The crawl space has an integral role towards a home’s overall value as well as the living space above. Most homeowners in Pasquo Nashville 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 Remediation In Pasquo 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.
A Closed, Sealed Crawlspace - What a Really Bad Idea
If you get three general contractors together and the topic of discussion turns crawlspaces and moisture control, you will probably hear six opinions. Even the experts seem to have different and often conflicting opinions about what tack is the best to take.
There has been much research on crawlspace encapsulation during the past decade. The US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Energy, the ZEBRAlliance at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and a non-profit research organization called Advanced Energy have all done excellent and groundbreaking research in the area of crawlspace encapsulation. Their research findings were instrumental in the last revision of the International Building Code. They all agree in a few, very important areas.
When considering your home, think of it as a single system. Your HVAC system, insulation, windows, attic, living space, and crawl space all work together. All of these building components need to be optimized and balanced to achieve maximum comfort, performance and energy efficiency. Your crawlspace is an important part of this system.
Your house is like a giant chimney. By natural convection, air is drawn in through crawlspace vents and air leaks. Because warm air rises, the outside air is drawn through the living space (along with mold spores, odors, and moisture) and exhausted through the attic. In the summer, your crawlspace is naturally cooler than the ambient outside temperature. So when the warm, humid outside air reaches the cooler crawlspace surface areas, the moisture condenses on framing, plumbing, wiring, insulation and especially HVAC ductwork and "sweats", just like an iced tea glass sweats on your kitchen table in the summer. In the southeast it is not unheard of for crawlspace humidity to approach 100% and actually rain inside the crawlspace.
The moisture in your crawlspace creates an ideal environment for wood destroying organisms, mold, and mildew. It can saturate and destroy the effectiveness of your insulation and promote wood rot. And because of the chimney effect, the humid crawlspace air, full of mold and mildew spores, eventually finds its way into your living space creating an unhealthy environment and causing your air conditioning to work overtime to dehumidify the air. Just a vapor barrier might help a bit, but most of the moisture is coming from outside, not your dirt, crawlspace floor.
So, the alternative to a vented crawlspace is an encapsulated (sealed) crawlspace. Crawlspace encapsulation involves sealing all outside vents, installing a high-performance vapor retarder on all exposed wall and floor surfaces at or below grade, insulating the walls and rim joist, and conditioning the air.
The prevailing research claims that by insulating the walls and rim joist, it is unnecessary to insulate the floor. However, if the existing floor insulation is in good condition, leave it in place. We generally recommend a rigid foam board insulation that is fire-retardant, low VOC, and offers an R-13 value or greater. It cuts easily and can be used for sealing existing crawlspace vents too. The sill plate should be caulked and paper-faced fiberglass insulation is used to insulate the rim joist.
The building codes in most areas require the air in an encapsulated crawlspace to be conditioned. That generally means adding a dehumidifier or using the existing HVAC system to condition the air. The EPA and the Department of Energy recommend using the existing HVAC system at a rate of one cubic foot per minute of conditioned air per fifty square feet of crawlspace area. A qualified HVAC contractor can add one or two 4" or 6" vents to a system for a nominal cost. The vents are usually equipped with a butterfly valve that can be adjusted to get the desired air flow.
We prefer using this method since the installation of the vents is generally less expensive than a crawlspace dehumidifier. And since running a dehumidifier is about the same as running a small refrigerator, the cost of conditioning the air with an HVAC system is generally less than running a dehumidifier. Remember that you're not trying to heat and cool your crawlspace; you're just adding a small amount of conditioned air. A relative humidity target of 60% or lower is a good place to start.
When comparing high performance vapor barriers, look at puncture and tear resistance. Other than being absolutely water tight, a high performance vapor barrier should also be flexible, fire resistant, low VOC, and lightweight. There is a world of difference between the 6 mil vapor barrier material sold in most hardware stores and a high performance specialty product. Most reputable suppliers will provide samples.
In addition to dramatically increasing indoor air quality and protecting the structure of your home, several research studies from Advanced Energy indicate that crawlspace encapsulation can actually lower energy usage. These studies were done in several parts of the country with varying climates.
Thinking Long-Term Safety & Health With Proper Foundation Structural Repair & Basement Waterproofing
The foundation of your house depends on a strong basement. Basement waterproofing prevents water from penetrating into the basement area Waterproofing your basement is mandatory or else it could lead to structural damages and collapsing drywall.
Given below are 5 reasons why basement waterproofing is essential:
" Structural damage: Water seepage is very common problem in basements; especially if you live in wet areas with moist soil. If you do not take proper preventive measures for this problem then it could lead to structural damages to your property. You find seepage mainly in the corners where the wall meets the floor. This process is typically slow and won't show immediate consequences but if ignored then it could cause major damages such as bowed walls and cracked foundation. Basement waterproofing is very important to treat wet basements. Timely preventions can save you from disastrous structural damages.
" Infestations: If you live in an area where there are black molds, then it becomes absolutely essential to waterproof your basement. Damp areas are a breeding ground for waterborne contaminants such as black mold. All kinds of mold can grow between walls and under padding of wet carpets; the worst kinds are the black molds. It is very toxic and can cause death. If basement waterproofing is not done in time them these infestations keep breeding in the wet areas which can cause major health hazards. You may even have to abandon the house if the professionals are not able to take care of the infestations.
" Natural calamities: If you live in an area where there is heavy rainfall or in hurricane areas, basement waterproofing becomes very essential. These areas are prone to flooding; as a result, water is very likely to enter the basement. Rainwater can penetrate through cracks in the wall causing seepage. Also when flood water collects around the foundation walls, water collects in small pockets in the soil next to the foundation and starts forming hydrostatic pressure. Over the time this pressure increases until the water is pushed through the wall. Thus basement waterproofing becomes necessary in such areas.
" Damage to property: Most of us keep a lot of stuff in the basement like furniture, books, equipments, etc. sometimes there are workshops or even wine cellars down in the basement. But if the basement is not waterproofed then water seepage can cause a lot of damage to your property. Wooden furniture rots when it gets damp. Expensive items could be damaged due to dampness. It you plan to use your basement for important purposes then it becomes even more essential to waterproof your basement.
" Sloping and grading: It's important to know if the ground around your house is sloping away from your foundation. The soil outside should meet the walls; if it doesn't then the water can penetrate between the gaps. In this case you have to hire a professional grader to help slope the ground downhill and away from your house. But as preventive measures it is best to waterproof your basement just in case you do not detect the sloping around your house instantly.
Basement waterproofing can be expensive but it's worth the cost to prevent you from irreparable damages in the future.
Crawl Space Masters Specializes In Crawl Space Encapsulation in Pasquo TN.