The crawl space has an integral role towards a home’s overall value as well as the living space above. Most homeowners in Fort Sanders Knoxville 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 Clean Crawl Space In Fort Sanders 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 Insulation and Its Benefits
Crawl spaces are inherently dirty smelly places that can contain all types of unwanted odors from mold & mildew to urine & feces. Some areas of the country can even have soil underneath the home with odorless, harmful gases like radon gas. I'm a big believer that the best long-term solution to solve these problems is to encapsulate the air underneath the home with a liner system. It is a inherently impossible to keep rodents, bugs and mold out of the area underneath the home since the soil is exposed - but it is relatively simple to create a barrier between the home and crawl space the keep out all these unwanted nuisances.
I had a very nice lady write me the other day telling me about this house she had just purchased that formerly had many cats living in the crawl space and they left behind the smell of a giant litter box underneath her home. The odors were coming up through the wooden floor and creating a very fowl smell in the house. She told me she tried all different solutions: spreading baking soda, spraying an enzyme treatment originally intended for carpets & laying down new top soil - needless to say none worked. I wrote her back, apologized for her wasted time and suggested that she treat her crawl space like a wild beast that you can't defeat, only contain. She took my advise, installed a crawl space encapsulation system and the smells immediately went away.
Encapsulation systems are rated by permeability - 0.000 is the best, normal plastic is 0.01 and wood is 0.2. To stop all smells, moisture and gases look for an encapsulation liner system with a 0.000 permeability rating. A zero perm liner will also completely weatherize the crawl space and save on energy bills since the outside air won't be able to leak into the home.
Thin Liners Don't Encapsulate the Crawl Space
I can't tell you how many times I've received a call or been sent an email from a homeowner telling me how they went to Home Depot, bought a liner system as thin as a trash bag, spent an entire weekend installing it then didn't solve their problem. Cheap store bought liners are typically 6-12 mil, 0.01 permeability and even new they don't stop gases like Radon - they are also easily chewed through by bugs and rodents leaving the crawl space a year later leaking air like a sieve.
What to Look for
40 - 60 mil thickness, 0.000 permeability and antimicrobial so mildew can't grow on the liner. Encapsulation systems don't need a contractor to install (although trust me they won't tell you that). Look for the Energy Star Rated logo.
Crawlspace Vapor Barrier Mythbusters
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 Masters Specializes In Crawl Space Encapsulation in Fort Sanders TN.