(Video) Millions of homes throughout America have crawlspaces. On the positive side, this area below a home is a great place to hide HVAC ducts, plumbing, and electrical lines that run from one end of a house to the other.

On the negative side, a crawlspace can be a breeding ground for rodents, bugs, mold, and structural decay. Notice I said, “Can be.” Crawlspaces don’t have to be damp and nasty or breeding grounds for bugs and mold.

So what makes makes the difference? Moisture.

One would be hard pressed to find a professional in the home building or remodeling business who thinks moisture is not a problem in crawlspaces, especially in the Southeastern United States. However, opinions differ when it comes to determining the best way to keep it dry.

Most homes with crawlspaces are built with wall vents around the perimeter. Often, fans are installed to draw fresh air into the crawlspace from the outdoors. The idea is that fresh air circulating in the space will keep it dry. Unfortunately, in many cases this doesn’t work.

Why? When air conditioning was introduced into homes, everything changed. Air conditioning inside the home makes the floor and joists of the home cool.

Vented crawlspaces allow warm, moist air to enter through the openings in the walls. When this humid air comes into contact with the cool joists and sub-floor, condensation occurs, causing the wood and insulation to become wet.

Empirical data from a U.S. Department of Energy funded study, overwhelmingly confirms what we at Tennessee Mold Solutions know to be true: encapsulated crawlspaces are cleaner, dryer, healthier, and save money on utilities.

Enclosed crawlspaces keep humid air out and the area much dryer than a vented one; especially when a dehumidifier is used. The benefits of a dry crawlspace are numerous, but here are the top four:

  1. Mold needs moisture to grow. When the moisture in the air is below 70% relative humidity, mold will not grow. To be safe, we set our dehumidifiers to around 60% for our customers.
  2. Controlling the pest population in a crawlspace is easier when it is dry. Bugs need water to live and less water means less bugs.
  3. A fully encapsulated crawlspace provides homeowners with up to 18% savings on their utility bill in addition to being dry.
  4. A dry crawlspace helps prevent structural decay from rotting wood related to moisture.

Not every home needs to enclose the crawlspace, however, most do. If your insulation is falling from the joists, mold is growing, or water is dripping from your HVAC lines, you need to consider encapsulating your crawlspace.

Tennessee Mold Solutions, in conjunction with our sister company, H2Out Waterproofing, can treat any mold you may have and create a clean, dry space under your home.