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Moisture: Vented Vs. Sealed Crawl Spaces

Standards in home building have changed a lot over the years. Better energy efficiency, greater severe weather tolerance and non-toxic building materials are just a few of the perks that modern homes enjoy today thanks to updates to the International Residential Code (IRC). In fact, it’s becoming increasingly popular for homebuilders to go above and beyond IRC requirements to include environmentally friendly features like fresh air, natural light and eco-friendly building materials.

Moisture and Humidity in Your Crawl Space

Improved home building codes, best practices and scientific advancements have shown us how to build crawl spaces that make homes cleaner, healthier and much more energy efficient. However, building codes here in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas allow both vented and closed crawl spaces, so how do you know what’s right for your home? The answer is all in the moisture and humidity levels. And because we all know how hot and humid summers in the Midwest can be, it’s likely that a closed, or encapsulated, crawl space is the best solution for your home.

Common Crawl Space Problems

It’s obvious to homeowners with basements that water intrusion is a problem. But why does water matter in a home with a dirt floor crawlspace? Read below to learn about how moisture, humidity and chemicals can cause problems for your whole home.

vented crawl space problems: moisture, radon, mold, fungi and structural damage

 

Roof runoff and improper grading can allow water to collect and enter your crawlspace through cracks in the foundation walls.

Mold and fungi: dampness can breed mold and fungi that rises with warm air into your home living space.

Structural damage: high humidity and moisture can cause wood rot and degrade building materials.

Radon can rise through the soil, into your crawlspace and ultimately into the living space.

Poor air quality: Moisture and humidity lead to musty odors, allergens and dust, and rises to enter the living space.

Bugs and critters are attracted by the moisture and humidity and can cause wood rot and structural damage.

Rising energy costs: Vented crawlspaces let in humidity in the summer and cool air in the winter, leading to higher heating and cooling costs.

 

Symptoms of a Crawl Space Problem

If you experience the following symptoms, your crawlspace could have structural damage, mold or air quality issues.

          Uneven Floors

          Foul Odors in the Home

          Drywall Cracks in the Interior

          Heightened Allergies or Asthma Symptoms

The Benefits of an Encapsulated Crawl Space

sealed, encapsulated crawl space benefits

 

Sealing your crawlspace heavily reduces moisture and humidity levels, leading to:

          Improved air quality – no musty odors, reduced dust and allergens

          Greater durability and reduced risk for structural damage

          No bug food, thus no bugs

          Increased storage space for you home

          15-20% savings in energy costs

 

What now?

Now that you know more about the difference between encapsulation and vented crawl spaces, you may have an idea of what’s best for your home. It’s clear that unsealed crawl spaces allow mold to grow, attract bugs and critters and contribute to poor air quality – not to mention the potential for structural damage and wood rot. So, what can you do?

 

Watch for symptoms of a crawl space problem.

You may notice musty smells, heightened allergies or asthma symptoms (especially in the winter), drywall cracks inside your home or uneven floors.

Get an expert opinion.

Whether you notice some of these obvious symptoms or not, Thrasher offers free inspections and no-obligation quotes for crawl space repair, and it’s worth having us out for a visit. Our specialists have the knowledge and experience to diagnose your problem or give you the good news that you don’t have one.

If you determine action is needed, hire a pro.

There are too many pitfalls you can run into with a DIY approach, and the potential risk for structural damage just isn’t worth it.

 

If you suspect a problem with your crawl space, have us out for a free inspection. Our solutions create a complete barrier between the exposed dirt floors beneath your home, eliminating excess moisture and allergens, and protecting your home against rot, mold, mildew and pests.

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