There are a variety of factors that can have an impact on the amount of humidity in your crawl space. Outside air, ground water, temperature, ventilation, and more can either keep your humidity levels in check, or raise them to a dangerous degree.
However, many people don’t take the time to consider the impact this has on their crawl space, as well as the rest of the house. The crawl space is generally considered separate from the living spaces of your home, so why worry about the climate down there?
In short, because it’s important. Your crawl space has a direct effect on the conditions inside your home. Crawl space remediation can help maintain a healthy environment. Both the quality of air and stability of your structure are related to the situation in your crawl space.
So how does humidity affect your crawl space?
- Structural Harm
- Cupped Flooring
- Insulation Damage
One of the most prevalent issues with a humid crawl space is the potential for mold growth. An unattended crawl space can create the perfect conditions for this. Mold needs some specific conditions to grow and crawl spaces just so happen to frequently provide them.
Food, water, and oxygen are all that’s needed. Humidity levels above 60%, temperatures above 40 degrees fahrenheit, and access to ample amounts of organic material fulfills these necessities.
The support joists underneath our houses are frequent areas where mold is found. It tends to grow on these as well as the lower flooring which can lead to a lot of problems and will require a professional to remove.
This mold not only creates an unhealthy atmosphere, it can also weaken the structural supports of your home. Left unchecked, this can make a home unsafe. There have been instances where the floor became so rotted that it has broken straight through to the crawl space from the living area.
Wood rot is another concern that is similar to mold, but not exactly the same. Rotted wood can’t be treated in the same way as mold. Mold can be removed from the wood. Rotted wood will need to be removed altogether and replaced with healthy wood.
But even if your home doesn’t get to the point of needing to replace the floor joists from rot and mold, there are still symptoms of this unhealthy system that can be seen in the living areas. Cupped floors are a sign that humidity levels aren’t in the proper range.
Hardwood floors are made from a series of wooden planks. These planks run along each other to create the surface we see as a solid floor. However, moisture can get into these pieces of wood and change their shape.
Cupped floors are higher along the edges than they are in the middle, creating a similar shape to a cup.
Different types of mold and rot are going to create some unpleasant scents. You might think that isn’t a problem since it’ll be contained to your crawl space, but the bad scents won’t only stay down there.
A sizable portion of the air in our homes comes directly from our crawl spaces. And if that air is damp and stinky, the air in your home will be as well.
The factors that make the air smell bad can also contain harmful allergens. Anybody in your home is susceptible to health issues as a result of continually breathing mold spores.
Insulating your crawl space is a great way to keep your home at a constant temperature throughout the year and reduce utility costs. However, this insulation can become compromised when the atmosphere is frequently moist from humidity.
Much like the wood in your crawl space, your insulation can become rotted. This will lead to it sagging, which doesn’t allow it to perform its intended function. This degradation in insulation not only increases your utility costs, it can also create a haven for pests.
Damp conditions resulting from humidity are perfect for various insects and rodents. They need water just like we do, and a humid area will have a variety of choices for a water source. Pests tend to come in groups since they create their own little ecosystem.
Damp insulation, exposed water, and rotted wood are very attractive to pests. Allowing your crawl space to degrade to this point will bring in unwanted guests which will serve to make the situation increasingly worse.
Crawl Space Remediation
Crawl space remediation refers to efforts to control the environment in your crawl space. This gives you the best chance of mitigating moisture levels and keeping humidity under control.
Crawlspace Doctor can help cure your crawl space problems. We service areas all over Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Indiana.