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5 common crawlspace problems and how to prevent them

Posted by Gabriela Jager on

 

crawlspace

 

As a homeowner you probably rarely give much thought to what's right underneath your feet. But you should. Particularly if you have a crawlspace and you live in a high-moisture coastal region like Charleston SC, Myrtle Beach, SC or Savannah, GA. These coastal regions are humid and prone to flooding. Protecting your crawlspace from these 5 common issues can make your home more energy efficient, improve the value of your home and save you thousands of dollars in costly repairs to your home in the long run.  

A crawlspace is basically the area between the ground and the first floor. It's usually between 1 - 3 feet high (just high enough for someone to crawl through it). A crawlspace typically contains the structural foundation of your home, insulation, duct work, plumbing, and electrical wiring. It separates your sub-floor from the ground and provides access for repairs. Having a crawlspace can be a good thing, however, simply ignoring or neglecting your crawlspace can affect the structural integrity of your home, reduce energy efficiency and even affect the indoor air quality of home! It is very important to keep your crawlspace as clean and dry as possible. Without proper care and over time, a crawlspace can accumulate mold, termites and potentially even rodents and cockroachesHere are some common issues that can affect your crawlspace.

 

water

Flooding or standing water in your crawl space

Water can enter your crawl space from a variety of sources including flooding, plumbing leaks or heavy rain. This water can cause rotting and structural damage to your home. It can also lead to mold growth, which can be a potential health hazard as the air from your crawlspace can circulate into your home if damage to your duct work occurs. We recommend removing any standing water immediately and locating the source of the problem. Repairing any pipe leaks and drying using pumps, fans and dehumidifiers is key to prevent wood rotting, mold and termites. BioSweep Southeast can assist with drying and repairs as needed. In the event of constant flooding, installing a french drain pipe is recommended to divert water coming into your crawlspace and keep it clean and dry.

 

Fallen or damaged insulationbefore

Insulation is what keeps your house cold in the summer and warm in the winter. Without proper insulation, it is very hard for your HVAC system to maintain the temperature inside your home. Removing any damaged insulation and replacing it or adding more insulation will dramatically improve the temperature in your home, reduce your HVAC usage and lower your heating and cooling costs. BioSweep Southeast can assist with removing and replacing insulation as needed.

 

crawlspace 2

No Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier is a thick plastic coating (4-8 mil) that is applied to the ground beneath your crawlspace and up to around 8 inches up the walls and columns in your crawlspace. Although some people want to do the work themselves this can be a tedious and hard job. We recommend calling a professional company like BioSweep Southeast to ensure that everything is measured correctly. Each crawlspace can have its own set of challenges, and before applying the vapor barrier, the crawlspace needs to be cleaned out of any rocks, debris, old appliance parts, bricks, etc. Any fallen or rotten insulation needs to be removed before work can begin. This can be hard work, especially since crawlspaces are very narrow and tight. Also, ensuring that the ground is even is key to applying a vapor barrier.

 

 

Mold in crawlspaceMold 2

Mold is a common occurrence here in the South due to high humidity air levels. When there is heavy mold presence in your crawlspace and your wood starts to decay, you can definitively have a serious problem on your hands. Leaving mold on the wooden structure of your home for an extended period of time can lead to wood decay, which can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. Treating the wood and preventing any new mold growth is BioSweep's specialty. BioSweep Southeast utilizes advanced technology and techniques to permanently remove mold on your wooden structure and prevent it from returning. Our advanced BioSweep Surface Defense can carry a warranty of up to 10-15 years. Additionally, our warranty is transferable in the event that you decide to sell your home.  

 

 

dehumidifier

Crawlspace Encapsulation

Crawlspace Encapsulation is becoming a more popular option for homeowners. The cost varies depending on the size of the crawlspace to be treated. The goal of crawlspace encapsulation is to close off the crawlspace to the outside elements and to create a controlled environment by installing a dehumidifier. A heavy-duty polyethylene barrier (10-15 mil) is applied to completely cover your crawl space - usually floors and foundation walls. Once the crawlspace is completely sealed off, a dehumidifier is added to regulate the crawlspace's moisture levels. There are several different types of dehumidifiers. For an added benefit, some dehumidifiers can be regulated from the interior of the home via apps or mounted screens similar to an HVAC thermostat. Call BioSweep Southeast today to ask about crawlspace encapsulation.

 

 

BEFORE AND AFTER

 

Topics: water damage, mold removal, crawlspace encapsulation