Your home’s insulation does more for its overall health than you might initially think. With that in mind, should you bother insulating your crawl space? And if you do, when’s the best time to inspect it for water damage?
Why Should You Insulate Your Crawl Space?
When you insulate your crawl space, you’re doing more than protecting your home from colder weather. You’re also creating a physical barrier between your home and the greater outdoors. This barrier can come in handy when you want to waterproof your home. While you’ll have your pick of all sorts of insulation, that barrier will help drive water away from your perimeter.
What Good Does an Insulation Inspection Do?
After you’ve installed your insulation, you have a responsibility to care for it. This means inspecting your insulation at least once a year, if not at the start of each new season.
Why do you need to inspect your insulation? When you use thermal insulation as a secondary waterproofing measure, it comes into contact with water and hydrostatic pressure somewhat frequently. If you don’t replace damaged insulation, it may become the perfect home for the mold particles that would otherwise fester in the darker corners of your home like the crawl space.
What Damage Signs Should You Look For?
It’s not as difficult as you might think to detect insulation damage. Damaged insulation that doubles as a waterproofing measure throughout your home will give itself away after a single heavy rainstorm. With that in mind, try to keep an eye out for any of the following:
- Inconsistent temperatures throughout your home
- Increasing electric or heat bills
- Signs of seepage throughout your crawl space
- Mildew or mold
- Standing water
If you find yourself dealing with any of these problems after heavy rain, you’ll want to get in touch with a professional for a thorough crawl space inspection and to discuss the different ways you can reinforce or replace your insulation.
How to Check Your Crawl Space Insulation
It’s often easiest to have a professional look over your crawl space for signs of insulation damage. If you want to do a bit of legwork on your own, take the following steps:
- Find your insulation
If you’re moving into a pre-built home, you’ll need to ask the previous owner whether they used internal or external insulation. You’ll want to know where your insulation is based in your crawl space so you can more effectively check it when the time comes.
- Classify your insulation
You’ll also want to know what kind of insulation you’re working with. As mentioned, insulation comes in many forms. Sometimes you’ll find yourself working with foam boards, and other times you’ll have to pull fiberglass out of the wall by hand. Either way, it’s best to know what kinds of materials you’ll be working with before starting. This way, you can better prepare for your inspection and any potential repairs.
- Start looking for damp spots
What’s the easiest way to detect a leak? Start looking for dampness. Your insulation – if it is fiberglass or other soft materials – will deflate when exposed to water for an extended period of time. If there’s a visual disturbance in your crawl space, it’s time to reach out to a professional and discuss insulation replacement.
- Listen to your nose
Your nose will also tell you when something in your walls has gone sour. Damp insulation smells musty. If you find yourself dealing with a persistent, bad smell, it’s time to look over your insulation. If you don’t act quickly, you may find yourself dealing with mold clusters that you don’t want to touch.
- Keep an eye out for additional damage
Finally, during a crawl space inspection, keep an eye out for other signs of water damage. Damp or damaged insulation or vapor barriers won’t be able to protect your home as ably as new insulation will. As such, if you’re able to spot puddles or moisture in your home, it’s time to replace your insulation.
Do you want help looking over your crawl space insulation? Or do you want to learn more about your insulating options? You can get in touch with one of the foundation and crawl space repair professionals operating out of the Baltimore area ASAP. A contractor will walk you through a crawl space check and help you identify any existing problems with your insulation and within your crawl space. You’ll also receive a free quote on any potential repair services.