A vented crawl space in your Orlando, FL, home may not seem like a threat. But the ugly truth is it creates a suitable environment for mold growth and fungus, and it attracts a host of pests, bugs, and rodents, all while increasing your monthly energy costs. A damaged crawl space also decreases your home’s value and can have devastating consequences on your health.
If you’re unsure of what a damaged crawl space looks like, here are several signs and their respective fixes.
1. High humidity levels
Does your crawl space or other areas of your home smell damp and muggy? This is a sign of moisture buildup or infiltration. This moisture comes from the water that seeps into your crawl space through leaking pipes, foundation walls, and condensation that occurs when outdoor air mixes with your warmer conditioned air. Left unchecked, runaway moisture promotes mold and mildew growth, pest infestation, and wood rot. These have the potential to damage or compromise your home’s structural integrity.
Fix: Install a vapor barrier and dehumidifier
A 20-mil plastic vapor barrier inhibits ground moisture from leaching into your crawl space. It also stops moisture-laden air from flowing into the crawl space, meaning less moisture ends up in this space. In addition, the vapor barrier helps keep your floors and living areas warm throughout winter. A dehumidifier also will help remove excess moisture and improve the overall air quality in your home.
2. Excessive water or flooding
Increased rain throughout winter may end up in low-lying areas like the crawl space. Apart from triggering mold and pest problems mentioned above, standing water in the crawl space can cause your home’s subflooring to warp or buckle. If this goes on for a long time, your home’s structure may start rotting, and this lowers its structural integrity.
Fix: Install interior drainage and sump pumps
If you have a crawl space with standing water issues, the first step you should take is to clear out the water. Replace any burst pipes and repair leaky faucets. Another way you can stop water from pooling in this area of your home is to waterproof your crawl space by installing a good interior drainage system and a sump pump. The perimeter interior drainage system collects seeping water, directs it to the sump pump, and the sump pump removes this water from your home and keeps it away from the foundation.
3. Cracks in the foundation
Crawl space walls are vulnerable and tend to crack if they don’t have a proper vapor barrier or a robust encapsulation system. These cracks allow moisture to seep into your space, leaving you with serious moisture issues, which cause the cracks to widen over time, letting in more water. Before you know it, the damage in your crawl space will snowball out of control leaving you with costly repairs.
Fix: Caulk cracks
When dealing with cracks that are between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch, it is best to seal them up to keep moisture from entering your home. We recommend that you use a caulk that is compatible with concrete for longer-lasting results. But when in doubt, trust any foundation or crack repair to a professional contractor.
4. Failing support beams
Your crawl space has beams that support the floor and structure above. Unfortunately, wood rot and gnawing pests can damage them. Your once-strong beams won’t be sturdy enough to hold your house or the structure.
Fix: Replace and reinforce the beams
Once the support beams rot, there is no recourse but to replace them. Buy new beams and ask your crawl space repair contractor to install them. Also, if the beams are not in complete disrepair, they can be reinforced with a special crawl space stabilizer so you no longer have sagging, bouncing floors.
5. Higher energy bills
A home with a vented or dirt crawl space costs more to maintain a comfortable temperature. This is because the crawl space allows heated air to escape from the house to the outside air to enter your home, making it uncomfortable. Your HVAC system will have to work harder to create and maintain a comfortable indoor environment, leading to higher energy bills.
Fix: Seal vents and encapsulate the crawl space
One of the best ways you can manage your energy bills is by sealing the vents. Start by having airtight vent covers placed on the home’s exterior to conceal the vents. Then, encapsulate the crawl space with a thick and durable vapor barrier. Together, these systems will keep outdoor air from entering your home.
Protect your crawl space
From making your home more comfortable during winter to saving money on energy bills, crawl space encapsulation transforms your home.
If you think your crawl space is damaged, do not hesitate to contact the professionals at Florida Foundation Authority. Our qualified crawl space inspectors will be able to pinpoint what’s going on with your crawl space, and our experienced installation crews will repair your crawl space and seal it to lock out moisture and make it less attractive to pests. Get in touch with us to schedule a free crawl space inspection and repair quote.