There are a variety of problems that arise when you have crawl space humidity that’s too high. These problems can range from very significant to relatively mild, but they’re all important. These are a few of the issues you might end up encountering if you have very high crawl space humidity.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew can often thrive in damp crawl spaces with humidity in the 60%-70% range. However, anytime you have high levels of humidity, you can have mold and mildew. This is especially true because when water condenses on surfaces, it raises the humidity of that surface, allowing for mold and mildew growth where it may not otherwise grow.
Most people think of the dangers of mold and mildew only in the context of mold spores, but this isn’t exactly accurate. These mold and mildew problems can lead to allergic reactions and respiratory conditions. No matter what they do, mold and mildew can cause serious problems in your home, so it’s best to take them seriously.
When you have mold and mildew, you might also end up with infestations of pests. Many pests actually feed on mold and mildew, which means you’ll create a great food source for these pests if you leave them unchecked. Infestations of even small pests can soon grow into a huge problem because those small pests represent food sources for larger pests.
Pest infestations can happen with even a very small initial infestation. For example, a mouse can have six babies per litter and up to 10 litters per year, which means one mouse can turn into 61 mice over the course of a single year. Whenever you notice even one pest, it’s important to start treating the problem as soon as possible.
High Upkeep Costs
Something you might not consider is that if you have a crawl space with high moisture content, you might end up with much higher upkeep costs than one with low moisture content. High-moisture air tends to be more difficult to condition than low-moisture air, which means you might need to lower your thermostat if you have a damp crawl space.
Additionally, crawl spaces with high levels of moisture typically get that way because of an existing problem, which is most commonly open crawl space vents. The combination of the additional conditioning necessary with high-moisture air and the fact that crawl space vents allow air in from the outside can lead to a 15-25% increase in your electric bills.
The Stack Effect
The stack effect refers to the way air functions in a home. Especially if you have open crawl space vents, air is coming in from the outside. As that air warms up, it rises, traveling throughout your home and eventually exiting through the chimney or attic. This isn’t necessarily a big problem on its own, but when you have a dirty crawl space, it becomes a significant concern.
Many things are small enough to become airborne. For example, mold spores, some pest droppings, and dirt from the crawl space can all become airborne and get carried up with the air that rises through your home due to the stack effect. That means the damp crawl space air, along with anything that’s light enough for the air to carry, goes throughout your whole home.