Vents contribute to a problem they are supposed to solve, but professional help is only a phone call away and can save your health, your time, and your home.
One of the most expensive problems faced by homeowners – both in terms of wood-boring insects, rot, and mildew as well as more hazardous conditions including radon contamination and lethal black mold – is simple moisture. When dampness creeps into your home, it invites a Pandora’s box of serious structural and environmental issues that can inflict catastrophic damage on your home and the health of those living inside of it. While this fact can – and should – cause concern, what is perhaps most alarming and disturbing is that most homeowners inadvertently contribute to the problem while thinking that they are doing the right thing to alleviate it.
Venting: An outdated method that adds insult to injury.
Venting a crawlspace sounds to most of us like the logical way to dry it out, especially during the warmer months of the year. After all, if you want to dry your clothes you hang then outside in the summer air; and if you want to dry your hair you blow warm air over it using a hair dryer. And for many years experts – including building inspectors and architects – abided by the notion that venting a crawlspace was a proactive and important part of responsible home maintenance. But in reality it can – and usually does – have the exact opposite effect by actually increasing moisture levels. Over the past two decades, experimental studies have shown that crawlspace ventilation is usually counterproductive, especially in humid climates and in homes that are air-conditioned.
Venting crawlspaces – especially during air conditioning season – encourages the migration of hot, humid outside air into the cooler environment inside the crawlspace. Instead of drying the crawlspace, the air condenses and raises moisture levels, in the same way that water droplets form on the outside of a cool lemonade glass when it is carried outside into the hot summer air. Once present, moisture migrates toward the air-conditioned structures of your home, carrying with it a fertile breeding ground for fungal growth, mildew, bacteria, biological allergens, termites, and other hazards and headaches.
A Hazard to Your Home and Your Health
As much as 50% of the air you breathe on the first floor of your home comes from your crawlspace, permeates the living area, and creates musty odors, moldy carpets, swollen doors and windows that stick, hardwood floors that buckle and warp, and potential radon gas leakage. Condensation can also damage ductwork, plumbing, and air conditioning equipment by causing corrosion or other problems. For this reason the Office of Building Technology for the United States Department of Energy advises that “ outdoor air brought into the crawlspace will actually increase the moisture level until water condenses on cool crawlspace surfaces such as floor joists, foundation walls, and air-conditioning ducts. As framing stays moist, mold grows.”
Treating the Cause of the Problem, Not Just the Symptoms
High humidity provides an ideal environment for insect growth – which is why the Amazon rainforest has so many exotic species of bugs – but insecticides used in your crawlspace can contribute to an unhealthy living environment. And adding insulation to ductwork only patches the symptom and does nothing to cure the source of your trouble. Closing off crawlspace vents after thoroughly drying the interior areas – and then preserving that dry environment – is now widely accepted as the most effective solution.
Moisture control can be successfully implemented by drying out the crawlspace with a combination of vapor barriers and moisture reduction practices and a dehumidification unit. Once dampness is removed and the crawlspace is sealed to prevent it from returning, outside air will not migrate back inside and condense to form water droplets, increase moisture levels, and cause problems. The symptoms are fixed by eliminating the source of the trouble, for a durable and cost-effective permanent solution.
The Region’s Recognized Experts are at HomePro Pest Control
HomePro Pest Control provides time-tested technology – including high capacity dehumidifiers that remove up to 90 pints of water each per day to effectively protect homes – for the most advanced solutions to moisture conditions/fungus growth conditions. As this region’s recognized experts in this field, the experienced professionals at HomePro can help you achieve and maintain recommended humidity levels in your crawlspace and protect your home and family from the many unwanted consequences of high humidity.