For a homeowner like you, controlling the moisture in your crawl space becomes an important task. If your crawl space becomes humid and damp, serious problems may begin to arise. You need to take care of those pesky mold and mildew. You have to get rid of the musty smell. You have to attend to the possible damage to the ductworks and the walls. In other words, you should be able to encapsulate and condition your crawl space very well. Now, if your crawl space is already giving you headache, here are some ways on how you can identify the possible sources of the problem and how you can implement the appropriate solutions to the problem:
- Check the floor. Is your crawl space floor made out of dirt or gravel? If that is the case, you have to fix it. Common problems, like poor quality of air, usually begin on the floor area of your crawl space. You have to understand that the air circulation inside your home picks up a number of things – from allergens (mold and mildew) to alkalines. Those things negatively affect the quality of the indoor air. They also encourage the growth of mold and mildew. You can finish your crawl space by pumping concrete into it (about four inches high). You can eventually use your crawl space as storage place. It is obviously dry and safe.
- Get rid of all the debris. Make sure that your crawl space is always clean. See if your crawl space has a big drop off area. It is alright to leave it like that. For instance, if there is a dirt pile there that serves as a wall, you may opt to keep it.
- Divert the water flow properly. You have to realize that stopping water is next to impossible. However, you can do something if you want to direct it. You have to keep your crawl space dry in order for it to become “healthy”. You need to install a four-inch drain tile (perforated) all around the exterior walls. The drain tile should be properly attached to a sump pit. The sump pit should have a corresponding sump pump. It should be high-performance and should be placed inside. It is going to help in ejecting the water based on your outside landscaping set up.
- Lay a vapor retarder. It is critical for your crawl space to have a vapor retarder. The unit should be high-performance, perhaps 10 mil or better. It should be placed on the ground. The set up should be air tight. Otherwise, it is difficult to keep the air under the vapor retarder. It is going to be useless.
Following the above listed suggestions can definitely help in improving the air quality inside your crawl space. And if you want to make your crawl space more energy-efficient, you can use a spray foam insulation. You need about two-inch thick inside your sill box and about a foot down. You can expect about 95% of the outside air to pass through this area.