Wet and sagging insulation in your crawl space can be a very worrying sight for any homeowner. You may not know much about the topic, but you probably know at least a little bit about the fact that insulation all around your home is important.
If you currently have wet crawl space insulation, it’s important to replace it. The thing is, many people don’t know very much about it. That can lead to problems when you’re trying to determine a way to replace existing insulation with new insulation.
Crawl Space Moisture Control Solutions – Virginia, Maryland, and DC
Identifying & Repairing Crawl Space Issues Related To Humidity, Moisture, & Condensation
How Do I Know If I Have Wet Insulation in My Crawl Space?
Take a look at these pictures of wet and sagging insulation in a crawl space. You can see homes with destroyed ductwork, moldy insulation, and dripping crawl spaces. The good news for you is that if you’re able to catch wet crawl space insulation early, you can avoid many of these extremely significant problems.
Wet Crawl Space Insulation FAQ
Wet crawl space insulation can be confusing for homeowners. What’s wrong with wet insulation? Why do you need to replace it? What are your options moving forward? If you have any of these questions, don’t worry. JES can help you with the right answers.
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.
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.
Understanding why you need to deal with wet crawl space insulation starts with understanding the impacts of wet crawl space insulation on your home. Although you may not have a lot of knowledge about wet crawl space insulation, you don’t need to know much to understand why it can seriously damage the structure.
If you have wet crawl space insulation, you’re going to be dealing with these problems along the way.
A Loss of Insulation Efficiency
Wet crawl space insulation simply doesn’t insulate your home as well as dry insulation does. When your crawl space insulation gets wet, regardless of the reason, you’re going to start having problems insulating your home properly.
This issue with insulation can lead to higher energy bills and can make you run the air conditioner more frequently. That can, in turn, run the air conditioner down more quickly, causing you to have to replace it sooner than you would otherwise.
Overall, this loss of insulation efficiency doesn’t just impact how you feel in the home. It can lead to a number of different problems, including problems with seemingly unrelated things like your air conditioner. A JES inspection can uncover this issue before it impacts other elements of your home.
Mold and Mildew
Because crawl space insulation retains moisture so well, it’s a great place for mold and mildew to grow. Although mold typically requires at least a 70% relative humidity to grow, wet crawl space insulation can provide a higher level of humidity because it’s resistant to drying over time.
That means you may find mold and mildew growing on crawl space insulation even when the relative humidity in your crawl space is lower than 70%. Because mold and mildew can both have serious health impacts on you and your family, it’s imperative that you handle it as soon as it comes up.
It’s also important to remember that you typically can’t clean up mold and mildew on your own. If you get that into your lungs, it can be very difficult to recover from. Instead, contact a JES professional, who can clean it up without having those problems.
Wood Rot and Structural Damage
As the crawl space insulation retains moisture, you’re going to find that the relative humidity of the whole area rises. That’s especially true if you have wet crawl space insulation because of standing water or an ongoing leak.
That high relative humidity then invites a variety of structural damage problems. You may find that wood rot flourishes or that mold and mildew start to eat away at the floor joists in the home. This structural damage can build over many years.
Structural damage can be very difficult to recover from, especially if you leave it for many years. If you have wet crawl space insulation, an inspection from JES can help you uncover any structural problems and fix them.
What can you do to fix the wet and sagging crawl space insulation problems you’re dealing with? You shouldn’t dive headfirst into the crawl space insulation to try and fix it yourself. The only way to fix wet crawl space insulation for good is to hand it over to the professionals.
There are a few methods you may need to look into when you’re trying to fix the wet crawl space insulation. Here are a few of the options a JES expert may recommend.
Crawl Space Encapsulation
If you have a dirt crawl space or crawl space vents, you’re probably going to want to invest in crawl space encapsulation. This blocks off all areas of entrance when it comes to crawl space moisture, typically by installing a vapor barrier and closing any crawl space vents.
This isn’t a weekend project, partially because if you don’t do it properly, you can continue to let in water over time. It’s important that you perform crawl space encapsulation properly if you want to avoid moisture in your crawl space in the future.
You can trust a professional to encapsulate the space properly, which is something you need to be completely certain of if you’re going to pursue encapsulation. Get in touch with a JES expert to learn more about your crawl space encapsulation options.
Fully Replacing the Insulation
Wet crawl space insulation sucks up moisture. That means you can’t just hope the insulation will dry out over time. You actually have to replace the wet crawl space insulation so it doesn’t keep letting moisture into the crawl space.
Crawl space insulation can be very dangerous to install, especially if you don’t have the right tools for it. Instead of trying to remove and replace the crawl space insulation on your own, it’s a good idea to hand this over to the experts.
When you allow a JES expert to replace the insulation in your crawl space, you know the insulation will be completely replaced. You won’t have to deal with lingering moisture from wet insulation and you won’t have to worry about the dangers of the replacing process.
Fixing Any Tertiary Problems
One of the most important things you need to do with wet crawl space insulation is make sure the problem actually ends up being fixed. You can’t just replace the crawl space insulation and expect all your problems to go away if you still have standing water or a plumbing leak.
There’s a reason for your wet crawl space insulation. Even if you don’t know it yet, you need to figure out why you’re getting wet crawl space insulation and fix that problem.
This is one of the most important reasons to book a free inspection with JES. After your inspection, you’ll know what’s causing the wet crawl space insulation. You can fix the water leak and maintain a healthy crawl space again.
Let a JES Expert Help You With Your Crawl Space Insulation Problems Today
There are many potential reasons you might have wet crawl space insulation. You need to know how to deal with wet insulation in your crawl space for good, rather than just putting a bandage over it.
If you currently have wet or sagging insulation in your crawl space, there’s only one way to fix it. Talk to a JES crawl space expert to learn more about your potential options.