Studies show that as much as 50% of the air in your home travels up from your crawlspace. This air is often higher in relative humidity than your indoor air, and it can carry musty odors and symptom-triggering allergens, such as mold spores, mildew, bacteria, and dust mites. Moreover, too-damp air in your crawlspace can damage your home’s infrastructure, wood flooring, and HVAC systems. That’s why it is so important to keep these areas dry and clean.
What is “Crawlspace Encapsulation” and how does it benefit me?
There are many different ideas that homeowners have about encapsulation. There are many aspects of performing a proper encapsulation installation, but it is actually a very simple process. The goal of crawlspace encapsulation is to enable you, the homeowner, to control the conditions of the space under your home. This is done by installing a dehumidifier to condition the air. Multiple scientific studies and engineering data shows that a conditioned crawlspace is highly preferable to an open-air, “ventilated” type of crawlspace. In order to treat, or “condition” the air in the crawlspace though, there are several preparations that must be made. You can’t simply throw a dehumidifier down there.
If you’re reading this, there’s a 99% chance you have a ventilated type of crawlspace under your home. This is because since the 1800’s, homes have been built with the premise that foundation vents should be installed to allow airflow under the home. At the time, this was actually a great idea. From early times through the 1900’s, homes have been built out of wood and placed very close to the ground. Wood easily absorbs moisture, so early homeowners quickly realized that ground moisture would quickly rot a home’s structure and floors, and so venting was introduced. Venting allowed ground moisture to escape through holes in the foundation walls – foundation vents as we know them today – and this was a great thing that prolonged the life of wood structures for several decades. The problem with foundation vents through, is they leave you at the mercy of the weather conditions outside. If it’s cold outside, it’s cold in the crawlspace. Same with humidity in the summer.
Plastic was invented shortly after World War II. Builders quickly realized laying ground plastic was a great way to prevent ground moisture from evaporating into the home. The problem we have in the South though, is very humid summers. Humidity has plagued Southern homeowners for centuries, and until very recently there has been no way to deal with it. The #1 cause of structural failure in residential buildings is water damage. The #2 cause is humidity damage, which includes mold growth. Mold is a type of fungus that destroys wood. Since it is incredibly humid in Georgia for half of the year, mold growth has always been a major concern. It has only been recently acknowledged that mold is a health concern, but not many new homeowners understand how important it is to keep mold growth out of the home for structural reasons.
See our Mold page for more information on mold in crawlspaces, and how we remove growth if it has already occurred. Encapsulation is the only guaranteed way to prevent new growth from occurring, since we are removing the key item mold needs to thrive – moisture.
Crawlspace encapsulation is the solution to the humidity problem. By preventing ground moisture with high quality plastic, we have stopped water from evaporating from the earth into your home. Now, we understand the science of humidity, so the next step is to seal off all sources of exterior air intrusion. This is done primarily by closing and permanently sealing foundation vents. Now hot, humid summer air stays outside where it belongs, and cannot get under your home. Now that you have a sealed space, the air under the home can be easily and efficiently conditioned, or treated, by installing a dehumidifier. This allows you to control the conditions year-round. An encapsulated crawlspace is healthier for you and your home because you have now prevented excess humidity in the space under the house.
Please contact us to set an appointment.
Crawlspaces and More
234 Mountain View Road
Carnesville, GA 30521
Phone: (800) 701-9828