One of the more unique challenges for homeowners in Southeast Virginia is keeping the area under the house dry and clean. Our low-lying geography means the ground is often naturally moist, and when combined with high humidity and dirt-surfaces in crawl spaces, we often have an unintentional invitation to problems.
Moisture in crawl spaces creates an environment that rodents, insects, mold and fungus love, which leads to rot and damage to structural wood and floor insulation, along with negative impacts to ductwork and HVAC systems. Fortunately, there are options, ranging from expensive solutions that all but eliminate moisture, to DIY techniques that can have some benefit. The best way to determine the options for your home is with a crawl space moisture inspection (HomePro provides a free inspection). Here are some options you may want to consider:
DIY – The do-it-yourself approach usually involves removing old, damp insulation from between floor joists and correctly installing new batts that are specifically designed for crawl spaces. Homeowners will also benefit from cleaning the dirt surface of any debris, and installing a vapor barrier of heavy-duty plastic. This requires flexibility, comfort with dark, enclosed spaces and lots of time.
Ventilation – Some homeowners elect to add fans and a dehumidifier or two as a way to combat moisture. This is a constant battle that increases utility bills, but it can be a good way to reduce the overall crawl space moisture. Be sure that any dehumidifiers used drain the condensate outside, away from the foundation.
Professional Vapor Barrier – If the DIY approach isn’t a good fit for comfort level or time, a company like HomePro can professionally install a commercial-grade vapor barrier. We have seen as much as a 50% reduction in crawl space moisture readings after correctly installing a crawl space vapor barrier.
Crawl Space Encapsulation – This is a full-court-press approach that stops outside air from freely entering the crawl space, along with sealing the foundation wall and ground. In most cases a dehumidifier or similar device is installed. The combined effect makes the home more energy efficient, while decreasing mold and other problems. This is the most expensive solution, but also the most effective.
There may be other options as well, depending on the home’s location, soil, proximity to water sources and other factors. If you’re not sure what solution is best for you – or if you even have a problem, start with a free crawl space moisture inspection from the pros at HomePro Pest Control. Contact us today at 757-499-1078.