Hey y’all! Cool Cat checking in with some fresh news you can use! Does your house have a crawl space? If so, depending on when your abode was built, your crawl space could be harboring moisture, causing some serious fur-raising problems right under your feet. That’s not coooooool. Here’s the low-down on the big deal about moisture down low and how craw space encapsulation might help.
The Problem with a Damp Crawl Space
A damp crawl space means you’ve got a humidity problem where poor airflow creates a great scenario for major problems to develop. First, it helps to understand how moisture is getting into your crawl space to begin with. The crawl spaces in many older homes were built using a technique called venting, where vents or openings were part of the design because builders at the time thought it would help manage humidity naturally. These days, every cat knows that especially in humid climates like ours, venting actually causes moisture problems and worse, such as:
- Insect and animal infestation. Critters just pop in through the vents and make themselves at home, gnawing on whatever they can get their chompers on from down below – wood beams, wiring and insulation to name a few.
- Mold growth. Mold is bad news anywhere you find it. Not only does it cause structural damage but it can make anyone living in the house above the crawl space seriously sick.
- Indoor Air Quality Impact. With mold growth and other microbes partying it up in your damp crawl space, not only do the germs work their way up into the house but so does the musty smell they like to shimmy shake with.
- Structural Damage. Moisture and mold means rot. Rot can damage insulation, support beams and other structures that hold your house up. In some of the worst cases, the foundation and supporting structures are so compromised that areas of the house can start to sink or collapse.
The Fix: Encapsulation
You know Cool Cat wouldn’t tell you all those problems without the fix, right? Crawl space encapsulation is a way of sealing up your crawl space and those pesky vents and keeping your house standing strong. Here’s how it works:
1. A vapor barrier (usually made from heavy-duty waterproof plastics, resins and laminates) is installed, covering the whole ground area. If your crawl space is already pretty damp, a drain system might need to be installed first to make sure that moisture gets pulled out.
2. All the vents are sealed, and vapor barriers are sealed all the way around to transform your crawl space into a waterproof capsule.
3. Depending on needs and your unique situation, one of three conditioning options will be installed to keep moisture from collecting again – a connection to your home’s HVAC system, a dehumidifier or an exhaust fan.
An encapsulated crawl space should be checked during your regular HVAC system maintenance visit from Carolina Cool (at least once per year, right?) to verify the seal and vapor barrier haven’t been compromised, the drain system is working like it should and whichever conditioning option is down there is doing the job right to keep things dry and air-tight. A hygrometer can be installed to monitor humidity levels so you can keep watch and if the moisture reading starts to rise, you can call the cats from Carolina Cool right away to head off any problems. That’s cooooool!