What to Know About Your Crawl Space
Is your crawl space the creepy, dark and damp type full of spiders and all sorts of other insects, or worse…rodents?
Maybe your crawl space has some room and you store personal belongings or yard tools in it. But, do you ever go much farther than just the crawl space entry door?
What is the Purpose of a Crawl Space?
Let’s start from the beginning. For decades home builders connect your crawl space to the outside by installing foundation vents. This was done to evacuate the ground moisture produced by the exposed dirt floor of the crawl space. Unfortunately, builder never took the damp air from rainy days, humid summer air, or even the cold air into consideration. These types of air enter into the space at different times during the year and results in Stack Effect. All of this air and the byproducts of the high moisture content flow upward into your home.
Causes of Crawl Space Moisture Buildup
In metro Atlanta, with our extremely high humidity levels, the warm wet air hits cooler surfaces under your home. The air condenses and creates moisture, as well as increasing the relative humidity, within the space. These two processes, combined with the natural production of water vapor from the exposed dirt under your home, create a damp environment. Plus, if you have drainage problems you may even be taking on more water from rain run-off. The drainage issues exponentially increase the water vapor levels, which may ultimately destroy your home.
The moisture that collects underneath your home undermines the integrity of your foundation walls and wood framing members. When your floor joist and sub floor reach moisture levels of 16% or more, wood rot concerns are elevated. Moisture levels of 18% or higher can cause structural damage. Additionally, the elevated moisture level spur mold growth. These mold spores can become airborne and enter your home through many different places. In particular, the spores enter your heating and air conditioning system. Plus, if the spores find damp areas in your home, like a poorly ventilated bathroom, growth will occur in these areas as well.
Moisture combined with dark areas creates a breeding ground for all types of insects. And insects attract spiders. And spiders attract rodents, which bring a host of other problems.
Crawl Space Problems Lead to Indoor Air Quality Issues
Those same tiny holes and crevasses allow cold or warm air from your crawl space into your home. The air from your crawl space may contain various airborne particles, such as mold spores, bacteria, VOCs, and allergens. These particles mix with your conditioned air as it circulates throughout your entire home. If you have HVAC ductwork, equipment or both, this contaminated air will find its way into your conditioned air system and spread throughout your house. As a result, your home possibly experiences air quality issues.
In fact, studies have shown that anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the air on the first floor derives from your crawl space. This can be especially harmful to babies, young kids and the elderly.
Not only will this nasty contaminated air affect your health, but it will also increase your power bills. The air infiltration from your crawl space is the first process of stack effect, which increases the run times of your heating and air system by more than 30%. In some cases of leaky homes, the run times could increase closer to 60%.
Do I Have a Crawl Space Issue?
How to tell if your crawl space may have an issue:
- Standing water in parts of your crawl space.
- Water stains on your foundation wall.
- Sagging or low hanging insulation from the floor joists (moisture collects on insulation weighing it down causing it to fall or sag).
- Mold growth on your wood structure or any items that are stored under the home.
- Mold in the living space of home.
- Buckling hardwood floors.
- Aggravated asthma and allergies.
Why Fix Your Crawl Space?
These are just a few of the many symptoms of moisture problems caused by a dirty crawl space. If you have concerns you should give us a call for a free inspection to determine the condition of your home. We offer many different solutions for all budgets to remedy any issues you may have. A crawl space encapsulation provides many benefits for your home and family including:
- Cleaner safer air in your living space.
- Eliminating pest and rodent problems in your home.
- 15-20% reduction in your heating and cooling bills.
- Extending the life of your structure and appliances in the crawl space.
- Increased resale value.
- Cleaner more useable storage space.
- A piece of mind and different perspective of the space beneath your home.
Contact Snappy Services at 770-321-3433 to schedule your FREE crawl space evaluation, mention this article and get $250 off any encapsulation packages we offer!