Resource Article

Moisture in Your Crawl Space: What It Means and What to Do Next

Blake Heron

If you’re like most homeowners, you’re likely to overlook any moisture in your crawl space. That’s because the crawl space is out of sight, and that’s where all the moisture is, right?

Moisture in your crawl space might compromise your home’s structural integrity and have adverse effects on your health.

While water puddles in your crawl space are nothing to smile about, the water itself isn’t the problem. The real issues come from the vapor from these puddles. It’s water vapor that leads to mold growth, attracts pests, and increases your water bills. Still, to get rid of the water vapor, you’ll have to get rid of the water first.

If you have water in your crawl space, you best make plans to remove it and make adjustments to prevent it from pooling there again. Join us as we look at what water in your crawl space means and what to do if you have water in your crawl space.

How Does Water Get Into Your Crawlspace?

Before getting rid of all the water in your crawl space, it’s important to understand how it got there in the first place. There are four main ways water can get into your crawl space, and they are:

Improper grading: Water from the surface can drain into your crawl space because of improper leveling. This is especially common during heavy rains or flash flooding.  Excessive water may even turn the vents in your crawlspace into spouts, giving way for even more water.

Crawl space is below grade: When the ground in the crawl space is below the ground outside, water naturally finds itself in the lowest lying areas; in the crawl space.

Clogs in the gutters: When your gutters clog, water from excessive rainfall back up right into your home and into the crawl space. This is also the case when too much water overwhelms your drains.

Issues with your plumbing: The water from a leaking or burst pipe can leak into and pool in your crawlspace. If that’s the case, you’ll need to call in a plumbing professional to check it out before it gets out of hand.

Regardless of the case, you need to remove all the water and restore your crawl space. Failing to do so only worsens the situation and has damaging effects on your health and home.

Problems Caused By a Wet Crawl Space

If you notice any moisture in your crawl space, contact a reputable crawl space repair company to solve your crawl space issues. That way, you can sidestep all the problems that a wet crawl space can lead to. Some of these problems include:

High Energy Bills

The moisture in your crawlspace might be the reason behind your sky-rocketing energy bills. Water in your crawlspace makes the air damp and increases humidity levels. Remember, damp air is harder to heat and cool.

This means that your HVAC system must work harder to keep your home cooler or warmer. This translates into hefty energy bills every month. If you can’t pinpoint the reason for your high energy costs, you should check your crawl space.

Musty and Funny Odors in Your House

This doesn’t seem like too much of a problem until you have guests visit. The musty and damp smells from the crawl space can travel through cracks and openings into your house. In severe cases, the smell can make the house inhabitable.

You can try using air fresheners, but they won’t do much to mask the damp smell. Your best bet is to call the crawl space repair experts to address the problem once and for all.

Warping of Wooden Floors

As earlier mentioned, when wooden floors absorb the moisture from your crawl space, they can swell and even warp. This can be a huge bummer, considering you paid a bundle for your wooden floors. Remember, there’s no way to repair a warped floor; your only option is to replace it.

Leads To Mold Presence

Moisture in your crawl space can lead to the growth and proliferation of mold. A wet crawl space is ideal for mold growth because of the presence of moisture. There’s also a lot of organic matter like wood that mold can feed on.

You’d be wrong to think that mold is harmless and only an aesthetic flaw. That’s because molded releases airborne spores into the air that find their way into your home. These spores can lead to a variety of respiratory complications, including allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

Some mold species like black mold may lead to diarrhea, headaches, memory loss, and severe respiratory issues. It’s a good idea to have regular crawl space inspections to be on the safe side.

Pests and Dust Mites

Dust mites are very tiny parasites that you can find in your beddings, furniture, and carpet. Although dust mites are present in all homes, they proliferate in humid environments. Dust mites can lead to allergic reactions and even trigger asthma attacks.

A wet crawl space is ideal for dust mites and other pests like termites, spiders, and rats. These pests love dirty and humid places because they’re likely to be abandoned with no human presence.

Don’t be too surprised when you find a snake in your crawl space. Remember, rats are everyday dinner for snakes. If your crawl space has rodents, the snakes will follow.

What To Do If You have Moisture in Your Crawlspace

Approximately 15 percent of households in the US have crawl spaces. If you suspect your crawl space has water, you better act fast before the crawl space problems spiral out of control. So you just find out your crawl space is wet; what do you do next?

Here are the best things to do when you have a wet crawl space:

Arrange a Crawl Space Inspection

The first thing you should do when you discover you have a wet crawl space is to plan a crawl space inspection. This inspection will check for the presence of water in your crawl space and its humidity level.

The inspection should also check for any cracks, holes, or gaps in your crawlspace that allow water or pests into it. Remember, these holes also allow pests like cockroaches that can be terrible for your home. While you can do the inspection yourself, it’s best to leave it to the pros.

Install a Vapor Barrier

A crawl space vapor barrier is a type of membrane that prevents the entry of water vapor from the damp soils into the crawl space air. Vapor barriers are especially useful for homes with exposed dirt floors.

A crawl space vapor barrier can be difficult to install on your own. It’s best to get a crawl space repair company to do your bidding. To install the barrier, the technicians will:

  • Measure the crawl space
  • Cut the polyurethane membrane to fit your crawl space
  • Spread the barrier over the crawl space floor
  • Secure the liner using waterproofing tape and stakes

Once you install your vapor barrier,  you can stay as much as 25 years before you need to replace it. High end crawl space vapor barriers are super durable.

Get Insulation for Your Crawl Space

After installing a vapor barrier, the next thing you should do is insulate your crawl space. The best insulation for your crawl space is expanded polystyrene foam, a type of foam board engineered for crawl spaces. This type of insulation is reliable and doesn’t harbor any pests or mold.

Crawl space insulation acts as a second layer of protection against moisture and air seepage. This ensures that no water or air seeps into your crawlspace. It guarantees a moisture-free and mold-free crawl space.

Buy a Dehumidifier

Humidity levels can go through the roof when the weather gets hot and humid. A dehumidifier helps get humidity back to normal levels in your home. Installing one in your crawlspace will help decrease humidity and prevent dampness.

It will get rid of the excess moisture that facilitates a conducive environment for mold and dust mite proliferation. Consider getting an energy-saving model to help cut your energy costs.

Close Your Vents

Ensure you close or cover your vents to prevent water, dust, and pests from getting inside. Open vents are a freeway for these things to get right into your vents. Cover your vents to keep water, dust, and pests at bay.

If you want to close your vents, you must have a great vapor barrier and dehumidification systems to regulate the moisture and clean the air.

Say No To Moisture in Your Crawl Space

The last thing you want in your crawl space is water puddles or humid air. Take the right steps to keep your crawl space moisture-free or suffer devastating consequences. If you already have water in your crawl space, call the crawl space repair experts to take care of things.

Request a free inspection today, so we can check out your crawl space and get rid of any moisture in there.

Written By Blake Heron

Blake has specialized in crawl space & foundation repairs for over 10 years (since 2012). His prior engineering and business degrees from James Madison University in VA prepared him for a mastery of problem solving with crawl space & foundation repair issues. He is one of America’s top experts on crawl space encapsulation. As Founder of both ‘BAY Crawl Space & Foundation Repair’ as well as ‘GridLock Foundations’ he is a leading industry expert on crawl space foundation repairs.

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