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Dealing With Wet Crawl Spaces

home performance indicators wet crawlspace

At Bradley Mechanical, we think of your crawl space as a miniature basement. It’s just as important to control the moisture in these small, out-of-sight spaces as any other part of your home. In fact, 40 to 60 percent of the air that you breathe in your home comes through your crawl space — so it’s important to make sure you have top quality air control. Bradley Mechanical provides expert crawl space services to the Central Virginia area, so our customers know they’re breathing in the best air possible. Learn more about crawl space issues below.

What Causes Wet Crawl Spaces?

Common building convention is to vent both the spaces above your home (such as a roof) and the spaces below it. These practices continue today despite new building research on the physical laws that drive building performance issues.

Here are some of the top causes of moisture accumulation in crawl spaces:

  1. When vents remain open and unblocked, a significant amount of humid air is allowed to enter the space where it may cause sweating and condensation.
  2. Open, uncovered soil may act as a transport mechanism for moisture as it is wicked off of the surface and delivered to the spaces above.
  3. The vapor barrier is poor, does not overlap, sealed at the piers or sealed along the entire perimeter.
  4. Masonry walls themselves can wick up moisture from the ground, especially during a rainstorm or when gutters have spilled over.

What Problems Do Wet Crawl Spaces Cause?

When the moisture levels rise in a crawl space it can affect system maintenance/life, building durability, and the air quality in spaces above. When things get wet you also run the risk of attracting bugs and causing a deterioration of structural integrity.

As surfaces condensate, electrical components are damaged, metal begins to rust, and fibrous insulation acts like a sponge and fails to work.

When Should A Crawl Space Be Intentionally Vented?

The only time Bradley Mechanical would recommend that a crawl space stay intentionally vented is if the site is continually wet or experiences a major wetting event every few years. This may occur if you are situated near a stream or river. Our technicians will make good notes of when gutters are present, clear and well-pitched, have good downspout extensions, and are proper grade — so that we choose the crawl space solution that is best for you.

Other Sources Of Moisture:

Moisture in crawl spaces may also result from plumbing leaks, blocked drains, condensate lines, and open sump pumps. Leaky ducts also can be another source if they are pushing cold air into the crawl space, which causes surfaces to sweat and further drive up humidity levels.

Moisture levels should be kept under 70 percent relative humidity during the summer in the crawl space and around 55 percent in the body of the house. An RH monitor can help log wetting events and determine if dedicated dehumidification is necessary.

Crawl Space Maintenance

Get in touch with Bradley Mechanical to hire a reliable technician to solve your home performance issues. You can also receive a free quote for crawl space service. We use a flat rate price to ensure that the job costs what is quoted, no surprise charges.

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