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.
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During the winter, the last thing you want to deal with is a cold home. With temperatures dropping as we approach the winter season, it’s important that your heating systems are ready and your home is prepared to weather the cold. If not, you could be dealing with cold air and high energy bills. Crawlspace enclosure this winter provides a solution to both problems that many homeowners face.
There are several benefits to enclosing your crawlspace. One that many look forward to is saving on their energy bill. The moisture in your crawlspace can affect the temperature inside the home, causing the HVAC unit or furnace to run longer to help keep your home warm, in return using more electricity. When you enclose your crawlspace, the moisture barrier acts as a sealant, which controls the moisture levels. This will ease the strain of your HVAC system to make your home more energy-efficient and save on energy bills.
Another great benefit of enclosing your crawlspace is preventing mold and odor. If left open, high moisture levels can cause mold and mildew growth, creating considerable damage to your home, posing a health risk to your family, and potentially causing an odor throughout your home. When your crawlspace is enclosed, the moisture barrier helps to reduce moisture, preventing mold and mildew from forming.
An unsealed crawlspace is an open invitation to pests and wildlife looking for shelter, food, and water. Once inside, these pests and nuisance wildlife can cause damage and present a health risk to your home and family. Once installed, the moisture barrier can help eliminate entry points for these pests to infest.
Consider calling your local pest control company for a crawlspace enclosure inspection and quote to stay warm and pest-free this winter!
Dealing with cold winter weather outside is bad enough; when the cold temperatures start creeping into your home it’s even worse. Heating systems work hard enough in the winter time to keep our homes warm and comfortable. Additional cold air seeping into your house leaves us with cold feet and higher energy bills.
Up to 50% of household air flows in from your crawlspace. An unenclosed crawlspace lets your heated or cooled air out and lets outdoor air in. This causes your heating and cooling systems to work overtime to compensate for this fluctuation in temperatures, causing you to still feel cold floors and inconsistent temps throughout the house. These units burn more energy leading to increased utility bills. This also puts more strain on the system leading to repairs and replacements sooner and more often.
Crawlspace enclosure is similar to adding a liner to your pool to avoid leaks. Water vapor enters your crawlspace from the ground and can even seep through cement. Increased moisture can cause a host of problems in your crawlspace and your home. Moisture attracts pests; degrades indoor air quality; provides the ideal condition for mold and mildew growth which leads to rot, warped floors, and structural damage. Adding a moisture barrier and dehumidifier is a great way to help keep the moisture out of your crawlspace.
Some common reasons people enclose their crawlspace include:
- Presence of mold
- Presence of mildew
- Musty smell
- Soft or separating floors
- Increased heating and cooling costs
- Wet insulation
- Condensation on windows
- Pest problems
- Improved air quality in the home
- Keeps pests and wood destroying insects out
- Creates more comfortable living conditions
- Eliminates moisture which decreases fungus and mold and prevents structural damage
- Increases energy efficiency
- More consistent temperatures
- Less wear and tear on heating and cooling systems
There are two main disadvantages to crawlspace enclosure. The first is the initial cost of installation. While there is a somewhat pricey initial fee for installation, the savings in energy bills and pest control costs over the long term offset these costs. The second disadvantage is improper installation. Whether doing it yourself or using a professional, improper installation or faulty materials do occur. The most common signs of improper installation include:
- Odors. When the liner is not properly taped or inadequate materials are used, moisture can get into the crawlspace leading to mold and mildew.
- Moisture. This can also be caused by improper taping. Common signs of moisture in the crawlspace after installation include damp or musty odors, constant running of the dehumidifier, and flooding.
Once you have your crawlspace enclosed, it is important to continually inspect it to make sure tears or other damage have occurred. It is recommended that the crawlspace be inspected at least once per year but preferably twice per year. Many homeowners time their crawlspace enclosure inspection to coincide with their annual termite inspection. It is important to check the crawlspace for moisture levels (there should be no humidity, condensation, or standing water); signs of mold or rot (including loose joists, damage to support beams and air ducts, or visible mold present); and signs of rodents or pest activity (including droppings and chew marks).
While crawlspace enclosure can be a DIY project, it is recommended that installation be done by a professional. This not only helps ensure quality materials and appropriate techniques are used but also guarantees repairs and replacement in the event there are issues. Contact your local pest control company for a crawlspace enclosure quote.
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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.
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!
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.