How Does Water Get Into a Crawl Space?
Water in a crawl space is a serious problem.
Moisture in the area leads to mold growth and it wreaks havoc on the home’s building materials, eating away at the structure through dry rot. A wet space also invites insects and rodents to make a home in it. Keeping your crawl space dry and in good condition leads to a healthy and lasting home.
How does water get into a crawl space?
In the past, building codes have almost always required that homes use passive venting in crawl spaces, routing the air and moisture in the space to the outdoors. However, we now know that using this kind of system in warm, moist environments does the opposite: It actually encourages moisture to hang out in the area. That’s because the venting allows outside moisture to enter the crawl space. Eventually, that moisture makes its way into your home’s living areas, too, causing humidity levels to climb.
The Problem with a Damp Crawl Space
When the ground in your crawl space harbors moisture, its presence invites mildew into the area and encourages mold to grow. Mold and mildew affect the air quality of the space, and they will eventually seep out and circulate through the home’s main air supply. This happens because the air pressure between the crawl space and the areas in your home where you live differs. So the pressure forces the contaminants out of the crawl space and into your home. If you have the HVAC system installed in your basement or crawl space, the pressurization forces are even greater.
Worse, a wet crawl space means the ground underneath your home’s structure isn’t solid, leading to problems with the home’s foundation. When this happens, you’ll be forking over tons of cash to deal with the problem. In most cases, it pays to prevent crawl space problems and invest in remediation services like encapsulation.
What You Can Do About it
You can avoid problems like poor indoor air quality, a rotting structure and high humidity in the home.
Talk to a professional about your crawl space, assess how much damage has been done and discuss your options for repairing the space. If some of the structure is rotted, you’ll need to replace the wood. If mold is a problem, you’ll need to hire mold remediation services.
Building codes generally require that crawl spaces are sealed to prevent outside air from entering the space and insulated to stop heat from moving in or out of the area. In addition, a form of mechanical ventilation (like an exhaust fan) or conditioned air helps to keep the area dry and regulated, while floor drains can also help in some cases. Finally, a vapor barrier on the ground and up the walls of the space also helps to seal the moisture in the ground.
Don’t ignore the health of your crawl space – it could cost you in the end. Contact the Atlanta Metro area’s leading crawl space encapsulation provider, Reliable Heating & Air, for help. We provide heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical services to our neighbors throughout the region.