Encapsulating a crawl space is a common way to deal with moisture or flooding. It is also an easy way to quickly get control of the air quality in the home and lockout rodents and insects. When you’re thinking about “green-ovating” your home, or simply getting control of the moisture or humidity, when you have a crawl space, you must encapsulate.
Encapsulation does a great deal for the crawlspace and for the home above.
What the process is and what it does
The practice of encapsulating or “sealing off” a crawlspace is done to lock out moisture and cut off the connection between moisture, water and the joists of a home. By running a vapor barrier down the walls of a crawl space to completely cover the floor, you essential separate the outside from the inside of the home.
This vapor barrier will be the flexible membrane between the walls and floor and the rest of the home. A properly designed vapor barrier will limit the transfer of moisture through it while regulating the speed at which air will naturally pass through. This helps to limit and control the amount of moisture that will find its way into the air space and completely segregate liquid water and direct it to a sump location.
5 helpful tips when having a Vapor Barrier installed in your crawlspace:
1.) Not all vapor barriers are made for this task – careful. There are many products out in the world that claim to be able to fully encapsulate a crawl space. Make sure that your vapor barrier has a low “perm” rate and that it is at least 14mil thick. If you’re planning to use the space for storage make sure that a flexible sub-flooring product is also placed on top of the vapor barrier to protect it.
2.) Cover the walls too – all too often contractors forget to also encapsulate the walls of the crawl space when installing a vapor barrier. This can still allow water and moisture into the basement and therefore render the whole project useless. Take care to make sure it’s installed properly.
3.) Don’t use sprays. – Sealants and sprays aren’t designed to be applied on the interior of the basement. They are good in many circumstances as the “first line of defense” but as the last, they can’t hold the pressure and moisture trapped in a wall.
4.) Install a sump and a dehumidifier – to totally control the moisture level in the crawl space it’s imperative that you have a sump pump and a dehumidifier installed. Moisture will still exist, although not to dangerous levels, but a sump will remove any liquid water your encapsulation traps, and the dehumidifier will deal with any residual moisture that naturally collects in the space.
Proper Crawl Space Ventilation Can Improve Living Space Air Quality Inside Your Home
Nobody loves to pay more! Are you stuck with paying prohibitive energy bills during the colder seasons? If your answer to the above question is yes, then you need to really consider giving your house a dose of crawl space insulation. This will definitely save you some amount in energy bills and give you a load of other varied benefits. For the optimal heat maintenance, consider insulating more than just the walls of your house. The attic, crawl space and basement of your house will benefit you more if they were insulated and checked.
It's known that the such spaces especially contain foundational vents and gaps that let the wiring and the pipes and ducts in. If these are not sealed accordingly, they could lead to air leaks and insulation problems. These spaces can let in unconditioned air from the outside leading to health problems and problematic house heating. You need your rooms to stay cooler and have lesser of health problems, don't you?
So what are the benefits of the insulation?
· More Comfort
This is the major reason that you should be thinking of insulating your house's crawl space, if you have not yet done so. Insulating your house ensures comfortable internal temperatures both in the summer and winter seasons. If you are preserving things in your crawl space, having a space vapor barrier installed and enforcing it with the space encapsulation might make the temperature standard.
· It Also Saves Energy
A house with correctly installed space insulation, space vapor barrier and similar encapsulation keeps the inside air separate from the outside air. This can save you from costly energy bills at the end of the month. Un-insulated crawl spaces can become increasingly drafty and let large amounts of outside air inside the house. Un-insulated spaces also allow the air inside the house to escape out. This can lead to high costs of constantly trying to standardize the air in your house.
· Moisture Control
When coupled with space vapor barrier, crawl space insulation controls the moisture level in your crawl space. This improves the effectiveness of air sealing and leads to general energy efficiency. Uncontrolled moisture levels in the crawl space leads to the growth of mold and the peeling of paint from the inside walls of your house. This can make you waste money on unforeseeable repair and maintenance costs.
Choosing the Right Insulation Service Providers
By having the right space insulation installed in your house you stand to reap a lot of benefits. It is however recommended that you use space insulation experts to get the best services.
The best space insulation companies will do a thorough inspection of your house to identify all the spaces that need insulation. They may also recommend that you add space encapsulation and space vapor barrier for the most optimal results. After all, you do need a home where you can live in comfort.
Give yourself the home that you will love always!
Though process may sound expensive and unattainable, it is important to keep the benefits that you stand to reap from the crawl space insulation in mind. You should also let the contractor know of your budget allocations well ahead of time. And don't forget to appreciate the great house that you will have after all is done!
Crawl Space Insulation and Its Benefits
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.