In the past, contractors believed that ventilation would keep a crawl space dry by circulating natural airflow around the humid space. Experts now know that open ventilation only allows more moisture to infiltrate the crawl space than it can block out. What can protect your crawl space against moisture infiltration?
The experts at JES Foundation Repair can install vent covers over your existing vents. This will ensure that no moisture can seep through, and your home will stay safe and healthy.
How Will I Know My Crawl Space Is Having Issues?
Even if you are unsure of where your crawl space is, this does not mean you cannot keep an eye out for any signs that something is wrong within it. These signs are thankfully simple for the average homeowner to spot. What are some of the most common crawl space issues to look out for?
- Musty Smell
One of the more prominent signs of moisture infiltration in your crawl space is a musty smell that only seems to linger around your crawl space or first floor. This smell comes from standing water or even sewage that might leak its way through to this space. The longer you allow this water or sewage to sit in this small, overly warm space, the worse the smell will become.
- Mold, Mildew, and Fungus Growth
Black mold and mildew are disastrous for both the health of your family members and your home’s infrastructure as a whole. Those who suffer from asthma or chronic lung disease may also find their lungs infected with these fungi, which can cause significant distress and harm. Growth in your crawl space is especially dangerous because of your HVAC system. Their spores can easily float in the air within this system and spread much farther around your home.
Many different pests are attracted to moisture, including any standing water or humidity that may be found within your crawl space. You might find ants, cockroaches, termites, mice, or other pests are drawn to your damp crawl space.
If you notice leaks springing in your home, any standing water or moisture stuck in your crawl space may be seeping through the pores of your home’s walls or floor.
What Causes Problems Within the Crawl Space?
Identifying problem signs is a step in the right direction. Being able to pinpoint the cause, on the other hand, is far more useful in terms of preventing damage at all. What are some of the most common causes of crawl space water damage?
- The Stack Effect
Moisture can creep in via the stack effect. This is a natural consequence of open ventilation. Simply put, this effect occurs when cold air circulates below your floors. One of the other dangers this presents is moisture later condensing during the warmer months. Because of the airflow pattern from bottom to top, this moisture will then rise and circulate to the floors above to cause additional issues.
The stack effect can also apply to humid air as well. When the relative humidity of this already tiny space overflows past 100 percent capacity, your crawl space is likely to flood.
The relative humidity of a space is the amount of water vapor in the air versus how much moisture the air is capable of holding. It is a delicate ratio; the more moisture there is in the air, the more humid it is. Any higher than 100 percent and the moisture will start to condense into liquid drops.
Homes within particularly humid climates might find their crawl spaces flooded more often than not because of this. The only way to block out any moisture from seeping into your crawl space is to seal it off. How can you accomplish this?
The Solution: CrawlSeal™ Crawl Space Vent Covers
Installing vent covers over any crawl space vents you have is the simplest solution to your moisture issues. Though this might sound simple on the surface, vent cover installation is just one part of the crawl space repair process.
This process, known as crawl space encapsulation, is comprised of four steps. Vent cover installation is the third step. Draining any standing water and installing other waterproofing systems typically comes before vent cover installation. What part do vent covers play in the encapsulation process? How do they work to block out moisture infiltration?
- Keeps Moisture out Permanently
JES Foundation Repair’s CrawlSeal™ Crawl Space Vent Covers will keep your crawl space sealed off to moisture permanently. These covers are made of durable plastic that will never rot, rust, or blow away in severe weather. They are built to last, so you do not have to worry about ever replacing these covers, either. Their airtight protection will keep your crawl space permanently dry.
- Saves You Money
Installing vent covers over your crawl space’s ventilation system will not only protect the space from moisture but will also save you more money in the long run. Moisture is not the only element that can ruin a crawl space. The stack effect invites humidity in the summer and frigid air in the winter. This in turn will affect the humidity levels and temperature in your home.
By completely sealing your crawl space from the outside, you can save on costly energy bills. No more expensive heating bills in the winter and air conditioning bills in the summer. You can enjoy a comfortable, dry home without breaking the bank.
- Simple Installation
Installation is very simple. An expert will mechanically attach these covers over your old ventilation system within minutes.
Keep in mind that though installation might seem simple on the surface, you should still not attempt to add vent covers yourself. It is not safe for the average homeowner to go poking around their crawl space if they do not have any idea what they are doing. As its name implies, the crawl space is just large enough for an adult to crawl around in. All the important systems installed within this space leave a very narrow area to work with.
This is why you need to leave all crawl space repairs and installations to the experts at JES Foundation Repair. Our crawl space experts are familiar with all the inner workings of a crawl space, including where they might find any open vents.
Crawl Space Vent Covers
The crawl space is the hidden space between the ground and your first floor. Most homeowners do not even know about this space, so it is easy to dismiss any problems that might occur within it. However, ignoring crawl space issues is a huge mistake. The health of your crawl space reflects the health of the rest of your home as well.
- What Is the Crawl Space Used For?
The crawl space alone contains your home’s:
- HVAC system
- Electrical wiring
- Air ducts
Moisture is detrimental to every one of these systems, which is why you must keep your crawl space as dry as possible. Unfortunately, your home might have open crawl space vents installed. This can cause several issues that crawl space experts can help prevent if you catch them in time.
The crawl space allows for easier access to these systems, which means that an expert will not have to excavate the soil around your home. Rather, they can crawl around within this space and install handy moisture prevention methods directly.
- How Big Is a Crawl Space?
A crawl space ceiling can range anywhere from one to three feet off the ground. Even if your crawl space happens to be one of the taller ones, you still should not roam around blindly inside. You might accidentally kick a vital system, or worse, find yourself stuck inside with no one to help you out.
Your crawl space is far too narrow for many homeowners to successfully navigate. Even if you can access this space, the maze of wires and other delicate systems housed within will present several obstacles in your path. You need to leave all crawl space repairs to the crawl space experts at JES Foundation Repair. We have worked in countless crawl spaces, so we know how to navigate around safely to fix anything you need.
Installing vent covers over any open ventilation within your crawl space is just one part of an entire crawl space protection process known as encapsulation. There are quite a few steps to this process that work together to keep this important space dry.
- Drainage Systems, Sump Pumps, and Vapor Barriers
The first step of the encapsulation process is to drain out any standing water or sewage from your crawl space. It does not make sense to seal off a space that is still full of moisture, right? Experts may install a drainage system with a sump pump to accomplish this. This system will collect and redirect any water that seeps through away from this space so it will stay dry. This water is typically directed out to a more appropriate drainage site, or may even be distributed out onto your lawn.
They will then install a vapor barrier on the crawl space floor and walls. This will ensure the soil will not absorb too much moisture and weigh down on your foundation. Too much weight will likely cause the foundation to shift or crack, leading to a slew of other infrastructural issues.
- Vent Covers and Dehumidifiers
The last two steps involve installing vent covers over any open ventilation and a dehumidifier. Closing off the crawl space from any outside air is important, of course. Over time, however, the air trapped within this space is likely to become stale and even rot the crawl space from within. This is where a good dehumidifier comes in. It can easily cycle out stale air for fresher, dry air.
Of course, homes dwelling within drier climates will not need to install every step of this process. A crawl space expert might deem installing vent covers and a trusty dehumidifier to be enough in this case. Either way, these last two steps are crucial components to keeping your crawl space dry.
Looking for Crawl Space Contractors in Virginia, Maryland, or D.C.?
Dealing with any issues related to unwanted crawl space ventilation can certainly be a pain. Luckily, the experts at JES Foundation Repair can help. Our in-house team of crawl space experts can install sturdy CrawlSeal™ vent covers over your crawl space vents to prevent moisture from ruining anything.
Contact us to schedule a free crawl space inspection with us or ask for a quote on our innovative CrawlSeal™ vent covers. We proudly serve all of Hampton Roads from Virginia Beach throughout Williamsburg and surrounding areas. We also service northern Virginia, D.C., and southern Maryland.