Wet winter weather can be utterly disastrous to homes that have unsealed crawl spaces. Flooding, wood rot, mold and mildew growth, as well as pest infestations and nesting rodents, are common in homes that are unaccustomed to such damp winters. There are some steps that homeowners can take to prepare their homes, however, the most significant would be to install a vapor barrier in the crawl space.
Winter's Effects On Your Crawl Space
A major problem in crawl spaces that have dirt, gravel, or sand floors is the wet conditions outside produce extremely wet soil and penetrate the crawl space. The moisture in the soil evaporates into the crawl space through the exposed ground, which creates a number of serious problems. The best way to prevent and avoid the following issues is to install a vapor barrier.
Humidity vs. Cold Air
Balanced humidity is essential to a safe crawl space. However, when a crawl space is left unsealed the moisture from outside and the heat from your furnace or heater begin to battle the cold air flowing through open vents. The moisture gradually becomes more humid. The contrasting indoor and outdoor temperatures cause water in the air to condense and form thousands of water droplets all over. Your home may feel dry but your crawl space is just as wet as the ground outside.
Consequences of Condensation
Mold and mildew, wood rot, and damaged insulation are all dangerous and expensive issues due to humidity and condensation. If the winter is especially wet, you may see a very rapid growth of mold colonies and spreading fungi. Unfortunately, because heat travels up, a majority of the air you and your family breathe comes from the crawl space. Not to mention air leakage drastically increases your energy costs as you crank up the heat.