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Crawlspace Cleaning this Spring

spring clean crawl space

Now that the weather is heating up, it’s time for inspection and spring cleaning of your crawlspace. Read on to understand why it’s important to keep the crawlspace clean, and spring-cleaning maintenance tips for you to check off.

Maintaining Structural Integrity

Maintaining structural integrity of your home is critical. Keeping structural components like support beams located in the crawlspace dry, free from mold and damage from the elements keeps your foundation strong.

Protection of Utility Lines, Connections and Hook Ups

Much of the access to real-time lifelines of your home are located in the crawl space. It’s time to check on the plumbing, gas hook ups, electrical and HVAC ducts or ventilation systems. If mold is growing in the crawlspace, it can negatively affect the overall air quality in your home. This can spell disaster for anyone suffering from breathing or lung issues.

Common Crawlspace Problems

With extra rain and springtime humidity, conditions are perfect for fungus and mold to take root, grow and spread quickly. After months have gone by without checking the crawlspace, trash and yard debris blow into and accumulate there. It’s important to remove all the trash because it can interfere with the function of mechanicals stored below. Trash and debris also appeals to pests and rodents looking for nesting materials. Speaking of rodents and pests, they like to live in crawlspaces to protect themselves from predators and provide extra shelter from the elements. It’s important to remove nests and dry up wet standing water where insects can breed and reproduce.

Spring Crawlspace Checklist

Trash and Debris Removal. To include loose trash, broken pipes, disturbed or loose insulation, dead animals, and nests. Cleaning. Removal and cleaning of mold and fungus growing on support beams, HVAC ducts and from any other visible location. Drying. Using a wet dry vac or fan, vacuum up or air-dry standing pools of water. Ventilation. Check to make sure crawlspace is getting enough ventilation for proper airflow which keeps the space dry and protects mechanicals and insulation from mold. Repairs. Check for and repair leaking pipes, cracks, and holes. Replace. Replace missing or damaged insulation. This is also an opportunity to replace a missing or damaged vapor barrier, which helps prevent damage from moisture and humidity.

Professional Crawlspace Services

While an inspection and DIY cleaning may be enough for you to handle yourself this spring, there may be too much damage or required repairs that a professional can better handle. Crawlspaces are typically small and difficult to navigate. If you suffer from health or physical limitations, it may be extremely challenging for you to address everything needed to keep your space clean and well maintained. A professional crawlspace cleaning service has special equipment to find sewer/water leaks, measure moisture levels, clean pest, and rodent urine/droppings, completely dry/ventilate the area and address vapor barrier and dampness concerns.

Conclusion

This spring, make it a point to clean and restore your crawlspace for improved efficiency of your mechanicals and for top level HVAC air quality with mold-free, clean air circulation. In Sonoma County, schedule an inspection with the crawlspace cleaning experts at RCS. After our thorough inspection and clean out, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from a safe and clean crawlspace and home all season long.

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Understanding Crawl Space Insulation

crawl space insulation

If you have standing water or high levels of moisture in and around your crawl space, it may be time to check the insulation. Keeping the crawl space properly insulated not only protects any equipment stored there, but goes a long way to resolve and prevent the many problems excess water can mean for you. Here are some things to know about a properly insulated crawl space.

Problems Caused by Standing Water in the Crawl Space

Standing water in the crawl space is a common headache for homeowners in Sonoma County. Excess water, even moisture or high humidity in the crawl space presents the following problems for your home:
  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Wood rot and decay; compromise structural integrity of home foundation
  • Attracts insects and rodents such as termites and rats
  • Potential costly structural repairs
  • Less energy efficient
  • Lower home value

Inspecting the Crawl Space

Using a strong flashlight, thoroughly inspect the entire crawl space. Obvious signs of potential water problems will be puddles or standing water. Check for water stains on joists or wet wooden support beams. If it smells musty, that’s a sure sign of mold growth and highly likely there’s too much moisture or water getting into the crawl space.

Identifying the Water Source

It’s important to find the source of water problems in the crawl space. High humidity levels are common, especially during the rainy season. Homes located near water are prone to higher humidity in the air which easily seeps into the crawl space. Spaces without the protection of a vapor barrier are at greater risk for damage due to humidity. Groundwater can either come up from the ground when water tables are high or flood and overflow into the crawl space. Other water sources may be due to broken or leaky pipes, plumbing fixtures or water supply pipes which allow water to drip or drain into the crawl space. Outside factors include poor grading around foundation of home and inadequate or clogged gutters and downspouts.

Insulating a Crawl Space

Although you can do a project like this yourself, it’s a potentially involved project that may be better handled by professionals who know how to clean, dry, and protect crawl spaces. Professionals also know how to manage exposure to challenges in the crawl space such as insects, rodents, feces, sharp materials, rocks or mold. In addition, pros can more easily identify the cause of the water issues and know proper insulation strategies that can eliminate or minimize issues going forward. The insulation process includes steps to stop water from entering the crawl space and to keep the area dry.
  • Remove any existing water vapor barrier
  • Thoroughly dry out crawl space
  • Trench around the interior perimeter of the crawl space
  • Lay drainpipe in the trench to catch water and drain into a sump pump pit, from which the sump pump/discharge pipe pumps the water away from the crawl space
  • Cover the trench/drainpipes with gravel
  • Install sump pump and water discharge pipe
  • Install rigid foam board insulation and/or a new vapor barrier, which prevents water vapors from escaping from the ground reducing the risk of mold and mildew problems
  • Ventilation measures (such as fan vents) installed for cross ventilation to keep crawl space dry

Conclusion

For homeowners, crawl spaces come along with unique issues and challenges. Whether it makes more sense to insulate with foam board and vapor barrier or an insulation inspection calls for updated ventilation measures, call RCS in Santa Rosa, your crawl space specialists serving Sonoma County.  

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Do Dehumidifers Work in Crawl Spaces?

Humidifier front panel

A dehumidifier is designed to monitor and remove humidity from the air. This not only prevents the space from getting stuffy but can improve the air quality. Because of this, the tool is often recommended to place in crawl spaces. Below you’ll discover more about this important gadget and how to use it in a crawl space.

Does a Dehumidifier Improve Crawl Spaces?

Dehumidifiers are a great tool to use to combat common crawl space problems. Crawl spaces are situated beneath homes and often closed off. This makes them a very dark and damp place and susceptible to mold, water damage, and pest issues. You might also be surprised to find that air from the crawl space rises. As it moves upward and into vents, the contaminated air will eventually get sent into your home. By simply absorbing moisture, dehumidifiers keep the space clean and dry. This prevents frequent crawl space problems and keeps its structure in good condition. It also stops you from breathing in toxins.

How to Use a Dehumidifier in a Crawl Space

A simple way to utilize a dehumidifier in your home’s crawl space is by running a small one in it. This simple choice is ideal for small-scale crawl spaces. Keep in mind though that you need to monitor this device as it runs. This will prevent it from overheating and gives you time to empty its canister if necessary. You could also opt for an industrial one to be professionally installed. While a bit pricier, this selection tends to be more powerful and has more unique features, such as an auto pump and programmable settings.

Should I Clean the Dehumidifier?

Because this device often removes tainted air, it’s ideal to wash its tank out at least once a month. This will remove any mold spores or bacteria lingering within it that could get sent back into the air. To clean the tank, simply take some warm water and disinfectant soap and scrub it around. After rinsing it off, dry it, and place it back in the device. If there’s a filter, make sure to remove and rinse it off as well. This will get rid of dangerous particles and encourage the device to work better. Dehumidifiers are a helpful gadget to store in your crawl space. If you’d like to learn more about this useful tool or are concerned about some other crawl space issues, contact RCS in Santa Rosa, CA. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and fix any crawl spaces problems your home has.

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3 Ways to Prep Your Crawl Space for Fall

clean and tidy crawl space

As summer comes to a close, it’s vital that you prepare your crawl space for the fall. Below you’ll learn more about frequent fall crawl space issues and few ways you can prevent them.

Common Crawl Space Problems During the Fall

One regular issue during this season is mold. Because crawl spaces are enclosed, they can collect mold spores easily. With the humidity inside crawl spaces, these particles can quickly spread and encourage mildew. Over time, it could get sent up into your home which can contaminate the air and lead to respiratory issues. Another problem is pests. As outdoor food sources start to slow down, some pests might investigate your crawl space in search of some. This can be especially problematic if you keep trash cans and edible debris in it. Not only can this invite diseases into your crawl space, but it could lead to structural damage if they start chewing on or burrowing into the walls.

3 Tips for Prepping Your Crawl Space for Fall

Add a Vapor Barrier: You might want to add a vapor barrier to your crawl space. This sheet creates a thin yet powerful layer around the walls and floors preventing moisture and pests from sneaking into it. Check for Cracks: Another critical thing to do is inspect the crawl space for cracks. These might seem like a minor issue, but even the smallest one can invite water and moisture into the section. Because there isn’t a place for it to go, the water and moisture will linger inside. This could lead to structural damage and mold growth. Because of this, do a thorough inspection of the crawl space, especially around the edges. If you notice anything in the walls, flooring, vents, or doors make sure to seal them immediately. Add a Ventilation System: It’s important that your crawl space has adequate ventilation. This ensures that the space doesn’t collect moisture. It also prevents contaminated air from traveling into your home’s ductwork. While you can have a major ventilation system installed, you could also plug in an air purifier. This can remove allergens and other debris from the air. It will also keep moisture out. Getting your crawl space ready for fall is vital if you want to keep it in good condition. By keeping this information in mind, you can ensure it is. If you have questions about it or would like a professional to inspect the space, contact RCS in Sonoma County. We’ll be happy to answer any concerns you have and get your crawl space ready for the season.

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How Summer Affects Your Crawl Space

home sunny sonoma

As summer continues to linger, it can cause many issues for your crawl space. While this might not seem like a big deal, if your crawl space is having problems, it will eventually affect your home and health. Below is a bit more about how this season can wreak havoc on this area and a few things you can do to protect it.

Common Summer Crawl Space Concerns

Summer’s heat and humidity can result in moisture. This can make the crawl space very damp which can cause its temperature to fluctuate and encourage mold growth. If not fixed, these issues can soon create even more concerns. These range from structural damage to poor home air quality.

3 Ways to Protect It

If you want to make sure these issues don’t happen, there are a few steps you can take. Ensure There’s Proper Ventilation: The key to stopping summer crawl space problems is to make sure there’s good ventilation. One easy option is to blow a fan in it. This can keep it cool while drying out moisture. Besides this, check that its vents are open. While they should be closed during the winter, during the summer they’ll keep air circulation flowing. This can significantly cut back on condensation. Verify It’s Sealed: Another critical aspect to check is if the crawl space is sealed. If not, it could cause rain and other liquids to seep into it. If you’re not sure, look at the walls. Does a plastic sheet cover them? Do you notice thick caulking? If not, the space probably isn’t. You’ll want to seal it yourself or have a professional do so for you. Install a Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier absorbs moisture by sucking it out of the air and then pushing it through its coils. After reaching the coils, the gadget will remove the condensation and then release the remaining air. This makes it a critical tool to utilize in crawl spaces during the summer. You can plug one in and place it in the middle of the space for a few hours. You’ll want to check on it often and empty its bin so it works well. Ideally, choose a dehumidifier designed specifically for crawl spaces. These tend to be more compact and powerful than ones built for regular indoor usage. Summer can be a crawl space’s biggest nemesis. But, with these tips, you can work to fully protect your home. If you’re worried the season might have already caused some crawl space problems, contact RCS in Sonoma County. Our team will be happy to inspect the area and get to work fixing any issues that might be of concern.

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3 Tips to Keep Your Crawl Space Maintained During the Winter

home winter fog

A crawl space is an important part of the home that often goes unnoticed. While it’s located beneath you, it plays an important role in your living space’s air quality and how warm it stays during the winter. It’s crucial that homeowners maintain this area during the winter for quite a few reasons. Below you’ll discover why it’s so vital and a handful of ways you can do so.

Why Should I Maintain My Crawl Space During the Winter?

Maintaining your crawl space during the winter is important because it will ensure cold temperatures don’t sneak into your home. It will also prevent freezing pipes and discourage pests from living in the space to stay warm.

3 Ways to Keep Your Crawl Space Maintained During This Season

Close Vents: One of the best ways to keep your crawl space maintained during the winter is to close its vents. The vents contain small openings that encourage air flow during the summer. However, if they stay open during the winter, it will only allow cold air to sneak in. Because of this, you’ll find your home might have chilly temperatures or that your pipes easily freeze. To prevent this, always make sure to close your vents before the first frost. You might also want to seal them with caulking or cover them with a piece of plywood. Check the Moisture Barrier: A moisture barrier is a thick layer that protects your crawl space from toxins, pests, and cold air. If you have one, it’s important to do periodic checks of it throughout the winter to ensure it’s holding up. If you notice tears in it or that it’s falling off of the wall, quickly fix it. Apply Insulation: If you notice that your floors are cold or your home’s air seems to be a little chillier than normal, it could be due to your crawl space. The air circulating within it will eventually rise into your home. If the crawl space isn’t insulated, this cold air will make your home seem very frigid despite you having the heat on. While you should ideally have insulation installed before this season, it’s never too late to add it. You can apply thick insulation around the walls to prevent cold air from blowing through your home. You could also contact a professional to assist with this process. Maintaining your crawl space during the winter is important if you want to avoid fluctuating temperatures and frozen pipes. Around Santa Rosa RCS can assist with it by sending a team out to do inspections. We can also install insulation, moisture barriers, or clean up debris left behind by pests.

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