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Is Your Crawl Space Contaminating Your Home?


Would you want to hang out down here?

Let’s face it; most of the time crawl spaces are often left unattended, covered in spider webs, musty, damp, and moldy. At most we fill them up with old holiday decorations, and forget about them until next year. But what if we told you, given your best efforts to keep your crawl space locked away from the rest of your home, it’s invading your living space anyway?

Well, by ignoring your crawl space, you may be contributing to decreased air quality throughout the rest of your home. Unsealed dirt and gravel crawl spaces can be especially detrimental to the overall air quality of your home by allowing moisture, harmful radon gases, and pests to enter freely.

Negative Air Flow

Depending on the temperature and the pressure of the air inside and outside of your home, you may be experiencing  something called the “Stack Effect.” The Stack Effect Occurs when conditions permit the air inside of your home to rise up naturally, from the lowest point of your home, into the upper floors of your home. If you think of how a chimney sucks the heat and smoke up and out of your home, you’ve got a good sense for how the Stack Effect works.

Now if you add a damp, moldy crawl space to the mix, you can see how you can run into trouble. When the air rises up in your home, it’s pulling all those dirty and moldy air particles up with it, contaminating the air you’re breathing upstairs––and that’s no joke. According to the EPA, indoor air quality accounts for health issues such as sore throat, dizziness, fatigue, respiratory diseases, and cancer.

Crawl Space Waterproofing Tips and Fixes

Depending on what your crawl space looks like, the solution may vary. For concrete crawlspaces that leak regularly, interior and/or exterior perimeter drain tile is the ideal permanent solution. By performing crawl space waterproofing and draining the water from the interior and exterior of your foundation walls, you can effectively fix most crawl space seepage problems.

If you’ve got an open gravel or dirt floor crawl space, you may want to consider sealing it off from the rest of your home with a cement floor slab and/or vapor-barrier encapsulation. Crawl space encapsulation consists of covering the floors and walls with heavy-duty vapor barrier plastic, and can be very effective in combating poor indoor air quality.

Whichever way you decide to go, try to avoid ignoring any signs of moisture or damp odors. Consult a crawl space or basement waterproofing professional for a free evaluation. At the very least you’ll come away with some valuable knowledge, that may just same you and your family a few doctor bills!

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