Crawl Space Foundation Problems: How to Fix High Indoor Humidity More Easily
High indoor humidity is a problem that affects a large number of homes, especially ones that already exist in high-humidity areas. However, the thing to remember is that this doesn’t have to be a problem for you. Even if you live in a relatively high-humidity area, you can still maintain your home’s humidity at a level that’s healthy for you and your home’s structure. Here’s what to do to make your high indoor humidity easier to manage.
How to Discover High Indoor Humidity
The first thing to tackle is how you can discover that you have high indoor humidity in the first place. If you can’t feel it right off the bat, follow these steps to make it easier to recognize high indoor humidity problems.
Home Warning Signs
There are warning signs you can notice that will probably let you know you have indoor humidity that’s just too high. Indoor humidity could be too high even if you feel comfortable in your home. When you start seeing the following signs, you should contact an expert:
- Sticking doors and windows
- Mold and mildew
- Musty basement smell
- Crawl space condensation
Of course, these aren’t the only warning signs of high indoor humidity. Plus, if you’re seeing them, you’re going to be doing damage control more than you’re going to be avoiding harm in the first place. That’s why it’s a good idea to also do other things that will maintain your home’s indoor humidity at a healthy level.
- An Expert Inspection
Every year, it’s a good idea to do an expert inspection. This yearly expert inspection will give you everything you need to make sure you have a full understanding of all the problem signs [add link] you might have in your crawl space and how you can fix these problems. An expert will have plenty of information about this and will be able to guide you to an understanding of how best to proceed.
Some homeowners don’t do a yearly inspection because they often hear there’s nothing wrong with their crawl space. This is all the more reason to do that yearly inspection. You’re doing something right by maintaining your crawl space in this manner; an expert inspection will help you continue to do that.
- Your Inspection
It’s also important that you inspect your crawl space and your home in general. An expert will get down into your crawl space and look at what’s going on, but expert inspections only come around once per year. You live in your home every day, making you the perfect day-to-day inspector.
Your inspection won’t be as in-depth but you’re not trying to diagnose your problems. You’re just trying to look at the issues you might see. Whether you notice condensation on certain surfaces of your home or you’ve just realized that your crawl space vapor barrier appears to have a tear, this inspection can be a beneficial way to find early warning signs.
What Can High Indoor Humidity Do?
Even though it might not always seem like it, high indoor humidity is a genuine problem you should do your best to tackle as early as possible. These are some of the ways high indoor humidity can impact your home.
- In the Crawl Space or Basement
Of course, the crawl space or basement will probably be the first place that has really serious problems with high indoor humidity when it first starts to become a problem. Cooler areas have higher levels of humidity even if there’s the same level of water moisture in the area because warmer air can carry more moisture. That means cooler areas are at higher risk for rising above 100% relative humidity and forming condensation.
Your crawl space or basement certainly has a cooler feeling than the rest of your home specifically because underground areas typically stay cooler during the day than above-ground areas. That means high indoor humidity can start with crawl space or basement condensation. That’s an invitation for mold and mildew [add link] to start growing in the area, wood rot to embark on infesting your home structure, and floor joists to begin sagging under the home’s weight.
- Throughout Your Home
Eventually, that high humidity will continue to infest your entire home. The humidity levels probably won’t stay in your crawl space and will instead almost certainly ascend throughout the rest of the home. Up to 50% of the air in your home can come from the crawl space. That includes the moisture content and any other nasty airborne elements that might be in the crawl space.
You could end up with serious condensation issues in the rest of your home if you live in a cold area. Have you ever noticed condensation on your walls, your appliances, or elsewhere in the home? It could indicate that your home humidity is just too high. Because mold and mildew grow on any organic materials, it could be dangerous for drawers, dressers, and more.
- The Underlying Problems
It’s also important to think about the problems underneath the ones you’re seeing right now. Why are you seeing such high levels of indoor humidity? With some exceptions, this high indoor humidity typically doesn’t come about of its own accord. There typically has to be some source of water that’s allowing for the humidity.
Most often, this happens if you have a dirt crawl space because the water from the ground ascends through the dirt. It causes huge levels of humidity that can be nearly impossible to control without crawl space encapsulation. However, other issues can cause high indoor humidity. These can all be important to think about, so make sure you attack the underlying problem first.
FAQs About High Indoor Humidity
So, what should you do if you’re looking to fix your problems with high indoor humidity? The good news is that if you have an expert’s assistance, it’s possible to fix your high levels of indoor humidity. However, if you try to do it yourself, you may have problems.
- DIY Fixes
Fixing high indoor humidity isn’t a DIY weekend project. It can be very complex to do, especially if you already have crawl space encapsulation set up in your home. Applying fixes yourself could damage whatever existing measures you have, or may leave you with a higher bill after you buy the specific gear and equipment.
Likewise, you may overlook the root issue of your high indoor humidity. It’s easy to spot one symptom and believe that it’s the main culprit, allowing the real issue or the secondary issues to continue long after you’ve installed a fix. Because of that, it’s better to invest in a long-term solution with a professional.
- Expert Solutions
Entrusting the job to an expert is the best way to make sure you’re getting an accurate fix overall. The earlier you enlist their services, the more effectively they can repair any damage, as well as safeguard your home for the future. As a plus, experts will have access to industry-standard materials, safety equipment, and gear that can’t be found in your local hardware store.
You shouldn’t try to do this process on your own, as it’s prone to errors when you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead, talk to an expert from Groundworks to learn more about the methods they can employ to fix your high indoor humidity. In doing so, you’ll get a long-term solution that fixes the underlying problems.
A dehumidifier may be the first thing you think of when you’re considering how to reduce your high levels of indoor humidity. However, they aren’t the first line of defense, despite their name. Here’s what you should know about dehumidifiers.
- Positives and Negatives of Dehumidifiers
After you’ve fixed all the potential reasons for high indoor humidity, you might install dehumidifiers to avoid continuing issues. These are helpful, as they can directly lower humidity levels and improve the air quality in your home. However, you shouldn’t treat them as a catch-all fix. They only work after you’ve removed the source of the humidity.
Dehumidifiers can get overworked if they need to combat high indoor humidity 24/7. You may find they need more routine maintenance, work at a slower rate, or even die altogether after a few weeks or months. This can leave you with poor air quality and expensive repair or replacement costs, aside from the damage of the moisture itself in your home. They’re a great tool, but they’re not the main fix.
- Crawl Space Encapsulation
If you’re still going to have an opening for humidity, you probably won’t get a lot of use out of a dehumidifier. That’s why you first need to look toward things like crawl space encapsulation, which will help you avoid the base reason for many high indoor humidity levels.
Crawl space encapsulation isn’t a simple process. It requires many steps, including covering open crawl space vents, adding a crawl space vapor barrier [add link], and other sealing measures, depending on your region and the needs of your home. An expert can help you learn more about your crawl space encapsulation options through a free inspection, so you can get a tailored solution.
You might feel like high indoor humidity isn’t a problem. Many homeowners wonder whether it’s okay to just leave it as is; for example, maybe these high levels of indoor humidity feel good on dry skin, leaving you to feel more comfortable than before when your crawl space was healthier. However, all high indoor humidity can cause serious concerns.
- Mold, Mildew, and Wood Rot
As mentioned, a common issue that results from high indoor humidity is mold and mildew [add link]. Mold and mildew are a serious problem, partially because of the health issues they create. The spores may increase your risk of allergic reactions and asthma. They can also cause structural damage to your walls, flooring, and support beams if left unchecked.
Wood rot is similar. Wood rot can lead to weakened or cracked walls, “bouncy floors”, and even structural damage throughout your home. One of the telltale signs of this trouble is a high level of humidity, which allows wood rot to grow unchecked.
- Structural Concerns
Moisture and all the spores it will grow can feed on organic material, which includes things like drywall and wood. This will weaken the supports under your floor, in the walls, in your ceiling, and even in your foundation. If the problem starts in your crawl space, it won’t remain isolated there. It will quickly spread throughout the entire home, demanding more costly repairs in the future.
Structural concerns due to high levels of humidity are unfortunately common. There are other reasons that this can occur, including crawl space condensation waterlogging the wood underneath your home. Regardless of why it’s happening, it’s important to treat high indoor humidity seriously so it doesn’t develop into a structural problem.
High levels of indoor humidity can certainly happen for a variety of reasons. When you have high levels of indoor humidity, it’s a good idea to look at the various reasons why you might experience problems with your home’s humidity levels overall.
- Humidity and Water Concerns
If the problem isn’t your crawl space, you might just live in an unusually humid area, which can create high levels of indoor humidity if you don’t take steps to avoid these rising grades of moisture. In these cases, you’ll typically need to install dehumidifiers to control the humidity throughout your home, which will also benefit your crawl space.
Continuing water problems can also indicate serious humidity concerns. For example, if your home has a leak in one of the rooms, that leak can significantly increase your home’s overall air quality, making it sticky and moist. That can be very damaging because it can cause additional waterlogging problems in the areas with the water leaks.
- Crawl Space Concerns
Although high indoor humidity can be caused by general home humidity and other water problems, this is something that develops slowly over time. If you notice a sudden uptick, it’s worth checking your crawl space, as sudden damage to the vapor barriers, vents, or insulation can immediately result in moisture invading your home.
When it comes to crawl space problems, humidity will be only one symptom among many. That makes it smart to check this area regularly and use your senses to detect the early warning signs. If the air feels damp or smells musky, you have an underlying issue that needs addressing. Likewise, you can search for signs of mildew or mold, which may have been growing unchecked in the area. Even if the issue isn’t coming from your crawl space, you’ll at least be able to inspect your crawl space to ensure that you’re not having any other problems.
Get More Out of Your Crawl Space and Your Home When You Utilize an Expert’s Help
Most of the time, high indoor humidity does come from the crawl space. Although high indoor humidity can come about for other reasons, it’s common for the crawl space to be where it starts and where it snowballs. This is why you need to make sure you know where high indoor humidity is coming from and how to fix it.
A Groundworks expert will be able to give you more information about your crawl space, your home needs, and much more. All you need to do is schedule a free inspection with an expert to learn more about what you can do for your high indoor humidity concerns.