Your crawl space is an area that often takes the lion’s share of the blame when moisture, mold spores, or pests invade your home — and rightly so, as it always stays exposed. Air flows in and out day and night. When you seal this space, you can avert moisture problems and other unpleasant effects like mold, cold surfaces, and wood rot, which can lead to structural failure.
We all want to spend quality time indoors, breathe easy, and feel comfortable. But nature sometimes conspires with the crawl space to make life difficult — and more so if the crawl space is vented and not encapsulated. Let’s look at how condensation affects your crawl space and what you can do to tame it.
Crawl Space Condensation in Summer
Are you wondering how the moisture droplets on your crawl space walls or the water puddle on the floor got in on a hot summer day? Simple. Warm, moist summer air gets in and comes into contact with cold surfaces, which brings the temperatures down to dew point. At this point, air gives up its moisture. Think of what happens when you remove a bottle of water from your refrigerator. Water beads start forming slowly on the surface. It’s the same thing that happens in your crawl space. Over time, condensation will create a damp environment. Your wooden beams and joints will also become damp, and mold will start growing.
Moisture Issues and Problems
Now that you know the heat doesn’t hurt your home, you should focus your attention to the humid air from the outside. It’s going to instigate many problems that may force you to carry out repairs.
The first headache is mold, a dangerous microorganism that releases toxic spores. Black mold is harmful, but so are the other strains. Perhaps you didn’t know this. Mold will attract pests and nourish them. If you see mold, just know insects and mites aren’t far off.
The outside air doesn’t just carry moisture. It also carries pollutants, allergens, dander, mold spores, and many microparticles that can hurt your lungs and health. Prolonged exposure may lead to asthma and other respiratory problems.
Moisture invasion won’t end condensation. It’s also going to ruin your fiberglass insulation and stop it from keeping your crawl space warm. Once this material starts getting wet, it will sag and finally fall down when it can no longer hold the water.
Let’s not forget what happens to your wooden beams or joists when moisture levels go up. These supporting structures will start rotting. With time, they won’t be able to hold the weight of your home, leading to structural failure.
Protecting Your Crawl Space in Summer
Summer heat isn’t a threat to your crawl space or home. Soaring moisture, mold, pests, and crawling insects are real threats. If you can control moisture and make the environment less hospitable for pests and mold, you will have a dry and healthy crawl space.
We encourage you to seal all the vents that let air and insects into the crawl space. They’re probably the weakest link in your quest to create a dry, mold-free crawl space. As long as vents remain, there’s no way you’ll be able to control moisture from the outside.
The next thing you should do is install rigid panels like ExTremeBloc™ on the crawl space walls to better insulate the area. These panels are waterproof and treated to resist pests like termites, unlike typical fiberglass insulation.
The next step is sealing the crawl space with a 20-mil plastic vapor barrier like CrawlSeal™. This plastic material goes over the floor and walls, leaving about three inches for termite inspection. The wonderful thing about encapsulation is it locks out destructive moisture and makes it more difficult for pests to come inside.
Outside air can increase relative humidity tremendously. For every degree the temperature drops, the relative humidity rises by 2.2%. Let’s say the outside temperature is 80 degrees while the crawl space is 60 degrees. You will experience a 44% jump in relative humidity. That’s bad news. Here’s the good news. You can bring down humidity levels by drying out the crawl space air.
An energy-efficient dehumidifier will come in handy for this purpose. Lucky for you, there are many ways of dealing with potential moisture in the crawl space of your Kansas City, MO, home. You can undertake crawl space encapsulation, install a dehumidifier, invest in better insulation, and more. Foundation Recovery Systems can help you reclaim the below-ground space with a free crawl space repair inspection and quote.