Crawl Space Dehumidification

Crawl spaces are built with the purpose of raising the level of a house to avoid the effects of flooding. That is why nowadays, more than 35% of houses are built with it. Some states such as South Carolina and other coastal areas are also fond of it as they are a part of almost 80% of new house constructions.

They provide great protection from floods. However, as they are partially or fully built underground, they are susceptible to many humidity problems. Some homeowners even spend thousands of dollars yearly just to repair humidity-related damages in their crawl spaces.

Having no control over the humidity of your crawl space could lead to numerous problems led by excess moisture. You should have the proper equipment to avoid such occurrence, and you should be aware of when it could already be starting to become a significant issue at home. Here are some indications that your crawl space has a higher humidity than what is regularly recommended:

• Damp or humid air

• Water trickling in walls

• Puddles of water on the floor

• Mold and mildew growth on surfaces

• Rotting of wood

• Water stains on walls

• Musty odor

• Deterioration of carpets

Being in this industry for a significant amount of time now, we have come to realize that there are still a number of homeowners that only opt to have remediation in their crawl space once damage has already been done. This could cost a huge sum of money and effort, especially if it becomes a regular problem. The most vital step to take is to invest in a prevention plan that would avoid these types of damages in your home. It would save you money and worry, and would assure you of a safe and conducive environment for you and your family, and not for infesting pests.

 

Main Sources of Humidity in Crawl Spaces

There are three main sources of humidity at home.
 

1. Common Indoor Activities: It may not be too obvious, but the most common chores we do inside our 
homes are what actually contribute to the high level of humidity in the atmosphere. Examples are: 
• Showering
• Cooking
• Doing laundry
• Construction
• Watering of plants
• Plumbing issues

2. Seasonal changes: This also contributes to the changing of humidity inside your home. As the season changes outside, it still greatly affects the atmospheric condition inside. This is why on some parts of the year, your crawl space is much more vulnerable to excess moisture. To avoid this, make sure to properly encapsulate your crawl space with the right kind of material, so as to prevent air from the outside to seep through your indoor space.
 

3. Rain or ground water: Especially when times of heavy rain, water can permeate through the foundation of your house to your crawl space if you do not have the proper gutter system. It is utterly important to make sure that rain is properly collected and directed away from your house, especially from its foundations.


Consider these tips:
a. Install a rain gutter system: This will effectively collect rain water from the roof and steer it down to spouts where it will be directed to a safe drainage that is 5 to 10 feet away from your house. It is important to make sure that the system is never clogged by unwanted items such as dried leaves or branches so as to work fine every time it rains.

 

b. Proper house grading: Make sure that your house is built around proper grading to ensure accurate drainage of water away from your house’s foundation.
 

c. Dig a trench: This is another option to keep rain water from entering your house. Just be certain that that trench can hold its form to avoid further complications.
 

d. Install a drain tile: This is actually a system of PVC pipes laid beneath the ground around a home’s foundation. Their purpose is to collect water before even entering your crawl space.
 

After collection of water, it either drains it through a downward slope to a pit or by a system of sump pump that directs the water to a storm sewer.

With the main sources stated above, it is also important to know how excess moisture actually moves to seep through and into your crawl space. They can easily manage their way into your home for several reasons, but the most common is having poor construction, especially in drainage and air circulation systems.

Below are ways on how excess moisture is able to get into your home; they are considered as Moisture Flow:
1. Moisture/vapor diffusion through foundation walls: Vapor is considered to be highly diffusive. Given external changes in weather that promotes a high production of vapor, it is a fairly easy job for vapor to permeate through your foundation walls and condensate to your crawl space interior. This is a very common problem, especially for houses built in concrete, as they are more susceptible to moisture absorption. One solution before constructing the house is to make sure that you use vapor retarders such as polyethylene to slow down this kind of diffusion into your crawl space.

 

2. Capillary Action: This is a natural occurrence around us and it applies to many things because it is all about the actual behavior of water. The idea as to how water permeates through a towel, cloth, or soil, is the same with your foundation. An effective way of preventing this is applying a capillary break such as plastic, metal, or any other impermeable material when your house is still being constructed.

3. Air-transported moisture: Especially during the summer, when many homeowners opt to open their windows and provide extra air circulation in their crawl space, air-transported moisture is highly to occur. This is also true in some HVAC systems that can be pathways for extra moisture to be transported to your crawl space. While opening windows might provide temporary drying to your space, this will not be the same case long term. Doing it will actually increase your crawl space’s humidity that will eventually lead to wall drips and dampness.

In relation to air-transported moisture, let us take into consideration another movement of the air that contributes to high humidity in your home; this is called the Stack Effect.

This occurs when warm air rises and exits the house through upper passageways such as windows or vents. This creates a negative pressure in your crawl space creating an unbalanced mixture of humidity and temperature. This pressure forces external humidity to permeate through your crawl space. This will keep on going on if not properly controlled immediately.

Effective Solutions and Preventions for High Humidity in Crawl Spaces

Considering everything discussed above, it shows how problematic having a high humidity setting in your crawl space is. They bring extra hassle in your time, money, and health. These, of course, can all be avoided. Depending on the problem you might have at hand or will probably face in the future if you are still having your house constructed, here are some effective ways on how to fix or prevent such problems:

• Use of vapor retarders and impermeable foundation materials

• Proper encapsulation using foam insulation

• Durable downspout and gutter system

• Use of a heavy-duty and reliable dehumidifier

Here at AlorAir, we can provide you with a vast selection of dehumidifiers that have capacities to provide assistance in any crawl space setting. Our products are proven to be effective, efficient, and reliable to last for a long time. With this, we also have an accommodating customer service team that is always prepared in taking your inquiries and providing support whenever you need it. Remember that in order to keep your crawl space free from any harm brought by excess moisture, you must maintain a relative of humidity that is lower than 50%. Our dehumidifiers will certainly help you achieve that.

Recommended Products: AlorAir® Sentinel HD55(gold)AlorAir® Sentinel HDi65AlorAir® Sentinel HD55(Blue)