The crawl space has an integral role towards a home’s overall value as well as the living space above. Most homeowners in North Shore Chattanooga don’t think twice about their crawl space unless they have to make repairs to plumbing, heating ducts or house wiring. While often thought of as no more than a storage area, it also has a tremendous impact on the overall indoor air quality of the entire home.
The Best Crawl Space Repair In North Shore TN
By default, the air quality of a crawl space is typically poor. Mold, mildew, radon gas and poor energy efficiency all create several problems. The air that circulates within it eventually makes its way up through the living space. Scientific studies show that up to 50% of living space air originates from the lowest level of the home. With homeowners more concerned about their home’s indoor air quality, the encapsulating of crawl spaces has become a popular solution for such problems.
A damp crawl space creates a safe harbor for harmful molds, in addition to dust mites, termites and other bugs that can infest the home. The presence of excessive moisture will also create a serious problem with the probability for the wooden structure of a home to deteriorate. Crawl space vents pose a further problem. While believed to be a solution to moisture problems, they, unfortunately, make the problem worse. As it turns out, the vents allow cold air and moisture in, which rises into the living area and therefore decreases the heating efficiency of the entire home.
Another all-too-common problem associated with crawl spaces is radon gas. Though it cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, radon is a radioactive gas that can contribute to poor health, including cancer. Radon gas makes its way through the earth, into the crawl space and the home’s living space. According to the U.S.E.P.A., radon gas is the number one leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Ignoring these various conditions is not recommended for both long-term health and energy usage. Fully encapsulating a crawl space – by both sealing and insulating – is a fully efficient measure in addressing such problems. It makes sense to maintain and improve the lower level area in order to maximize healthy living conditions and home resale value.
While there are several systems for encapsulating, a zero perm liner system that also insulates and reflects heat provides the most benefits. With a proper floor and wall liner, the area will not only be well insulated but will seal out moisture, bug infestation, and radon gas. Other components to look for in a system include a radon gas-dispersing drain fabric, a radon gas ventilation pipe, and a ceiling heat shield.
A complete system with all of the above components will allow any soil gasses – including radon gas – that naturally occur under the liner system, to wick through the drain fabric and escape out through the ventilation pipe. While improved indoor air quality is the primary benefit of a sealed and insulated crawl space, the homeowner will also appreciate a bright, clean, and dry storage area; the ridding of musty smells; less energy usage; and tax credits. Contractors encapsulating crawl spaces will have more to offer to their clients when they can assure the peace of mind with improved indoor air quality.
Crawl Space Dig Out: How to Turn Your Crawl Space Into a Basement
There are advantages and disadvantages in having a crawl space under your home. Advantages, perhaps, a slightly elevated home may be more attractive than a home on a slab. Plus, you can make repairs and modifications to plumbing, heating, and electrical services.
Disadvantages, a crawl space is an area that is never cleaned. Under the vapor barrier the humidity is always 100% so mold and bacteria are always present. Termiticides, other chemicals, even rodent droppings may be present, and odors and gases that emanate will migrate into the home's living space unless proper ventilation is installed. Whether on a slab or elevated, if radon is present, good ventilation is required.
There are several technologies on the market in regard to moisture control. One is encapsulation, sealing the crawlspace. Though this might lower humidity, it's costly and there is no dilution or replacement of stagnant, poor quality air. Again, if radon is present, ventilation is required.
Another technology is to install a dehumidifier in the crawl space. This can lower humidity, but again will not dilute or replace the stagnant air. Another point to think about is that the dehumidifier will be costly to operate. More importantly, using a dehumidifier requires you to close tightly the crawl space. Thus, the home's living space air quality is going to be lowered because the crawl space air is not diluted and replaced with fresh outdoor air.
Some systems use a dehumidifier control (dehumidistat) to operate a crawl space vent fan. This sounds like it's going in the right direction. However, the technology isn't quite right. Here's why. Suppose the outdoor air is getting worse (wetter). Though the dehumidistat control is in the crawl space, it will quickly recognize this wetter air condition and begin ventilation, even though ventilating is going to make crawl space wetter. Another problem with a dehumidistat control is that most of them are not made for the difficult environment of a crawl space, so their warranties are short, 30 days to 1 year maximum for the dehumidistat.
There is another system that uses special technology different from all the others mentioned above. This special technology makes a comparison of the actual moisture content of both the air inside the crawlspace and the outdoor air. The result is that it pauses and does not ventilate when bringing in outdoor air is going to make the space wetter. Then, as the outdoor air is getting drier and is able to improve the moisture and air quality in the crawlspace, then this ventilator moves a lot of air which dilutes and replaces stagnant air, ultimately improving your home's living space air quality.
This system, called the Smartvent, is made in the USA, is used from Florida to Alaska... San Diego to Nova Scotia.
This system is a proven system, and it is the only system to have undergone a year long test where crawl space humidity averaged 46%. Besides the unique technology this system employs, it also has the longest warranty of all ventilators, five years.
A Closed, Sealed Crawlspace - What a Really Bad Idea
Most new home owners consider converting the basement into another living space such as a playroom for the kids or a bar for entertaining guests, but never get around to actually bringing their basement finishing ideas to fruition.
This is mainly because the basement is a space that's not immediately accessible or visible to guests, and that is why basement finishing ideas are always placed in the backburner and are looked into only after the major rooms in the house have been taken care of.
However, renovating a basement space doesn't have to be additional expense, especially if the home owner plans to turn it into a useful space. A home office, for instance, would be perfect for the basement. You can draw up basement finishing ideas together with an interior designer on how to maximize the available space and make it conducive for working.
It's also ideal for home office use because it's detached from the noise and the activity that goes on in the rest of the house. Whatever you plan to do with your basement, though, you have to keep in mind some important basement finishing ideas that will save you lots of time, money, and effort.
When working on basement space, or any area to be renovated, for that matter, try to plan your renovation backwards. That is, before you start sketching and asking your interior decorator to look for this and that furniture, draw up a budget that you know you would feel good about.
You can't possibly relish using your newly renovated basement when your basement finishing ideas will cost you an arm and a leg. This is why you need to determine your budget first prior to starting work on anything.
Once you have your budget, you can sit down with your contractor and designer to discuss what you want to get out of the renovation. Let them know what elements you want in that space and let them tell you if it's feasible or not. For instance, adding a toilet and bath is a fantastic basement finishing idea, but it can make a big dent on your budget.
Keep in mind that the things or fixtures you add should be necessary, not just added on a whim. Another practical baseent finishing idea is to create storage spaces. Remember that if you are to use the basement for some other purpose, then you are going to be displacing all the stuff that has been sitting in your basement through the years.
Where would you transfer them? The answer is, in most cases they'll still have to be kept in the basement, so the only great solution would be to construct some ingeniously designed storage spaces. Cabinets and overhead shelves are a must.
Next, go over the basement's electrical wiring, waterproofing, and plumbing. Don't attempt to do these yourself as they can only be handed by experts in the field. Make sure that the team you are getting is dependable and not just some fly-by-night moonlighter. Check their references or ask your friends and relatives to recommend names.
Discuss your basement finishing ideas with the contractor to know if your current heating or cooling setup is adequate to include the basement. If not, you may have to install a cooler or a heater exclusively for your basement space.
Once you have your basement finishing ideas [http://www.homeimprovementbliss.com/basement/basement-waterproofing-a-practical-way-to-save-on-basement-repairs-49] pat down, make sure the place is safe for everyone. Make provisions for fire escapes and see to it that all the doors and door locks are working.
Crawl Space Masters Specializes In Crawl Space Encapsulation in North Shore TN.