idea to scrub the lint trap with soap water once every month or so to remove lint build-up. For even more energy savings, take advantage of the warm air outside and line dry your laundry instead of running the dryer.
10. Update Old Power Strips
Electronics in your home are using power (and increasing your utility bills!) even when they’re not being used. To avoid this, replace power strips with surge protectors that automatically turn off power to electronics or devices not in use.
If your home is anything like mine you have a high electric bill in the summer and a high gas bill in the winter. When one goes down, the other one goes up. Luckily, Northwest Exterminating offers services that can relieve some of those painful energy bills from the bottom of your house up.
Northwest’s Complete CrawlSpace system will not only soften those energy bills but it will improve the overall health of your home. Crawl spaces are often filled with moisture. Moisture leads to high levels of humidity which cause mold growth, pests, and energy loss. Energy loss may sound like a good thing but it actually causes your system to work harder leading to higher energy bills. Closing in your crawl space can control the amount of moisture, correcting the issues listed above and preventing them from happening in the future. This would give you a healthier, more energy efficient living environment that could save you up to 18% on utility bills.
Another way to save on energy bills is to properly insulate your attic. TAP attic insulation can reduce both your heating and cooling bills. When you have the recommended r-value (insulation’s resistance to heat flow) your insulation works more efficiently, meaning your heating and air isn’t working overtime to compensate. TAP attic insulation can save you up to 30% or more on your utility bills. Other benefits include: