Your crawl space has an immediate and comprehensive impact on the health of your entire home. This small space often goes overlooked in your initial inspection of a new property. As you settle into homeownership, you may also find yourself neglecting your crawl space in favor of the other, more family-focused parts of your home.
Unfortunately, an unprepared homeowner can face serious problems with their crawl space, with those problems growing more complex over the years. If you’re careful and work to get ahead of the damage, you can protect not just your crawl space but the whole of your home.
Common First-Year Problems
If you’ve just moved onto a new property, you’re likely awash with all your new responsibilities. Don’t let the duty you owe your new crawl space go overlooked. The sooner you’re able to assess your new crawl space for damage, the sooner you’ll be able to invest in repairs. Alternatively, if nothing is wrong, you can work with area professionals to determine what preventive measures may keep your home safe for years to come.
Mold and Wood Rot
Mold and wood rot may not be the same things, but they both have detrimental effects on the health of your home. Wood rot, a fungus, eats away at your wooden supports once it’s taken root, needing only moisture and warmth to grow. Molds don’t have as much of an impact on your home’s structural integrity. They can, however, invade every porous surface they come into contact with, provided they have moisture and warmth to incubate them. All molds can cause your family to develop respiratory problems in the long term while also devaluing your property.
Higher Electric and Water Bills
The higher the humidity gets in your home, the harder your HVAC system has to work to compensate for its temperature-changing tenancies. A leaking crawl space can raise your energy bill by a significant degree.
Similarly, high levels of humidity in your home can cause unprotected pipes to start leaking. Even as your water pressure drops, your water bill will rise, costing you a pretty penny.
If moisture can get into your home, then pests can, too. Insects like carpenter ants can eat away at your wooden supports, while squirrels and chipmunks make nests in your insulation. These critters not only damage the structural supports in your crawl space but also put your family’s health at risk.
Common Fifth-Year Problems
If you make a point of installing preventative measures or repairing crawl space damage in the early years of your homeownership, you may not have many crawl space problems to contend with in the years to come. Around year five, any problems you previously overlooked may have started to make themselves known. These can include:
You don’t have to install insulation in your crawl space. Doing so, however, has its advantages. Insulation in your crawl space keeps the rest of your home comfortable while also creating a physical barrier between your crawl space and any water that tries to make its way inside.
Unfortunately, some types of insulation are vulnerable to water damage. If you fail to replace damaged insulation over the years, the same material that once protected your home can instead become a haven for mold spores and invading critters.
If you leave cracks and seepage unattended in the earlier years of your tenure as a homeowner, those problems will grow worse. Come your fifth year of owning a home, you’ll likely be contending with water damage on a more regular basis. You may even find yourself regularly bailing water out of your crawl space, especially if there are cracks or splits between the joints of your crawl space and the rest of your home.
Common Tenth-Year Problems
By the time you’ve been in the same home for 10 years, you may feel as though you know all the ins and outs of your property. If you haven’t been consistent in scheduling home inspections, however, it’s possible that minor damage in your crawl space may have gotten away from you.
As mentioned, your crawl space has more sway over the health of your home than its size suggests. If you’ve left problems unattended for several years, you may start to notice significant structural damage throughout the upper levels of your home. Signs of exacerbated crawl space damage 10 years into your homeownership include:
- Damaged structural supports
- Warping floors
- A sinking foundation
- Sagging floors
Overcoming Common Crawl Space Problems with Professional Guidance
It’s difficult enough to discover a serious crawl space problem if you don’t know what common signs of damage to look for. Treating crawl space problems can be just as challenging, especially if you don’t know what first steps to take.
The professional contractors serving Richmond, VA, won’t let you go through this process alone. If you suspect that something’s wrong with your crawl space, you can reach out to schedule a consultation. Professionals with JES Foundation Repair will provide you with a free services quote that you can look over at your leisure.