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Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 by Max Schosid
You might be thinking, what’s the point in fixing up a part of your home that you rarely (if ever) visit? Out of sight, out of mind, right?
The problem with this thinking is a wet crawl space can and will affect your entire home, not just the space under your home. Let’s figure out why.
If you happened to read our Radon FAQ series, you might remember our discussion of what’s called the “stack effect.” Essentially, because of pressure differentials, air from the lowest level of your home (the crawl space) will be pulled up into the rest of your home. So, all of that humid air in your crawl space environment will flood through your house. Now, that doesn’t sound so bad, right? Colorado is pretty dry; humidity might be nice!
While humidity might feel nice on the skin, your home would almost certainly disagree. Water vapor plus organic material can be a disaster. A humid home can lead to sticking and swollen doors and windows, as well as rotting floor joists. Wooden floors, wooden cabinets, and wooden framing can all be affected by rot. And that’s just the beginning of the problems.
When talking about crawl space air, it’s also important to think about the massive amounts of allergens that can permeate the air in your home, including dust mites and mold. Mold will grow at a relative humidity of 70%, and if your crawl space has water intrusion issues, that’s an easy threshold to surpass. Mold will grow on anything made from organic materials: wood, carpet, drywall. Excessive mold growth can cause serious respiratory issues for anyone living in the home; especially if you or a loved one sleeps on a lower level of the house. Yes. It’s more than just a musty smell.
That’s not all, though. Leaving a dirt floor in a crawl space, without any sort of encapsulation or mitigation system is just asking for radon to penetrate your home. Radon, a gas produced from decaying uranium is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers, killing around 21,000 people annually in this country alone.
Let’s look at this through an environmental perspective. Most of the time, a crawl space will not be insulated at the rim joists. That means that all that’s separating the outside air from your crawl space is approximately four inches of wood. We recommend crawl space insulation, because in colder months, your home is just hemorrhaging heat from its uninsulated parts. Not only is this a massive waste of energy, but it also contributes to cold floors on your main level in the winter. It’s a waste of money, and it’s uncomfortable too!
Feeling concerned about your crawl space? Give Rod Martin’s Complete Basement Systems a call today to set up an appointment for us to come out and provide a thorough inspection.
In our final segment of Crawl Space FAQ, we’ll discuss what options we offer to fix some of your crawl space issues. See you then!