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Condensation is a big problem in many people’s crawl spaces. What can you do to make it easier for you to manage crawl space condensation?

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Crawl Space Foundation Problems: Fixing Condensation More Easily

Condensation in the crawl space is a big problem for a lot of people. If you don’t know why it happens or how to avoid it, you can end up with plenty of condensation in your crawl space, which can then become a serious issue due to the secondary concerns. If you’re looking for a better way to deal with crawl space condensation, keep reading.

How to Find Condensation Problems in Your Crawl Space

The first step is being able to find the condensation in the first place. Here are the best ways to uncover condensation concerns in your home’s crawl space.

  • Look at Home Warning Signs

There are going to be secondary warning signs when you have condensation in your crawl space. After all, the crawl space shouldn’t have water in it, which means there are going to be problems with your crawl space in one context or another. These are a few of the more obvious warning signs to consider:

  • Mold and mildew
  • Wood rot
  • Musty-smelling crawl space
  • Standing water
  • High indoor humidity

You’ll notice that these warning signs encompass both the crawl space and the rest of your home. Because your home as a whole shares up to 50% of its air with your crawl space, problems you have in your crawl space will also have a reflection in your home as a whole.

  • Request an Expert Inspection

Every year, you should schedule an inspection from a crawl space repair expert. Crawl space repair experts are there for a reason; they can give you more information about your crawl space, let you know exactly what’s happening and why, and give you information about how they can fix those problems. Crawl space repair experts are your best bet at uncovering everything.

Some people are hesitant to do yearly crawl space inspections, likely because they feel like it’s not worth it. You may wonder why you should do an inspection when it doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong. This inspection isn’t just looking for things that have serious problems right now; it’s also looking for things that might cause a problem. By doing yearly crawl space inspections, you are investing in your home’s future. 

  • Inspect Your Home by Yourself

Yearly expert inspections are a great way to get more information about your crawl space’s intricate details, but an expert doesn’t live in your home every day like you do. That’s why it’s also important to do an inspection by yourself. When you do, you can make sure you know the state of your home in general and your crawl space specifically.

You don’t have to do super in-depth inspections for a crawl space inspection to be effective. You can just look around your home and take note of anything that seems like it might be odd or different than it was last time. For example, you can check for chimney cracks, which are typically fairly easy to spot and don’t require a lot of specialized tools.

What Is the Potential Impact of Crawl Space Condensation?

Sometimes, understanding why you need to care about a home problem is as easy as understanding the consequences of not caring. These are just a few of the potential impacts you may experience if you ignore the warning sign of crawl space condensation.

  • In the Crawl Space Itself

The crawl space suffers when there’s condensation in it. Your crawl space typically has a lot of things that water can damage, including floor joists and other support structures. When you allow water into your crawl space, you unfortunately also open yourself up to plenty of serious problems that can then develop in your crawl space.

Crawl space condensation typically needs high crawl space humidity, which means you’re going to end up with a very generally humid crawl space. That makes it a breeding ground for things like wood rot and mold, both of which require high levels of humidity. When you have crawl space condensation, you’re going to end up with an unhealthy crawl space.

  • In the Rest of Your Home 

That humidity doesn’t just stay in your crawl space, either. Crawl space air moves into the rest of the home as well, which means your entire home is going to end up with humidity problems. High indoor humidity comes with problems. You can end up with similar issues as with the crawl space but magnified across the entire home.

For example, if you thought it would be frustrating to have mold growing in your crawl space, think about how it would feel to have mold growing in all your kitchen cabinets or across the entire pantry. If you thought humidity would be annoying in your crawl space, think about how it would feel for your home to be humid all the time. It’s generally a frustrating experience, which is why you should tackle it in your crawl space immediately.

  • As a Result of the Base Problem 

Whatever’s causing your crawl space condensation will also have an impacts beyond the condensation. For example, say the crawl space condensation is happening because your crawl space has standing water in it. That standing water will start to break down the walls of the crawl space, potentially creating huge amounts of mold and slimy mildew, undoing your insulation, and much more.

You have to think about what you can do to fix the base problem of your crawl space. Whether that’s installing a sump pump, encapsulating your crawl space, or otherwise managing your crawl space’s health, the base problem should be the one you think about. Think of crawl space condensation as a symptom of a deeper problem, not as the problem itself.

FAQs About Crawl Space Condensation

This is a difficult question to answer, and it’s one that doesn’t necessarily have a single response. Handling crawl space condensation requires a multi-pronged approach. Here are a few of the things to put your weight into.

  •  Think of It as a Symptom

Part of the problem is that you have to think of crawl space condensation as a symptom, not a problem in and of itself. Putting a dehumidifier in the crawl space might solve the symptom, but it won’t solve the underlying problem. You need to figure out what’s causing your crawl space to have such high levels of humidity. 

Of course, the cause of most humidity is very simple; water is getting into your crawl space. The question is how this water is getting into your property. There are two basic ways water can get into your crawl space; through internal leaks or from outside. Internal leaks, like leaking pipes, are easy to spot and fix, but external sources of water can be more insidious.

  • Tackle the Underlying Cause

This is the main goal of crawl space encapsulation. Encapsulation manages the elements of the crawl space that tend to cause condensation and dampness. This includes closing crawl space vents, installing a crawl space vapor barrier, and adding a dehumidifier to reduce humidity from the rest of the home. If your crawl space is prone to recurring issues with standing water, it may also include sump pump installation. 

This is because one of the most influential factors in the formation of condensation in a crawl space is relative humidity. We will help you to manage the humidity in the air by first and foremost removing sources of standing water. 

  •  Talk to an Expert

Managing your home’s crawl space condensation should be something you do with the help of an expert, who can go down into your crawl space, take a look around, and see what you need to do to make it healthier. When you talk to a Groundworks expert, they can help you develop a solution for your home’s unique problems.

There are many different benefits to calling in an expert to help you to manage your crawl space climate. First and foremost, professionals will know how to find all of the factors which are contributing to dampness, condensation, and humidity in your home. Secondly, they will be able to formulate and deploy a tailored solution that gives you the best possible results. 

Even if the humidity in your home as a whole is under 60%, which is the generally accepted “safe” humidity level for crawl spaces, that doesn’t mean that the crawl space is under 60% or that it doesn’t have condensation. 

  • A Cooler Crawl Space

The difference in temperature between your home and the outside world has a huge part to play in how condensation forms in your crawl space. Crawl spaces tend to be cooler than the rest of the home, which will make the humidity level higher — 2.2% higher for every degree Fahrenheit cooler. This means that if your home is at 60% humidity, the crawl space only needs to be 18 degrees cooler than the rest of the home for that to rocket up to 100% humidity, which is enough for condensation to form.

If your crawl space is properly encapsulated, this is far less likely to happen, but an exposed crawl space can become very damp, very quickly. This is especially the case during warm and humid summer months when there is a dramatic difference between the temperature around your home and underneath it. 

  •  Open Crawl Space Vents

If you have open crawl space vents, you could have air come in from the outside, which can collide with the air you already have indoors and cause it to raise the humidity levels over 100%, therefore creating condensation. This is one of the biggest reasons to remove crawl space vents from your home, or to at least cover them.

Crawl space vents were initially installed into homes because they were believed to help in managing dampness and humidity. Of course, we now know that they exacerbate dampness by leaving your home open to the elements. As such, crawl space vent covers have become commonplace additions to most homes; they are one of the most cost-effective ways to protect a property with crawl space vents.

When you don’t understand condensation, it can seem that it forms “out of thin air.” However, condensation forms when humidity in the air goes above a certain threshhold. If you have a lot of humidity, eventually you may have condensation that forms.

  • Relative Humidity

Condensation in general forms when the relative humidity in an area reaches over 100%. This means that the air has reached its capacity for holding moisture; in short, there’s too much water vapor in the air for the air to hold it. The excess water vapor has to go somewhere, so it condenses on whatever surface it can find. 

This can lead to wet walls and pooling water on the floor, or any other flat surface. There is one more necessary factor, however; cold. Condensation forms on cool surfaces in a humid environment. This is why shaded or otherwise sheltered areas, like crawl spaces and basements, are more prone to condensation. 

  •  Warm and Cool Areas

One element of condensation to keep in mind is that cooler air can’t hold as much water vapor as warmer air. Condensation is much more likely to form in a cooler area than in a warmer area because it can handle less water vapor in the air. As such, the relative humidity capacity of a space that is cold is lower than the relative humidity capacity of a space that is warm. 

That’s why, during the summer, warm air that makes its way into your crawl space, basement, or pantry can quickly form condensation as the air cools and loses its capacity to hold moisture. Understanding this interplay is important for ensuring that you can manage the humidity levels in your property and protect your home, your property, and, of course, yourself.

Some people might not fully understand how important it is to consider crawl space condensation when they’re thinking about the healthiness of their crawl space and their home as a whole. The truth is that it’s vital to manage your home’s crawl space condensation.

  • Healthiness 

Managing your crawl space condensation is a crucial part of ensuring that your crawl space is as healthy as possible. If you have condensation, you have standing water in the crawl space, no matter how small the amount of standing water is, and that can seriously impact your crawl space’s health and stability. It can affect the health of your whole home and even your family.

You see, dampness in a property’s crawl space can quickly lead to pest infestation and mold formation. The problem is that these issues do not stay in your crawl space; mold can take root in your HVAC system. At the same time, pests can find their way into your home and, as warm air rises, it will pull the air from your crawl space, along with the musty smell, into your property. 

  •  Humidity

The humidity levels of your crawl space are going to be higher if you have crawl space condensation. Humidity is one of the worst things that can happen to a crawl space, which means you need to focus a lot of attention on reducing or removing humidity levels in the crawl space. Condensation means that your crawl space has a humidity problem.

Humidity has many implications for your health and the health of your home, of course, but it can also have an impact on your bottom line. Humid air is harder to heat and cool than dry air and this means that your HVAC system has to work harder. This uses more energy and will cost you more money on your bills.

  •  Impacts Across the Entire Home

You may not think about crawl space condensation a lot but remember that it will have repercussions across the rest of your home. There’s no such thing as crawl space condensation that only impacts the crawl space. If you have crawl space condensation, it’s going to impact everything else as well.

As well as impacting your energy bills, the environment in your home, causing musty smells, and causing mold to form, humidity is generally disruptive. Those with underlying respiratory problems, for example, will find humidity uncomfortable if they have to deal with it in any prolonged sense. As such, it pays to address it quickly.

A Groundworks Expert Will Make It Easier for You to Manage Your Crawl Space Condensation

As you can see, crawl space condensation is a genuine concern that you need to take seriously. If you don’t take your crawl space condensation problems seriously, you could end up with even more significant problems, especially if the condensation is occurring because of a crawl space waterproofing issue.

Crawl space condensation doesn’t need to be a difficult thing to approach or address. You can schedule a free inspection with GW and have an expert walk you through your problem as well as different ways you can address it.

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