When a home sits on top of a crawl space, it rests on nothing but a dirt floor that tends to be damp and musty. A crawl space typically experiences water that can sometimes pool. And moist conditions can increase the risk of developing mold, insects, rust, rot, and mildew that can make for some pretty hazardous conditions for the health of your family. A crawl space vapor barrier is an excellent solution to help reduce the risk of environmental hazards. But the full benefits of a vapor barrier can only be realized if they are installed correctly. If done right, a vapor barrier can protect your home and dwelling spaces from moisture and all of the ill effects that can come with it.
What is a Vapor Barrier for a Crawlspace?
A vapor barrier is designed to prevent moisture in the dirt from evaporating into the area that lies beneath your home. The barrier itself is made from plastic materials or a foil sheet, and it helps to prevent the moisture in the dirt from penetrating the environment contained underneath your home. It also helps to reduce the risk of odors, mold, insects, rot, and other environmental and structural degradation that can stem from a crawl space being left exposed.
There are several benefits of vapor barrier for crawl spaces:
Control Temperature and Save on Energy Costs
Moisture in the air impacts your HVAC’s ability to maintain a constant and comfortable temperature. When moisture and humidity are high, your system has to work overtime to remove the moisture and control the temperature within your home. Both your heating and your cooling systems have to work harder when humidity and moisture are higher than they should be. So installing a vapor barrier not only saves you energy costs, it will help to extend the lifespan of your HVAC units!
Limit Environmental Hazards
When water is allowed to pool, or moisture to build, it can increase the risk of mold, mildew, and other environmental hazards. By reducing moisture in your crawl space, which is already dark and damp, you can reduce the risk of mold spores and mildew growth. A vapor barrier can also reduce the chance of wood rot, rust, and drywall damage that can lead to structural problems. And since a vapor barrier will reduce the formation of black mold, it is healthier for your family!
Reduce Electrical and Wiring Hazards
If your crawl space houses electrical wires, there is a chance that moisture accumulation can lead to rusted wires, electrical shorting, and even cause a fire. So eliminating the risk of moisture to exposed electrical wires is not only a must for fire prevention, but also to reduce the risk of electrocution.
Preserve Sewer and Water Pipes
Located in your crawl space are sewer and water lines that run below your home. When water and moisture are allowed to sit on pipes, it leads to rust and decay, especially in older homes. When you install a vapor barrier, it helps to keep your pipes in good working order for a longer lifespan. That will help to save you a considerable amount of money over the long-term.
Save the Structural Integrity of Your Home
When moisture is allowed to go unchecked, wood rot can be a serious issue. That can lead to a significant problem with the structural integrity of your home. And any structural damage that results is not only dangerous to the safety of your family, but also, the cost of repairing it is astronomical. Vapor barriers help to keep the foundation of your home strong and undamaged, which is highly critical to protecting your investment.
What are Signs That Your Crawlspace is Retaining Moisture?
It is nearly impossible to stop moisture in your crawl space without a vapor barrier. But it is important to look for these warning signs that the problem is worse than you thought.
- Pooling water in your crawlspace
- Peeling of the exterior paint of your home
- Insect infestations or other signs of pests
- Rust on your HVAC system
- Mildew or mold on the walls or flooring
- Odors sporadically around your home
- Higher than acceptable levels of radon
- Rotten wood on the floor or ceiling of your crawlspace
- Rusted pipes
- Exaggerated respiratory illness, asthma and allergy irritation, frequent headaches or other health concerns related to mildew and mold
How a Vapor Barrier Increases the Value of Your Home
The small investment made to install a vapor barrier will help to increase the overall value of your home. Not only will it help to keep the air quality more healthy, it will reduce any structural or environmental degradation stemming from moisture and humidity issues. But the vapor barrier is only as valuable as the professionalism of the installer. That is why it is critical that you hire experts like Carney & Son to ensure that it is done correctly.
Best Practices to Keep Your Crawl Space Moisture-Free
When possible, make sure to take all precautions to keep your crawl space moisture-free. If you notice any standing or pooling water, remove it immediately. And if it is has penetrated anything like drywall or insulation, remove and replace that as well. Also, perform routine checks to make sure that your crawl space is dry and that no water has made its way in. And since prevention is best, install a vapor barrier to reduce the risk of any damage to either your home or the health of your family.
Maintaining a moisture-free crawl space is critical for your greatest investment and the health of your family. The small investment that you make to do it correctly, by hiring Carney & Son, will reduce energy costs, protect the integrity of your home, and keep things mildew and mold-free. Contact us today to discuss how you can reap all the benefits that a vapor barrier can provide!