You work tirelessly to keep your home clean, fresh, and livable for you and your family. It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to make your home comfortable! But what if you found out that your home was undermining your efforts? There is one room in your house that could be causing more damage to your home and loved ones than you could ever imagine: your crawl space.
The crawl space is that spider-infested space at the base of your home that you don’t really remember you have until someone needs to repair the plumbing. It’s dusty, dark, and filled with creepy, crawly mysteries that we all would rather not think about. So, we put the whole space out of our minds. Who cares if it’s a little gross? Barely anyone goes down there. So what if it’s a little damp. It doesn’t really matter anyway, right?
Wrong! This is where the problem starts and how a little water can impact everything in ways you never imagined. A dampened crawl space can be detrimental to a home’s health as well as its inhabitants. And you’ll need a crawl space dehumidifier to fix it.
A Crawl Space Dehumidifier Gets Rid of Collected Moisture
First, let’s consider your home. When there is enough water in the air, it begins to collect on surfaces and starts a series of reactions depending upon the makeup of each surface. Wood absorbs water, which can lead to the introduction of bacteria that wants to drink the water and eat the wood (aka, wood rot). If there aren’t any exposed wood beams in your crawl space, don’t worry! The increased heat and moisture will cause condensation to form in the spaces where your wood beams are. Having the foundation of your home rot away isn’t great, but boards can be replaced. It’ll cost you quite a bit to consistently trade it all out, but it can be done.
What about the pipes? As it was already pointed out, the plumbing for the entire house is often kept concealed in the crawl space. During the colder times of the year, it can be hazardous to allow the condensation from these pipes to gather as it is liable to freeze. As unbearable as it is to have to take a cold shower when it is snowing outside, it’s equally damaging to the pipe itself and may warrant early (and frequent) replacements. More bacteria encourage rust and break down the metals, which can lead to even more water pooling under leaky pipes. Really, this is only the beginning.
A Crawl Space Dehumidifier Kills the Growth
Water is the source of all life, and as such draws life to it wherever it gathers. It was already brought up that bacteria were eager to nestle into a wooden plank as soon as moisture was involved. Mold and mildew are just as infatuated with dampness and only need about 2 days to start growing. To grow, they eat the organic materials they attach themselves to, which also destroys it. The biggest trouble, however, doesn’t come from their appetites, but their reproduction. In the air of your mold invested crawl space float their spores, who eagerly ride the winds wherever it may take them. For the most part, your crawl space has stale air that doesn’t circulate the same way the rest of your house does. That doesn’t stop the spores from escaping upstairs! An interesting scientific, phenomenon known as the “stack effect” pulls these spores upward on the hot air that rises. From there, your ventilation system guides these little guys into all kinds of rooms in the home, onto other wet surfaces, and into the lungs of anyone living there. This will aggravate some allergies, bare minimum, but depending on the type of mold the consequences can be much more severe. In fact, if given the opportunity, many species will make a new home in your nice, moist lungs, causing chest pains, bloody coughs, and difficulty in breathing.
Scary. And definitely not something you want for your loved ones and pets! Even so, more misfortune can befall your happy home with these troublesome seedlings whizzing about.
A Crawl Space Dehumidifier Controls Pests
These spreading spores carry with them a unique scent, and to our senses, not a particularly pleasant one at that. This foul stench carries with it a question that it asks the creatures outside, “Hey, you guys hungry?” Mites, roaches, rats, and other nefarious sorts will begin parading in by the dozen to feast upon the mold and indulge in the excess water. From there, you know how the cycle of life works. They come, they eat, they reproduce, their kids eat, and suddenly the snacks in the crawl space aren’t enough. Now you have unwelcome guests barging into the main part of your home and eating what was intended for you. Depending on your geographical location, this can just be the start of creatures inviting themselves in your home.
The rational reaction to this explosion of activity is to trap and poison the infestation. Unfortunately, if you only tackle the insects and rodents, it will be an uphill battle. As long as the mold and mildew are alive and thriving, they will continue to entice the outside world to make your home their own.
A Crawl Space Dehumidifier Reduces Costs
Of course, along with the pests and spores, the water in the air is forced up into your living space as well. When it’s warm, the excess moisture will make everyone in the house sweaty and sticky. On instinct, you may want to turn on your air conditioning to fix this, but this doesn’t do anything with the water in the air, so you end up cold and clammy. Ultimately, humid air lowers the overall air quality, making it harder on our comfort levels and the systems that deal with the airflow. Your furnace and air conditioning will wear down trying to keep up and increase your electrical bills. Now you have to replace your worn-down units, pay an excruciatingly high energy bill, and continue to physically suffer and sacrifice your comfort.
What Can Be Done?
Well, the first option is changing nothing. You can continue to pay a fortune to get everything replaced, repeatedly visiting the doctor, and having more than one kind of exterminator fill your home with chemicals.
Obviously, this is not the recommendation. Realistically, if your crawl space has gotten as bad as we’ve described, you definitely should start with a cleaning. Do one final bug bomb, scrub bleach on those fuzzy spots, and replace everything that is falling apart. After that, it’s a simple matter of preventing it from getting to that state once again. Given that your plumbing is down there, and that mold only takes 24 hours to get comfortable again, daily cleanings of the space may be off the table for you. It’s also unwise to try and fight fire with fire, or in this case moldy, gross water with soapy, less gross water. Plus, if you don’t have the proper protective equipment, dealing out harsh chemicals in a small space could lead to an equally terrible situation. What this space really needs is to be dry.
Install A Dehumidifier For Your Crawl Space
At Fenwick, we offer remedies for mold, pests, and excess water to help keep your home in tip top living conditions. You can always call us whenever you have concerns such as the ones listed above, but our focus is to prevent such instances from occurring. This is most effectively accomplished with the installation of a dehumidifier in your crawlspace. Now there are several different styles of dehumidifiers, but they all perform the same general task: removing water from the air.
It’s such a simple concept, but it really helps! Less water in the air immediately improves air quality, which as we discussed before plays a vital role in your physical and financial comfort. High-quality air reduces allergy symptoms such as trouble breathing, irritated eyes, and headaches. Plus, your air systems can now function as they were intended to without any worries to your energy bill or the life of the systems. Any chances of a pest infestation will decrease dramatically as well. There are other factors that can draw unwanted animals to your home, but if you make it difficult to find water, they are far less likely to stay. Lastly, controlling the humidity in your crawl space will help to maintain the structural integrity of your home. With your moisture levels safely under 60%, the beams in your home are less likely to absorb in access and avoid any moisture-induced wood rot.
Again, we’d like to remind everyone that a dehumidifier does not get rid of problems that you already have. It’s vital to deal with any mold and pests that have already formed prior to investing in a dehumidifier. If you’ve just moved in, however, a dehumidifier is a great way to get an early jump on problems before they arise. Even if you have lived in your home for a while, it’s never a bad idea to consider a dehumidifier. Call our team here and Fenwick for an assessment and installment to get your new home on the right track!