The common crawl space is something most homeowners don’t think about everyday. It tends to be a place that is dark, murky, cold, sometimes damp and easily ignored. It can be very hazardous to forget about small space because this space is key to your home’s health-if you lose track of it you may find yourself with mold, allergens and unwanted critters.
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Mold is the result of latent moisture. It begins to develop and then feed upon organic materials such as wood, carpet, and paint. A dirt crawl space is a prime target for mold because the dirt will never be completely dry.
Mold’s main purpose is to break down dead organic matter, objects that were once living and are now dead and wet. Mold tends to enter through the footing, between the footing and the walls, right through the block walls, and through cracks in poured walls.
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After the moisture seeps in, it lies in puddles. These puddles then slowly evaporate upward into the house. The way to control mold in our homes is to control the moisture. Dirt basements with vents tend to be so dangerous because these vents let in moisture. Mold worsens health issues for the many people struggling with asthma and allergies.
Reducing the moisture in your home’s crawl space is important for maintaining a healthy home and your home’s value.
Allergens and Critters
Dust mite droppings are the number one allergen causing the most trouble for people with asthma and allergies. Dust mites are microscopic parasites that eat dead skin and thrive in humid environments. A moisture filled basement is a perfect environment for these allergens to live.
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There are also many unwanted critters that move into moist crawl spaces such as: termites, spiders, mice, rats and snakes. As we can see, it’s a food chain that can attract more and more unwanted varmint into your house. Unfortunately, these varmints live and die in your crawl space-sometimes producing very foul and unwelcoming odors.
Repairing your crawl space is imperative for a healthy and energy efficient house. You can solve your crawl space problems with four simple steps: fixing the ground water leakage, isolating the house from the earth, sealing out the outside air and maintaining dry air.
First, a sump pump must be installed to pump unwanted water away from your foundation.
The next step is to isolate the house from the earth-as previously mentioned; the earth can never be fully dry making the best breeding ground for mold. Many homeowners choose concrete flooring or some sort of plastic liner.
Unfortunately, concrete floors are porous and do not always provide the expected results. Meanwhile, some plastic liners can rip easily. However, there are some high-level plastic liners that are well-worth the investment.
Look for a liner made out of 20 mil thick flexible plastic, is puncture and tear resistant, and has a dimpled polyethylene membrane to help water flow to a sump pump.
The third step is to keep the outdoor unconditioned air OUT. Vent covers are your friend! They will insulate your home, improve overall appearance and seal the air out. These plastic vent covers will not rot, warp or need paint, and will last a long time.