You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the crawl space under your house. Items may sometimes go there for storage, and after that the space is forgotten for months or even years at a time. Unfortunately, however, there are three potential crawl space problems you should be aware of. Ignoring them could damage any items you are storing there or cause structural damage to your home. Here is what you need to watch out for.
Water can seep into a crawl space from just about anywhere. If your space has a dirt floor, it can even come up through the ground. Without proper ventilation, this water stays sitting in the crawl space, keeping it damp. Dampness leads to mold, mildew and rotting wood. The best solution is often to install a drainage system followed by a concrete crawl space liner, like those offered by Perma-Dry Waterproofing & Drainage, Inc. This allows for improved exterior drainage and a concrete shell that keeps water out.
Insects and rodents find crawl spaces very comfortable and homey. To keep them out, you’ll need to look for any cracks or crevices and seal them with caulk. A vapor barrier will also help slow the invasion of unwanted critters, as will the concrete liner mentioned previously. This works because moisture is attractive to insects and other pests who need a water source close to their nest to survive. A lack of water makes your space less attractive. Of course, it’s not always possible to exclude all unwanted guests all the time, so be sure to have an exterminator check your space periodically and address any issues that he finds.
Your furnace and other large mechanical systems aren’t located in your crawl space, but there could still be some mechanical things there. HVAC ducts often run through crawl spaces where they can pick up mold or mildew and spread the spores throughout the house. Exposed electrical wires may also be present in your crawl space, along with plumbing pipes. Make sure any duct work in your crawl space is properly sealed. Have an electrical contractor reroute exposed wiring and make sure any insulation or plumbing pipes are in good condition.
A poorly maintained crawl space can cause many problems, including a crumbling foundation, damaged subfloor, higher energy bills and poor air quality throughout the home. Exposed electrical wires can also present a fire hazard. To avoid problems, check your crawlspace often and have a professional inspect it frequently.