A great way to control the humidity in your crawl space and avoid moisture damage is by installing a crawl space dehumidifier.
With all of the dehumidifier options on the market, choosing the best one for you can sometimes seem overwhelming. How large of a unit will you need? What kind of options make for a low-maintenance, high-functioning design? These are all questions that our waterproofing experts are happy to answer for you. At Foundation Recovery Systems, we only offer the most high-quality products on the market, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your crawl space is protected.
If you’d like a free crawl space dehumidifier inspection, call or e-mail us today! We serve throughout all of central Missouri and Eastern Kansas, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, Moberly, and Springfield.
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Eliminate damp, musty odors in your crawl space once and for all by drying and filtering the air! We can help you choose and install the best dehumidifier for your home. Here are some tips for our dehumidifiers:
Seal Your Crawl Space from Outside Air
In the moisture control business, all too often we see crawl space dehumidifiers set up like the one shown on the right. Notice the cans underneath the legs? Those were placed there to keep the dehumidifier above the floodwater line. This poor dehumidifier doesn’t stand a chance! Two-foot floods aside, this system is up against a vented crawl space. As soon as it dries the air, new outside air is there to replace it, and it will never keep up. Your unit can’t possibly work in a vented space, no matter how powerful it is. What a dehumidifier will do in a vented crawl space is run continuously, costing you a bundle in utility bills. Before trying to dehumidify the space, install a crawl space sump pump if you ever have standing water in the space. You should also seal off the vents, and install a crawl space vapor barrier. This will limit the new air reaching your system and will give your dehumidifier a chance to dry the space.
Crawl Space Dehumidifiers
Crawl space dehumidifiers are similar to full-house dehumidifiers, but there are a few key differences between the products.
Crawl Space Dehumidifiers Versus Household Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers, in general, pull unwanted moisture out of your air. That water will transform from a gas into a liquid courtesy of a system of coolant and piping, and it will be stored in a container you can remove from your home as you please. While a dehumidifier might not prove the most effective waterproofing measure if you’re faced with flooding on a regular basis, they can help you get ahead of potential foundation damage while also lowering your risk of leaking pipes, not to mention your electric bill.
Crawl space dehumidifiers, however, are often more heavy-duty than all-house dehumidifiers. These dehumidifiers run larger than their all-house peers because they are designed to withstand battering from the elements as well as from any excess moisture that may try and make its way into your home. You should not try to install an all-house dehumidifier in your crawl space, as the workload will overwhelm it at a far more rapid rate than the moisture in the upper levels of your home would.
Crawl Space Dehumidifiers as Waterproofing Measures
As mentioned, crawl space dehumidifiers help eliminate some of the unwanted moisture in your crawl space. That said, dehumidifiers on their own may not always serve as perfect waterproofing solutions. Unless you have a self-draining unit, which we recommend, you’ll need to empty your dehumidifier on a regular basis if you want it to continue functioning as normal. You may also want to pair your dehumidifier with a vapor barrier or crawl space encapsulation if you want it to work more effectively. When paired with other home waterproofing measures, dehumidifiers live longer and tend to protect your sensitive crawl space more effectively.
In short, you’ll want to consider just how much moisture you’re seeing throughout your home before you install a crawl space dehumidifier. If, for example, you’re contending with flash flooding on a regular basis, you may want a home waterproofing measure that’s more suitable like interior drainage and a sump pump. Note that it will be in your best interest to invest in any necessary crawl space or foundation repairs before you go installing any manner of crawl space waterproofing measure, a dehumidifier included.
Your crawl space doesn’t take up a significant percentage of your home’s square footage. Why is it so important to keep this space as water-free as possible?
Crawl Space Water Damage and Your Home’s Market Value
Water that makes its way into your crawl space, be it in the form of gaseous moisture or flooding, has an immediate and detrimental impact on the structural integrity of your home’s supports. Wooden and metal supports alike can absorb this moisture and begin to show signs of wear and tear. Before long, you may find yourself contending with sagging floors, bowing walls, and a foundation that’s fallen out of alignment. Not only is this unpleasant to live through—despite the slow pace at which this damage appears—but it can also spell disaster for the overall market value of your home.
The realtors you work with to list your home, should you eventually want to sell it, will have to note in your listing that your home has fallen victim to crawl space damage. If you have not made a point to repair this damage, you risk losing up to 30 percent of your home’s market value. You can instead take the time and money to repair a damaged crawl space and install a waterproofing measure like a crawl space dehumidifier if you want to better retain your home’s value. Put another way, that upfront cost may end up saving you a significant sum of money in the long run.
Water Damage and Your Family’s Health
The impact crawl space water damage has on your home’s property value is one thing. The impact it has on your family’s health while you’re living in the space is another. Your home’s unwanted moisture can aggravate some residents’ pre-existing conditions, eliciting allergic reactions or respiratory issues. Even residents without pre-existing conditions can start to develop allergies or related conditions if exposed to high levels of humidity for an extended period of time.
Increased humidity levels can also make it easier for mold to take root in your home. Molds of all types tend to exacerbate any health conditions that you might already be contending with. That said, you’ll first start to notice problems with your respiratory system if a toxic mold has taken root in your home. Some of the most common early signs you’ll want to look out for include:
- Sore throat
- Skin irritation
The longer you let mold live in your home, the more severe its impact on your family’s health can become. Residents who’ve been exposed to toxic molds for more than a month may have to contend with health problems ranging from a persistent cough to long-term lung damage.
When you start looking for a dehumidifier to place in your crawl space, you’ll want to know that you’ve invested in a system that can not only pull moisture from the air but that can work with any other waterproofing measures you have in place to reduce the risk of mold and structural damage throughout your home. If you’re not sure where to start when shopping for a dehumidifier, you can collaborate with a professional contractor working in your area. Together, you can inspect your crawl space for signs of damage and, in turn, determine how large and how powerful you might need a stationary dehumidifier to be.
What to Look for In A Crawl Space Dehumidifier
To determine what dehumidifier might suit you best, you’ll want to take the state of your crawl space into account. Do you have a finished crawl space with a floor and ceiling, or are you working with a space that’s a little more rustic? How out of the way is your crawl space compared to the parts of your home that you frequent?
If your space is well insulated, you may be able to invest in a dehumidifier that’s a little louder than your average unit. Comparatively, if your crawl space is right beneath your kitchen, a louder dehumidifier might shake your floor and make it unpleasant to use the room in question.
When Size Matters
You’ll also want to take this time to determine how large you want your dehumidifier to be. Small dehumidifiers, for example, tend to work well in smaller crawl spaces but poorly in finished basements. These dehumidifiers can pull up to 35 pints of moisture from the air at a time.
If you live in an area that sees a significant amount of rain over the course of a month, note that you may have to empty a smaller dehumidifier more often than a larger unit. However, these smaller units may be more affordable than the larger units used in finished basements.
It is often best to leave the installation of your new crawl space dehumidifier to area professionals. That said, you can expect those professionals to take the following steps during the installation process:
Step 1: Choosing Your Location
First and foremost, professionals need to determine where in your crawl space a dehumidifier will best serve. Much of this depends on the shape of your crawl space. While each home varies, most crawl spaces see one of the following arrangements:
- U-Shaped: Place your dehumidifier over the entrance to your crawl space where it cannot be accessed by standing water. Then, use ducting to bring air currents down on either side of your entrance to better control moisture throughout the whole of the space.
- Rectangular: If you have a rectangular crawl space, you can place a dehumidifier at either end and use ducting to circulate the push and pull of air.
- Divided: Ductwork can extend your dehumidifier’s exhaust in between the divisions of your crawl space, with the dehumidifier itself elevated off the ground in one or the other parts.
As long as the dehumidifier is away from low-grade parts of your crawl space and is unlikely to come into contact with standing water, it should be able to safely do its job.
Step 2: Installing a Ducting Kit
Optionally, you can talk to the professionals in your area about installing a ducting kit. A ducting kit helps direct the push and pull of air currents from your dehumidifier throughout the rest of your crawl space.
While you do not have to install a ducting kit in your crawl space, you should at least consider ensuring that your vents are appropriately sealed and you’ve installed any other waterproofing measures you may be interested in. The sooner you can create a compressed space within your crawl space, the healthier your home is going to be.
Step 3: Monitoring Your Home’s Humidity
Finally, with your dehumidifier up and running and any other home protective measures put into place, both you and the professionals in your area can keep track of the humidity levels throughout your home. Ideally, you’ll want these levels between 50 and 60 percent. You can use a wireless hygrometer to track the degree of humidity in your crawl space without having to wiggle your way in on a regular basis. As long as you don’t notice any spikes, you should be able to rest comfortably knowing that your dehumidifier is doing its job.
DIY Versus Professional Assistance
You may be tempted, when faced with the prospect of installing a crawl space dehumidifier, to try and take on that installation process alone. Unfortunately, trying to install a dehumidifier or otherwise attend to any damage that your crawl space may have taken on over the years is more than just difficult for someone without experience—it can also be dangerous.
DIY projects involving comprehensive crawl space repair are often far more expensive than you anticipate they’re going to be. Waterproofing your crawl space with a crawl space dehumidifier, for example, may require you to purchase not only unique materials but special tools as well. Comparatively, professional teams already have the tools they need to install your waterproofing measures on hand. They can also often procure any necessary materials for less than market cost courtesy of partnerships with industry-trusted manufacturers. Not only that, but you risk making mistakes while trying to waterproof your own crawl space. If you’re not sure what you’re doing in the midst of a dehumidifier installation, it’s possible for you to not only damage the dehumidifier but do significant structural damage to the whole of your crawl space.
Finding Professional Contractors in Your Area
If you want to invest in a crawl space dehumidifier, then the professionals in your area can help. A team of contractors can inspect your home for signs of crawl space damage on an annual basis. If it looks like your home may benefit from the presence of a crawl space dehumidifier or any other available home waterproofing measures, you can request a free quote detailing the potential cost of any necessary repair or installation services. The sooner you’re able to protect your home from unwanted moisture, the better off your property and your family are going to be.
Install A Self-Draining Dehumidifier
Once you’ve installed your crawl space dehumidifier, you’re probably not going to want to think about it again. However, if that dehumidifier includes a water collection tray, your dehumidifier may be full to capacity and shut off automatically in as little as 12 hours. Who wants to go into their crawl space every day to empty a collection tray? Even in a clean, well-maintained space, it’s a chore most people would pass on if they could. Our Foundation Recovery Systems dehumidifier has got you covered. With a self-draining design, it can remove up to 95 pints of water per day in your crawl space without ever needing to have its collection tray emptied. It can empty to a sump pump, drywell, or a special condensation pump can be added to discharge the water outside.
Find A Powerful Dehumidifier
If you have a dehumidifier in your crawl space and the area is still damp, musty, and moldy, then you can make an obvious conclusion: it’s not doing its job. The answer is not to buy a second dehumidifier! Twice the units mean twice the noise and electricity used, and often does not even dry your crawl space.
The Foundation Recovery Systems dehumidifier is a crawl space dehumidifier that’s strong enough for the job! An adjustable knob lets you decide how dry you want your crawl space – just set it and forget it!
Make Sure It’s Energy Efficient
Typical hardware store dehumidifiers can really tank up on energy usage! In many cases, these systems can cost you 11 cents or more to remove a single pint of water. Hardware store systems simply don’t have a large enough cold coil space to efficiently remove water from the air. Small coils mean the system works harder, which means you pay more to run an inferior dehumidifier.
Our Foundation Recovery Systems dehumidifier crawl space dehumidifier has a unique heat exchange system that helps it achieve an ENERGY STAR® rating! Install a warrantied Foundation Recovery Systems dehumidifier system in your crawl space! This innovative system is ideal for helping to keep your crawl space or basement warm, dry, and mold-free! A Foundation Recovery Systems dehumidifier can be installed in your home quickly and includes a written warranty. Let us help you dry your crawl space.