A crawl space is a popular type of foundation among homeowners and it is no wonder why. It costs much less than a basement, and yet you still end up with extra storage space. In addition, it is ideal for building houses on uneven terrain. Unfortunately, a crawl space also has its downsides and one of the more serious ones is its tendency to develop moisture issues.
If you live in an extremely humid area, keeping humidity levels in your crawl space under control may seem like an impossible mission. On the other hand, all that moisture will keep causing you problems and affecting your quality of life.
For instance, mold thrives in moist conditions. It cannot feed without moisture and it needs it to survive. Mold spreads by releasing airborne spores, so it can quickly contaminate your entire home. Since it eats high cellulose materials such as wood, it can easily thrive in your humid crawl space.
The problem with mold is that it can cause health problems. Being in a moldy space can lead to a runny nose, congestion, eye irritation, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, rash, and lung irritation. In case you have respiratory problems such as allergies, asthma, or a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, you are more likely to develop complications. If you have asthma, keep in mind that mold can cause an attack.
What Leads to High Humidity Levels in a Crawl Space?
If you live in an extremely humid area, increased humidity levels in your crawl space will be no surprise. However, other things can cause this problem as well.
Water accumulation: If your drainage system gets clogged or you experience a plumbing leak, your crawl space can quickly become covered in standing water. Naturally, this water will increase humidity levels and might trigger mold growth and rot. What is even worse, standing water can weaken your structural wood and eventually compromise the structural integrity of your home. This is why a flooded crawl space should be dried out as quickly as possible.
Moisture from the soil: When it rains in Kansas City, MO, rainwater saturates the soil around your home. When the moisture begins to evaporate from the ground, it fills up your crawl space. Covering the dirt floor with a vapor barrier can help avoid this problem.
Humid air coming in through the vents: Does your home have crawl space vents? Many homes do because, several decades ago, it was believed that crawl space vents were an answer to humidity issues. However, it was found that these vents caused more harm than good. They are responsible for letting moisture-laden air into the crawl space. If you live in a highly humid area, these vents need to be sealed.
Preventing Crawl Space Mold
Maintaining a dry crawl space in a very humid area is tricky, but far from impossible. With suitable waterproofing methods, you can finally manage to keep your crawl space dry and get rid of nasty mold problems.
Crawl Space Encapsulation
A moisture barrier can mitigate crawl space moisture and prevent it from entering your foundation through the dirt floor or your porous concrete walls. This barrier can quickly turn your dusty and messy crawl space into a clean area suitable for storing your belongings. In addition, this barrier can help mitigate any radon problems. Of course, it shouldn’t be your only line of defense against radon problems, but it can help lower its levels in your home to a much more acceptable level. By laying down a moisture barrier, you will not only prevent mold, but will also save money on utilities, keep pests away from the crawl space, and seal away nasty odors.
Installing Vent Covers
Covering your crawl space vents can benefit your home in several ways. One of the most obvious benefits is that high-quality covers will help prevent humidity, mold, and pests from getting into your crawl space. These will also keep the rain out, stabilize your crawl space climate and keep your foundation clean, dry, and safe. These covers will show their full potential when paired with other waterproofing solutions such as a moisture barrier and a dehumidifier.
Installing a Sump Pump
Every home that is in a humid area could benefit from a sump pump. After all, moisture is not just present in the air, but in the soil as well.
When water accumulates below your home, it threatens to flood your foundation. Luckily, with a sump pump, you can avert this problem.
This device is placed into a sump pit. The purpose of the sump pit is to collect the water from the soil that is threatening to flood your crawl space. When there is enough water in the basin, the pump activates and directs that water away from your home, where it can cause no harm.
Since standing water can drastically increase humidity in your crawl space and lead to mold issues, this is a great way to keep your foundation mold-free.
When you have encapsulated your crawl space, installing a dehumidifier is the last step you need to take to protect your crawl space from mold infestation. This appliance will keep humidity levels in your crawl space under control, preventing mold growth. However, you do not need just any dehumidifier. Instead of getting one in your local store, contact your local contractor and ask them to install a professional one. This way you will ensure that your dehumidifier has the power to dry out your entire crawl space.
If you wish to waterproof your crawl space and keep your home mold-free, please contact Foundation Recovery Systems and schedule a free inspection and quote.