Under-home crawl spaces are notorious for being dark and damp, and the perfect place for mold, insects, and rodents. The problem is that crawl spaces often have too much ventilation, inadequate drainage, and nothing that seals the space from your living area above. Discover how sealing your crawl space can improve your home and what properly sealing your crawl space entails.
Improves Energy Efficiency
One of the biggest reasons homeowners seal their crawl space is to improve their home’s energy efficiency. Starting in the 1950s, home builders added additional ventilation under homes with the thought that it would prevent the air from stagnating and the area from developing mold.
Unfortunately, this was ineffective in accomplishing this because it allowed more moisture under the home. Further, it also left underside of a home open to unconditioned air that would blow through, often robbing the home of heat over the winter. Sealing the crawl space prevents unintended heat transfer, reducing the strain on your HVAC system while you’re trying to heat or cool your home.
Makes Floors More Comfortable
As the air blows through your crawl space, it absorbs heat from your floor, which affects your HVAC system’s efficiency and how your floor feels with bare feet. While you may not notice it as much with carpeting that has thick carpet padding, you’ll have noticeably cool hard floors. Sealing your crawl space reduces that heat transfer, keeping your floors more comfortable to walk on throughout the year.
Reduces Risk of Structural Damage
A Damp crawl space leaves the structural foundation of your home at risk of damage, increasing the risk of expensive repairs. The damp environment promote moist wood in the supporting structures, which is ideal for termite infestations. Between the conditions to make wood decompose and the damage brought by termites, you risk substantial damage to the structure making your home stand.
Improves Indoor Air Quality
Air quality affects a wide range of things, from your health to how well your HVAC equipment runs. It encompasses everything from airborne particulate matter, biological contaminants, various gases, and humidity.
Unsealed crawl spaces exacerbate several areas of concern for your home’s indoor air quality. First, the moisture commonly found in crawl spaces makes its way into your home, increasing your indoor humidity. It can create a breeding ground for mold and mildew, allowing those spores to circulate into your home. Finally, it can increase the risk of dangerous radon gas entering your home, which may increase the risk of lung cancer.
Prevents Insect Infestations
Just about all common household insects throughout North Carolina need a warm, moist environment to thrive. Sealing your crawl space may not significantly change the temperature of your crawl space, especially during the summer. However, by going through the full process, you prevent the moist environment these organisms need before infestations can begin.
What Does Crawl Space Sealing Include?
Crawl space sealing is also known as encapsulation and is a process of adding a thick polyethylene moisture barrier to prevent moisture from coming into the space. This must cover the entire crawlspace floor, come up the foundation pillars, and come all the way up the crawl space walls to the flooring joists above it.
However, before you can lay the barrier, you need to prep the area. It starts with removing all debris from under your home, then raking the dirt floor until it’s flat. If there’s already mold or mildew in the space, that needs remediation before applying the barrier. Insect or rodent infestations should also be removed to prevent them from moving further into your home following encapsulation.
The space should also be evaluated for proper drainage. If the space doesn’t drain adequately, you may want to consider installing additional draining options, such as a French drain. This may increase the cost of your encapsulation project, but is necessary for it to adequately seal your space.
You may also wish to insulate the space to help further reduce heat transfer, making your crawl space like an air insulator for your home, similar to double pane windows. Depending on your specific situation, you may also want to consider adding a crawl space dehumidifier to help keep the space dry.
When people around Browns Summit need help keeping their homes comfortable and safe, they call Custom Air Inc.. Our trusted technicians provide crawl space sealing and encapsulation along with heating and cooling installation, maintenance and repair. Call to schedule a consultation with one of our crawl space experts today.