In 2018, homeowners across America spent a staggering $394 billion on home improvement projects. A number of these projects typically cover solving issues in the crawl space.
As the crawl space impacts the rest of the airflow in your home, you must avoid any humidity that might build up within the space.
Here’s a brief guide to help you better tackle crawl space moisture control in your home.
How Does Moisture Enter a Crawl Space?
If you want to have a more holistic understanding of the need for crawl space moisture control, you first need to grasp how moisture seeps in.
1. A Plumbing Leak
The first thing that likely comes to mind when you think of water on your crawl space is leaks from your plumbing. Many of your supply and drain pipes will run through your crawl space and leak once in a while.
In some cases, an air conditioner condensate pipe that passes through the lower section of the crawl space can be prone to damage.
Due to infrequent checks on such lines, any leaks can continue unabated for a long time. That’s even more so when a pipe doesn’t leak into plastic but rather the dirt or gravel.
2. Foundation Walls
Sometimes, moisture can enter your crawl space from the area outside your property by migrating via the foundation walls.
If there is any wet soil outside your crawl space, moisture can creep right through. That’s because few spaces have exterior perimeter drains or damp-proofing.
Additionally, if you don’t have gutters in your house, then rainwater won’t be directed away from your property. Same thing for downspouts that fail to move water away from the house.
As a result, the water in the yard will ultimately move towards the house and permeate your crawl space.
3. Crawl Space Foundation Vents
The point behind vents in your crawl space is to dry out the area. However, due to water vapor in the air, the opposite can occur.
When outdoor air passes through the vents, it can raise the humidity inside the crawl space. In turn, that creates moisture that clings to the area. Such instances are especially prevalent during the summer months.
4. Uncovered Soil
Uncovered soil in the crawl space tends to be a hidden source of moisture that homeowners can underestimate.
Any time you have uncovered soil in your crawl space, it allows moisture to evaporate into the air inside it. Over time, there will be a build-up that dampens your area.
Fortunately, these days a vapor barrier can help you keep this at bay. When you don’t install such a barrier, you slowly begin accumulating moisture over the years.
How to Dry out a Moist Crawl Space
Once you realize how moisture is creeping into your crawl space, you can assess the extent of the damage and the best way to eliminate it. Some ideas here include:
Removing Moisture From the Materials in the Crawl Space
Using a dehumidifier, you can dry out the wood frames, the crawl space floor area, and the subfloor overhead.
How quickly a dehumidifier will eliminate present moisture will depend on its size as that dictates the number of quarts of water it can evacuate hourly.
Furthermore, the humidifier’s cooling capacity is critical to determining the speed at which you can dry the space.
When you begin drying out the area using this method, you can strategically place several fans for more airflow over the wet surfaces.
Your dehumidifier’s output drain will need a direct connection to a floor drain. Alternatively, you can drain the water outside the house, but that has to be at least ten feet away to avoid seeping back into a crawl space.
Be careful not to begin running any air moving equipment if you suspect the crawl space is contaminated. Pollutants such as mold and asbestos must first be eliminated to make the air safe.
Prevent Moisture From Entering Your Crawlspace Again
Once you dry out the area, you need to take preventative measures to keep moisture at bay in the future. You can do this through:
1. Repairing Plumbing Problems
Several issues with your plumbing can cause moisture to enter the crawl space.
Inspect your plumbing to identify any leaks that might be directly dripping water into the crawl space. Don’t forget to assess the plumbing system in the upper part of your house to detect any leaks that can encourage moisture build-up.
2. Pipe Insulation
As pipes in your house conduct cold water, they can cause moisture to build up. Due to the cooling effect, droplets can form on the exterior of any exposed piping.
To avoid this, you need to insulate your piping. The material covering the pipes will prevent condensation present on the pipe from evaporating into the air surrounding the pipe.
3. Look for Cracks in the Foundation
The foundation is critical in influencing the level of moisture in your crawl space. If there are any cracks, water from outside is likely going to seep into the space.
Furthermore, the soil around the crawl space area can be wet, and any cracks in your foundation tend to allow the moisture to permeate within.
Thus, you need to hire a professional to conduct a thorough inspection of your foundation for any cracks. While you may try to do it yourself, there are small cracks that are difficult for an untrained eye to spot but yet allow moisture into your crawl space.
In addition, you need to make such inspections regular even if there are presently no cracks. Doing so helps you uncover cracks as soon as they happen so you can get ahead of them and avoid building up the moisture in the crawl space.
Keep Your Eye on Crawl Space Moisture Control
Your crawl space significantly affects the quality of air in the rest of the house, directly impacting your health. Thus, it would be best if you carried out crawl space moisture control regularly. Such a plan gives you the capacity to detect any moisture seeping into the space early and nip it in the bud.
Are you a homeowner looking for ideas on how to maintain your home? Check out more of our articles for insightful tips to help you take care of your significant investment.