Your crawl space is often a forgotten part of your home but it still needs some TLC. If left neglected, moisture could cause a lot of problems including wood rot, mildew and mold growth, and damage to insulation. This can lead to bad air quality in the home, structural issues, and a higher bill for heating and cooling costs if the insulation is damaged. Here are some ways to manage humidity levels and dry out your crawl space.
- Repair leaks – before you can dry out the crawl space, it is important to determine where the source of the moisture is coming from.
If you notice moisture, but not a large puddle, it could be from uninsulated pipes. When cold water runs, it can create condensation on the outside of the pipe, and that moisture is now in your crawl space. A quick fix that will stop condensation and protect your pipes from freezing in the winter is to insulate them. It is inexpensive and something you can install on your own.
If you notice large puddles of standing water, this could be coming from cracks in your crawl space walls. Check the walls thoroughly to see if you have any cracks. Small cracks may seem like a quick fix you can do yourself, but you need to call in a professional. These could be signs of a bigger foundational problem and hiring a foundational specialist to inspect the crawl space is the way to go.
Another cause of standing water could be coming from leaks in your plumbing lines. Whether they are happening in the crawl space, or somewhere else and then dripping into it, they need to be fixed immediately. Standing water is something that should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
You should also keep your outdoor drainage system in mind – your gutters, a French drain, or anything like that. If they become clogged or backed up, that can lead to water pooling in your crawl space. Clearing out gutters and checking your drainage system periodically is great for your crawl space, your foundation, and the overall health of your home.
- Dry out the space – once you’ve identified and fixed the causes of moisture getting into the space, it is time to dry things out. Using a wet vac or a pump are both great options. If there is a significant amount of standing water it might be a good idea to call in a professional to help you out.
Now that the space no longer has water sitting in it, it is time to deal with the moisture and humidity. In order to prevent mold or mildew growth, it is best to do this as quickly as possible. Get rid of any old insulation because it probably has moisture in it. Remove that and upgrade to a waterproof option. If you do have any mold or mildew, hire a professional to remove it. This will also prevent insects from coming in to eat the mildew. Rodent and insect droppings are gross and unsanitary so hiring someone to deal with this could be your best bet.
- Keep out moisture – vapor barriers, dehumidifiers, and sealing vents. Now that standing water is gone and anything holding moisture has been removed, let’s make a plan to keep out the humidity for good.
Installing a vapor barrier is a great option to keep out moisture. It isn’t just for the walls, it also covers the floor. When it rains, water can be absorbed into the ground, and then it evaporates up into the crawl space, contributing to moisture and humidity issues. A vapor barrier creates a nice seal so that the inside stays dry, no matter what the weather. Make sure the barrier isn’t too thin, because it can easily tear. You should have a material that is at least 20 millimeters thick.
Dehumidifiers are a great way to regulate the humidity in your crawl space. It helps to combat moisture from creeping its way back in. While some do not need a dehumidifier, the MidAtlantic is notoriously humid, so talking to a professional to decide if you need one is a good idea. You should also keep in mind that regular home dehumidifiers aren’t really made for crawl space use, so you should ask for recommendations on what size and style would suit your needs.
The crawl space is not a glamorous part of your home but it is definitely an important one that should not be neglected. Keeping it dry and at the proper level of humidity is key to the health of your home. Get in touch with Tidewater Home Improvement to schedule an assessment of your crawl space today.