Many homeowners rarely give a thought to their crawl space, and the fact that poor air quality below their home makes its way into the air their family is breathing. The dirt floors found in crawl spaces are a never-ending source of moisture. Even if the dirt appears to be dry, digging down a bit further will reveal damp or moist conditions. These conditions not only affect the floor system directly above your crawl space, but the entire house. As the warm air in a heating building rises, replacement air is sucked from the lowest part of the building. As a result, whatever is in the air (mold spores, radon, etc.) at the lowest point eventually flows through the upper sections of your living space.
Not only can a humid, damp, or musty crawl space create unhealthy air quality; it can also eventually cause structural damage. To avoid the negative effects of moisture, experts say your crawl space should be professionally and fully sealed and isolated from the ground and the outside. Doing so will not only improve your indoor air quality, but reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool your home, giving your pocketbook a break, as well.
The Department of Energy, Dominion Power, and Advanced Energy performed an extensive study on the benefits of crawl space encapsulation. In the past, the theory was that crawl spaces would become dryer if they were vented. Today, studies and experience have verified that the most overlooked space in the house needs to have its air and humidity conditioned, just like the rest of the house.
Some of the benefits of conditioning and sealing your crawl space include:
- More efficient cooling and heating of your home, leading to lower energy bills
- Reduction of unconditioned air entering the home from crawl space
- Elimination of mold, fungus, and rot, which can be caused by high humidity levels
- Less chance of future condensation and dampness that lead to mold growth, due to controlled temperature and humidity
- Elimination of odors
- Less pests to deal with (rodents, insects)
- Lowered movement and buckling in hardwood floors due to excess moisture seeping into the home
- Lowered home maintenance
- Increased home value
Did you know that North Carolina is a leader in crawl space encapsulation research and installation guidelines? The 2009 North Carolina State Residential Building Code Book describes how crawl space encapsulation needs to be installed for compliance to code.
Listed below are Triangle companies that specialize in sealing crawl spaces (most will provide a free evaluation):
Crawlspace Doctor, 919-454-4508
East Coast Crawl Space Solutions, LLC, 919-428-8880
Green Horizon, 919-323-8705
Indoor Environmental Systems, Inc., 919-234-9802
Regional Basement and Crawl Space Repair, 844-425-8778