. An unsealed crawl space can develop an extensive list of moisture issues over the years, which can lead to high electric bills, mold, wet insulation, rotten floor joists, and more.
In most cases, encapsulation is a four-step process that addresses each aspect of moisture damage and prevention in your crawl space. Nevertheless, every home is different and, depending on the severity of the problem, won’t require a full encapsulation. With that said, it’s best to have a home inspection by an Indiana Foundation Service technician to ensure the correct solution is put in place.
What are the four steps to crawl space encapsulation? Each step is broken down below, explaining the process and purpose of encapsulation. This includes installing a sump pump, a vapor barrier system, sealing your crawl space vents, and an appropriate dehumidifier.
Crawl Space Encapsulation Steps
Installing a sump pump will address any standing water or leakage in your crawl space right away. First, a sump hole is dug out in the low spot of your crawl space with a liner to keep mud out. Next, the sump pump is installed with an airtight lid and a discharge pipe. The lid is vital to the system. You don’t want an open pump with water sitting in it, as the water will begin to evaporate up into your crawl space’s environment. The discharge pipe will lead the water away from your home, usually to a downgrade spot in your yard.
A vapor barrier liner will isolate your home from the earth it sits on. These liners come in a variety of sizes, but the BEST options are at least 20-mil thick. A 20-mil or thicker vapor barrier is longer lasting and more durable than thinner liners. Not only will it prevent moisture damage in your crawl space, but it can also lower your heating and air conditioning costs by up to 20%.
It’s a common myth to air out your crawl space. On the contrary, you should seal all vents and doors. This will keep out all uncontrolled air, moisture, debris, and pests. To clarify, air is typically cooler in your crawl space than it is outside. Once the warmer outside air enters and combines with the inside air, humidity forms. Moisture is your crawl space’s greatest enemy, so it’s important to seal off your vents and doors.
Furthermore, once humidity builds in your crawl space, the stack effect can become devastating to your family. The stack effect is the movement of air in your home. As the air in your crawl space warms, it will begin to rise throughout your home before exiting through the chimney, attic, or loose windows. To make matters worse, this continuous cycle will bring mold spores and dust mites along for the ride. As a result, this process can worsen allergy issues and asthma problems for your family.
Bringing in a crawl space dehumidifier will condition the inside air. Closing off your vents will prevent outside air from entering, but the dehumidifier will remove moisture from the air that’s already in your crawl space. This will help combat existing humidity problems and keep your insulation dry.
As mentioned earlier, you may or may not need a full encapsulation depending on the condition of your crawl space. Nonetheless, ignoring any problem signs, no matter how big or small, could lead to more damage and even more expensive repairs.
Protecting your home’s foundation will not only improve the living environment for your family, but also give you peace of mind and the stability your home needs. Prevent moisture problems before it’s too late with Indiana Foundation Service’s crawl space encapsulation.