If you have a crawl space but rarely venture past the four corners of your home, now’s the time to go down there and see what’s going on. You’ll likely bump into moisture that’s condensed on the walls or puddles of water on the floor, a streak of mold, and musty smells. All these may seem strange and even set off alarm bells, all the while leaving you with more questions than answers.
Is this a normal thing or is it part of crawl space care? Will moisture go away on its own or do I need to do something? How do I fix it? Read on to get answers to these questions and more.
Why is the Crawl Space Damp?
Just because Grand Junction, CO, is a semi-arid place doesn’t mean your crawl space is safe and won’t experience moisture problems. Hot and humid summer months will be particularly hard for your crawl space as this is the time evaporation is high. Wind will send hot and moist air into this space, and when this air comes into contact with cold air inside, it condenses.
Even more puzzling is that moisture can remain in the air for many weeks or months unnoticed. And everything may seem okay for a while. This is when you need to be on your guard. A little slumber and moisture will build up and cause secondary damage. Get a hygrometer and measure humidity levels at least once a day. If unsure, ask your local crawl space contractor to carry out an inspection.
Since moisture can attack your crawl space, you should remain alert. The moment you notice something unusual or signs of dampness, find out what’s causing it before taking any action. It’s pointless to remove moisture from the crawl space without resolving the crawl space issues that made it wet in the first place.
Causes of Crawl Space Moisture
Many things can cause your crawl space to get wet. Overflowing gutters and leaky basement windows create avenues for water to enter the crawl spaces. Groundwater can also cause crawl spaces to be damp. After continued heavy downpours, the soil becomes saturated with water, which then seeps through walls that are porous and into the crawl spaces. Plumbing leaks also contribute to the dampness, and so do burst pipes.
Moist air from the outside can also introduce water into the crawl space. When this air gets in, it mixes with cold air or sweeps through cold surfaces, where it condenses at dew point. Clogged gutters and damaged downspouts are other vectors that can channel water into the crawl space. Because they’re effective, they’ll fail to direct water away from the house perimeter. This causes rainwater to flow close to the house, and some of it may end up in the crawl space, making it damp.
Should I Worry about Moisture?
Crawl space moisture is common, so don’t sweat it. Expect your crawl space to get wet during hot and humid summer months, when precipitation is high. Moisture will condense on the crawl space walls and other materials inside. Depending on how humid the air is, puddles may form. Again, this is normal.
If the humidity is more than 50% for a number of consecutive days, then you have reason to worry. A quick inspection of your walls and floor can give you a clue. Look out for signs of condensation, mold, and musty smells. Sometimes, the signs are not obvious, and this is where a hygrometer for measuring humidity levels will come in handy.
Once you know what the root cause is, you have to take drastic measures to bring moisture under control. Lowering the humidity levels won’t just make your home dry and healthy, but it can also slash the cost of heating and cooling by 25%.
Dealing with Crawl Space Dampness
Resolving dampness is easy if you know what causes it. Check for and fix plumbing leaks, install a vapor barrier, get a dehumidifier, and install interior drainage around the perimeter of your floor. Where flooding is prevalent, it’s advisable for you to install a sump pump. Together with the drainage, your sump pump will eject water that enters and stagnates in the crawl space. Unclogging gutters also helps curtail moisture build up in the crawl space. Removing leaves and any debris ensures rainwater flows properly and doesn’t end up in your crawl space or foundation.
For a fast and hassle-free crawl space repair, get in touch with our professionals. We will provide you with a free crawl space inspection along with recommendations to keep this space moisture-free.