The Causes of Wet Crawl Space Insulation

Why does crawl space insulation start sagging and create moisture around your home? There are actually a surprising number of reasons you may end up with wet crawl space insulation. These different reasons could all be true, or you could find that you’re handling one or more.

What’s happening to cause wet crawl space insulation in your home? Keep an eye out for any of these problems.

Open Crawl Space Vents 

This is, unfortunately, one of the most common causes of wet insulation in a crawl space. That’s because many years ago when crawl spaces first came into being, many people believed that crawl spaces needed to “breathe.” To that end, most crawl spaces had built-in vents to let in air from the outside and keep them healthy.

The thing is, we now know that open crawl space vents actually let in additional moisture by causing condensation when the warm outside air collides with the cool inside air. If you have open crawl space vents, you may have problems with condensation even if your home is itself good at maintaining a healthy level of humidity.

Loose Crawl Space Doors 

Many crawl spaces have doors to allow access. You may find the doors on the inside of the home or on the outside leading directly to the crawl space underneath. These doors are important because otherwise, someone won’t be able to gain access to the crawl space if they need that access for one reason or another.

Unfortunately, the crawl space doors need to be extremely tight. That’s true whether the doors exist inside the home or outside the home, although external doors definitely need to be more tight-fitting. Water is great at finding its way anywhere it wants to go, and if you have loose-fitting crawl space doors, water can come in easily.

Ground Water Seepage

Standing water is a huge problem in crawl spaces, and it can seriously impact the crawl space insulation. You can experience standing water in your crawl space for a variety of reasons. Groundwater seepage happens when hydrostatic pressure, or the pressure water exerts when it’s at rest, grows too extreme for the foundation walls or floor to hold.

When hydrostatic pressure becomes too significant, you’ll start to find cracks in the floor or walls. These cracks may be hairline, but you can often find them by the water they let into the basement. If you have groundwater seepage, you can’t just fix it by sealing the floor cracks. You actually have to fix the hydrostatic pressure building up from underneath.

Plumbing Leaks 

These tend to be easier to discover than other types of water leaks, but it’s still possible to have a plumbing leak you haven’t noticed. If water from the plumbing is leaking into your crawl space insulation, you can have a huge variety of problems. That includes not only wet crawl space insulation but also higher water bills and lower water pressure.

It’s important to get plumbing leaks fixed as soon as possible because plumbing leaks are damaging all on their own. However, it’s even more significant when you have a plumbing leak that’s dripping water into your crawl space insulation. Make sure you’re paying attention to the warning signs of a plumbing leak and schedule an inspection to see if it’s in your crawl space insulation.

Poor External Drainage 

You may never really think about it, but it’s important to have a functioning drainage system around your home. Your external drainage system actually plays an important rule in making sure your crawl space or basement stays dry. Standing water around your home will always tend to make an impact on the hydrostatic pressure your crawl space is dealing with, potentially increasing it even further.

The difference between wet crawl space insulation and dry crawl space insulation could come down to something as small as ensuring that your downspouts actually collect the water and divert it away from your home. If you’re not sure whether your external drainage system works properly, talk to a JES expert about making an appointment for a free inspection.

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