Humidity levels are rising (and staying up) all over the world due to climate change and, more locally, all of the spring rain on the way is certainly going to bring its own humidity. The combination of warmer spring and summer temperatures plus the already higher humidity levels can wreak havoc on vented, dirt crawl spaces. If you have a crawl space in your home that is not sealed, there are some signs to look out for and plenty of solutions to create a safe home.
Symptoms to Look For
1. Damp or Musty Smells
2. Wall Moisture
3. Groundwater Seepage or Standing Water
4. High Relative Humidity
5. Multitude of Insects or Critters
6. Mold Spore Growth on Wooden Floor Joists (roof of the crawl space)
7. Soggy or Sagging Wooden Floor Joists (roof of the crawl space)
Causes of Crawl Space Issues
- Standing Water
- Moisture Evaporating from the Ground
- Outdoor Air Infiltrating Through Vents
Crawl Space Fixes
Install Airtight Doors & Vent Covers
Sealing your crawl space doors and vents will prevent moisture issues due to humidity, as well as lost energy from cold air entering from outside air. However, sealing the space will not prevent all water from entering your crawl space.
Remove Standing Water
Obviously, standing water isn't normal. So, the next step is to eliminate any sources of flood water by installing a crawl space drain and sump pump system. While this system keeps the space safe from bulk water, moisture from water vapor can still enter through the concrete and floor. An effective crawl space water vapor system is the best way to prevent moisture coming through and causing mold and rot.
Repair the Structure
If the roof of your crawl space is sagging that means your floors above are too -- this is damage from prolonged mold and rot. The way to correct this is to install crawl space support jacks to aid in restoring your home's structure. You will have even and structurally safe upstairs flooring as well.
Encapsulate & Insulate the Crawl Space
Porous concrete walls and floors will still pass moisture, in order to prevent this the crawl space needs encapsulation with a crawl space liner (moisture barrier). A durable liner allows for servicemen to use the space without damage while transforming your crawl space into usable storage space. This is also the best time to install crawl space insulation on your walls or floors to keep your home's energy bills down and keep a comfortable temperature year-round.
Install A Dehumidifier
Installing an energy efficient, self-draining crawl space dehumidifier ensures that your space stays dry, protected from mold, dust mites, and mildew damage permanently. It is important to note that a dehumidifier will not solve all moisture problems alone, the crawl space needs to be sealed from outside air beforehand.