If you have an enclosed crawl space, one thing you may have noticed is that it gets quite damp at times. That may happen not only because your home doesn’t have a proper drainage system and crawl space insulation, but also because excess water might have accumulated around your home’s foundation during the wet season. That could mean that your crawl space might have been exposed to more dampness than would have been ideal.
Get Rid of the Underlying Problems First – Humidity
Soggy soil, musty odors, mold growth, and foundation or subfloor elements that feel damp to the touch or have water stains or discoloration are a few telltale signs that may indicate excess moisture in your crawl space. When too much moisture accumulates in your crawl space, it’s recommended to address the underlying issues before looking into the crawl space dehumidification options available today. If the issues causing the moisture problems underneath your home aren’t taken care of beforehand, dehumidifying your enclosed crawl space can be very difficult, if not impossible.
In general, excess moisture in a crawl space is the result of overflowing gutters, negative grading, leaky pipes, and/or a high water table. Since each of these problems may require different remedial measures, calling in an experienced foundation repair contractor to inspect your property is the best way to properly identify and address the underlying causes of a damp crawl space. Once the underlying causes are solved, installing a dehumidifier will lower the humidity level and prevent moisture from accumulating in your enclosed crawl space in the future.
The Benefits of Installing a Dehumidifier in Your Enclosed Crawl Space
In the Houston-Galveston area, many homeowners have vents installed in their enclosed crawl spaces. Although vents are meant to improve air circulation and prevent moisture buildup in the space underneath the home, they can also expose the crawl space to moisture from outside. Therefore, keeping the vents in your crawl space open can create a catch-22 situation, especially when the humidity outside is higher than in the crawl space. Conversely, if you keep the vents closed, the lack of ventilation can lead to stagnant air and moisture accumulation over time, which is also not good. Therefore, your best option to deal with crawl space dampness is to install a dehumidifier. Here are the top benefits of having a dehumidifier in your enclosed crawl space:
- It extends the life of your home’s foundation – The longer excess moisture remains in your enclosed crawl space, the more likely it is that your foundation will start to develop structural problems. Since excess dampness and condensation can seep into even the smallest concrete cracks and cause the clay soil underneath your home to expand, which may lead to foundation heaving and shifting, too much humidity in your crawl space could cause extensive damage throughout your house.
- It prevents mold growth and wood rot – Mold, mildew, and wood-decay fungi thrive in damp environments. By removing excess moisture, a dehumidifier stops these microorganisms in their tracks along with the damage they could cause.
- It makes your home more energy-efficient – Without a dehumidifier, the moist air from your crawl space will end up traveling throughout your home and making your living space feel more humid. The humid air will force your air conditioner to work harder in order to keep your home comfortable. Because of this, your air conditioner will consume more energy.
- It improves indoor air quality – Excess moisture along with musty odors and mold/mildew spores from your crawl space can get into your home through your air ducts and vents. A dehumidifier will keep your enclosed crawl space dry, improving the overall air quality in your home.
While a dehumidifier can make the air underneath your home drier, stale air and soil gas may still build up in your crawl space and decrease the air quality for your entire home. One way to avoid this is to also install a vent fan. Since vent fans draw in air from outside, they can keep the air in your crawl space fresh. By using both a vent fan and a dehumidifier in your enclosed crawl space, you can solve excess moisture, stale air, and soil gas problems for good. If you decide to have a dehumidifier installed in your enclosed crawl space, be sure to consult a professional who can recommend the right product for you. An electrician may also need to install a separate outlet for the dehumidifier. Additionally, some dehumidifiers may require a separate drainage system for removing excess water. Routine maintenance is another thing you should consider, as all dehumidifiers have filters that need to be changed or cleaned on a regular basis. While we can’t help you with any of these tasks, we can certainly inspect your foundation and crawl space and recommend the most appropriate remedial measures that will keep problems away from your Houston home. For more information, feel free to contact our specialists, who will be glad to answer any questions you may have!