Serving Mid, Western and Northern Michigan,
Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Monday, December 10th, 2018 by Gabe Wardin
Let’s be honest, nobody looks forward to taking care of their crawl space. You may notice a little bit of mold growing down there and say to yourself, “That’s barely anything, it’s not worth my time and money” or “I’ll just take care of it next month”. Well, next time you check, that tiny bit of mold has spread, and next month has come around and nothing gets done. Unfortunately, these issues that seem little at the time have the potential to turn into major problems. Water and mold aren’t the only things that can negatively affect your crawl space, as cold air and humidity pose threats as well. I’ll be going very in depth on each of these issues and ultimately explain why it’s important to get your crawl space properly encapsulated, and the perks that come along with it.
Moisture and Mold
It’s never a good sign if you notice moisture in your crawl space. Even if it’s just a just a tiny spot, it will eventually keep evolving into more and more moisture. As moisture enters your crawl space and builds up over time, the likelihood of mold growth increases as well, and if you never take care of the issue, there is virtually a 100% chance that mold will grow in your crawl space. Very much like moisture, mold growth will also increase as time goes on, and as more mold grows, the overall environment of the house will decline. What I mean is that mold can cause a multitude of health issues, as I wrote about here. Although the mold may stay in your crawl space, it’s negative effects will spread throughout your entire home. Just because you never go into your crawl space or basement does not at all mean you are out of harm’s way from mold. You can be in a room two stories away from your crawl space and still contract a respiratory illness.
Cold Air and Humidity
Living in the Midwest, it is inevitable that there will be a lot of cold air in the winter, and humidity in the summer. Humidity leads to moisture, and moisture leads to mold, and you already know what happens next. However, I haven’t mentioned the negative effects of cold air entering your crawl space. Air travels up, meaning that if there is cold air in your crawl space, it will travel up, causing your entire home to feel the effects. If there is cold air constantly flowing throughout your home, it’s going to cause you to turn the heat on for longer periods of time and to it much higher levels than it normally would just to keep you from freezing. Therefore, you’re just wasting heat and money, because this will cause your electricity bill to skyrocket. Furthermore, there is no escaping moisture, mold, cold air, etc. in your crawl space…unless you get it encapsulated.
Steps to Encapsulating your Crawl Space and the Benefits
The first step to encapsulating anyone’s crawl space is to install airtight doors and vent covers. The benefits of sealing your doors and vents stops the cycle of cold, humidity and moisture entering from outside. However, this doesn’t completely stop water from making its way in, as there are plenty of ways water can still sneak through. The next step is to eliminate any and all sources of flooding in your crawl space. We can do this by installing a crawl space drain and a SmartSump Crawl Space Sump Pump System. This will eliminate the possibility of your crawl space flooding, but moisture can still get in through the concrete and floor in the form of water vapor. To keep water vapor from passing through, a CleanSpace liner is needed. CleanSpace is the centerpiece of our encapsulation system, and what this plastic liner is designed to do is permanently keep away any moisture and cold air. It is placed completely over the walls and floor, creating a constant blockage to anything outside of it. CleanSpace is extremely durable and even comes with a mold-resistant additive called UltraFresh.
Along with protection from mold, moisture, and cold air, a dry crawl space is also inhabitable for termites, cockroaches, ants, and many other pests than need excess moisture in order to survive. Even if it were an environment for pests to thrive in, they still wouldn’t be able to get in due to the fact that the CleanSpace liner covers virtually every square inch of the crawl space, leaving no entryway for even the smallest of pests. A sealed off crawl space also means saying good riddance to odors and allergenic mold spores that would otherwise ascend straight up through the floors and throughout your entire home. The last part of our encapsulation system that we highly recommend is our self-draining SaniDry Sedona dehumidifier. This powerful appliance has the ability to remove 95 pints of water per day. The best part about the SaniDry is that since it’s self-draining, you never have to worry about trying to remember to empty it.
A Better Environment
More often than not, if a crawl space is not encapsulated, it’s also very messy, unorganized, and just really hard to move around in. Many of the crawl spaces that we work on don’t even have a floor; it’s just dirt. If this is the case in your home, how are you supposed to get around when you need to use your crawl space? Having a dirt floor and random belongings scattered around in an unorganized fashion throughout your crawl space makes it extremely hard for you and others to navigate around in what is already a very small space. Also, if you need people to look at your HVAC or plumbing lines, but you have a moldy, unhealthy environment, it makes it extremely difficult for those workers to get the job done efficiently. Encapsulating your crawl space leaves a much better work environment for anyone who has to work on HVAC, plumbing lines, etc., and if they have a great environment to work in, chances are it will help them get their job done better and faster.
Moral of the Story: Encapsulate your Crawl Space
I can’t say it enough how important it is for homeowners to get this taken care of as soon as possible. Just because your crawl space may be perfectly fine today, doesn’t mean it will be next week, because with how our weather is in the Midwest, it’s usually either raining, humid, or frigid. All three of these weather conditions can and will infiltrate your crawl space eventually if you don’t have it protected. We want to help you, and all you have to do is give us a call and we will send out a highly trained System Design Specialist to do a free inspection to examine your situation and see what’s best for you.