Your Crawl Space Can Have an Impact on Your Health

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 by Corey Mosher

Nasty Crawl Space

I was on an inspection in Sackville last month and wanted to share some thoughts on how Nasty Crawl Spaces can impact your Health and the Health of your Home.

 Some homeowners don’t realize how important the crawl space beneath their home is in regards to their family’s health and the energy efficiency of their home. A lot of us actually forget it’s there until that damp musty smell starts to invade the rest of the home. Most homeowners would like to pretend that the crawlspace doesn’t have an affect on our home. The crawlspace is actually a very important area in your home, and its condition can greatly impact your health – you may even be at risk for serious illness and not even know it. The natural airflow in a home is sometimes referred to as the chimney effect. Outside air is drawn into the lowest levels of the home and begins to rise, like the air in a chimney, up through the upper levels of the home. 

Ground Water SeepageHave you noticed a damp, musty smell or high levels of indoor humidity? Noticed more bugs or pests than usual? The air in a humid crawlspace can be full of mold, fungi, dust mites and other allergens. Breathing this air can cause asthma and other respiratory problems. This is why the health of your crawlspace is so important. There are many factors that can contribute to rising humidity in your crawlspace. The biggest factor is simply the uncovered dirt floor. A lot of homes with dirt crawlspaces have no waterproofing systems installed to help prevent ground water intrusion. It is very common to see standing water in a dirt crawl after a heavy rainstorm. Unless the previous homeowner had one installed, their typically is no drainage system or sump pump. After a severe rain storm, the crawlspace can also flood. This pool of water usually sits stagnant for an extended period of time before it’s even discovered. It will eventually evaporate into the air and then rise through the rest of the house. Insects and other pests thrive in these cool, damp places. A crawlspace is usually left undisturbed, providing a safe haven for pests looking for a home. Some may actually nest in your crawlspace without you even being aware. Some of these pests can damage the wood in the house and contribute to the unhealthy air that flows through the home. Twenty percent of a home’s energy is lost through its basement or crawlspace foundation walls. The foundation walls are typically large masses of concrete that draw in the warm conditioned air. Insulating the walls can greatly increase the energy efficiency of a home and save you money at the same time. Eventually, a properly insulated crawlspace will pay for itself in energy savings. The CleanSpace crawl space vapor barrier is a great solution to any crawlspace humidity problem. This durable, bright white crawl space liner is installed on the walls and floors to prevent water vapor and humidity from passing through. By keeping your crawl space dry, you are protecting your structure and insulation from mold and rot. Mice and other pests are deterred by the plastic vapor barrier and flooding waters will be kept at bay.

MOLD on insulationHaving your crawlspace properly sealed will also help eliminate odors and allergenic mold spores that would otherwise rise up through the floor and into your home due to the “stack effect.” As an additional benefit, the CleanSpace crawl space vapor barrier acts as a passive radon mitigation system. It is also compatible with any active radon mitigation system as well as other crawlspace products like crawlspace sump pumps and dehumidifiers.





Check out this great video to learn more:

Dirt Crawl Spaces: A Housing Epidemic



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