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5 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Crawl Space for Winter

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A crawl space is designed to protect your home from mold and improve its air circulation. Despite not being a regularly used area, it plays a crucial role in your residence’s durability. Because of this, it’s important to make sure it’s ready to handle tough conditions, especially in the winter. This article will explore why you need to protect your crawl space during this season and a few ways you can winterize it.

Common Crawl Space Issues in the Winter

The chilly months can cause a few unique issues in your crawl space. Because of the temperature fluctuations, it can result in high levels of humidity in the crawl space. This could cause mildew or encourage certain pests to live in it. Besides this, improper insulation could cause your heating bill to increase because cold air is escaping into your home.

5 Ways to Winterize Your Crawl Space

Add Insulation: A great way to protect your home from cold air is to insulate your crawl space. This works to conserve energy while improving your air circulation. The insulation will also protect delicate pipes that could freeze and eventually burst. Shut Your Air Vents: You’ll want to make sure to close the crawl space’s air vents. Cold air can sneak into their slots and make its way into your home. It will also deter small pests from creeping into the crawl space to stay warm. Install a Vapor Barrier: A vapor barrier is a tool you can install in your crawl space to stop moisture which can prevent mold growth. This will also work to regulate air temperatures so that cold air doesn’t blow into your home. Inspect it for Leaks: To protect your home from water damage, consistently check your crawl space for leaks. During the winter, these leaks could cause hidden water damage that will end up being pricey to fix. In addition to this, do periodic inspections to ensure that there aren't frozen pipes. Ensure the Entrance is Sealed: Sealing the crawl space entrance is also crucial. If there are crevices around it, cold air will flow into the crawl space. This will also make it easier for pests, especially rodents, to sneak inside. If you notice areas of concern, fill them in with caulking. You might also want to apply weather stripping around the edges of the entrance which will block water from seeping into the crawl space. Preparing your crawl space for the winter is important if you want to prevent potential water damage and cold air from blowing into your home. If you’d like to winterize your crawl space for this chilly time, RCS can help. Our crawl space clean-up service will ensure that any signs of dampness or small crevices are removed and sealed. This way, you can be confident your crawl space is prepared for the season.

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Why Insulation is Important in Crawl Spaces

Most living spaces are equipped with a crawl space. This is an area beneath one’s home that’s designed to help improve air circulation. It’s also used to hide wires and pipes. Many often neglect to care for the crawl space because it’s an unused spot that’s only needed for storage. However, crawl spaces are more important than one might think because they prevent pests and improve your home’s air quality. However, to function correctly, they need to be properly insulated. This article will explore more behind the importance of crawl space insulation.

How Does Crawl Space Insulation Work?

Insulation will seal the crawl space to prevent air from escaping and prevent pests from sneaking into it. Crawl space insulation comes in two main types: foam or fiberglass.
  • Foam: Foam insulation acts as a vapor barrier. It’s very quick to install and is often used to fill in small cracks. Foam insulation is a bit pricey and can be a little uneven because it needs to be sprayed on.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass insulation is constructed out of tiny glass strings. This is one of the most traditional types used and is very inexpensive. However, unlike foam, it can absorb moisture. This could lead to mold.

Why Insulation Needs to be Installed in Crawl Spaces

Insulation needs to be installed in your crawl space for a variety of reasons.
  • It Prevents Allergens: Your crawl space can easily absorb allergens if it’s not insulated correctly. This could end up sending particles like dust and pollen into your home’s air which could lead to respiratory problems. Insulation traps any allergens in your crawl space and prevents them from traveling through your home.
  • It Stops Pests: As mentioned above, insulation keeps pests away because it fills in gaps where they could crawl through.
  • It Saves Money: Insulation can help save money because it reduces energy usage. By trapping hot or cold air, it will reduce the amount of work your home’s air conditioner and heater needs to do.
  • It Regulates Air Temperatures: If you notice that your home has fluctuating air temperatures, it could be due to an uninsulated crawl space. By adding crawl space insulation, it will prevent this because it won’t allow drafts.
Using insulation in your crawl space is important if you want to keep pests and allergens away. If you’re interested in having some installed in your Santa Rosa crawl space, RCS can help. We offer a crawl space insulation service that ensures your home is protected.     Photo Credit: Jack Amick

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What is a Moisture Barrier?

moisture barrier

Keeping your crawl space free from moisture is crucial if you want to prevent potential home damage. One way to do this is with the help of a moisture barrier. This article will explore more behind what this tool is and the benefits it offers. 

How Does a Moisture Barrier Work?

A moisture barrier is a plastic or foil sheet designed to hold water vapor. This prevents condensation from escaping into the ground or nearby walls where it could cause mildew or structural damage. 

The Moisture Barrier Installation Process

Installing a moisture barrier can be a little tricky. The easiest way to do so is by measuring the crawl space and then cutting out the moisture barrier fabric to fit those dimensions. It’s important to also add an extra inch or two to the measurements so the moisture barrier covers the ground edges. After doing so, you can install the barrier by securing it to the ground with stakes or gluing it to the crawl space’s wall. 

4 Benefits of a Moisture Barrier

  • It Prevents Mildew: One of the main benefits of a moisture barrier is that it prevents mildew. When condensation forms, it makes surfaces wet. Most of the time, these surfaces are unable to dry which leads to the mildew spreading and eventually forming odors. A moisture barrier collects water vapor and helps it to naturally evaporate rather than soak into surrounding areas. 
  • It Eliminates Odors: You’ll also find that a moisture barrier eliminates odors. This is because it prevents mildew and mold from forming which can result in a strong musty smell throughout your home. These smells aren’t only unpleasant, but can also cause severe allergies. 
  • It Protects Your Pipes: Many different types of pipes are located in your crawl space. If they aren’t protected from water, they could corrode. A moisture barrier prevents this because it stops water from seeping into the ground and walls where the pipes are located. 
  • It Deters Pests: You might be surprised to learn that moisture barriers can deter pests. By sealing your crawl space with a moisture barrier, it will keep them from crawling into the area where they might build nests or chew through your pipes and wires. 
A moisture barrier is a helpful tool to install in your crawl space. Not only does it protect your home’s structure, but prevents the spread of mold. If you’re interested in learning more about them or would like one installed, consider contacting RCS. 

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What’s A Crawl Space Moisture Barrier?

Crawl spaces are often an overlooked area of the home. While they might be the lowest level of it, they play a major role in your entire living space’s air quality, heating, and cooling. Because of this, it’s important to keep it well maintained, especially when it comes to stopping moisture. To assist with this you can have a moisture barrier installed. Below is more about this helpful device.

What Causes Moisture in Crawl Spaces?

Moisture in crawl spaces is usually the result of poor ventilation. When indoor air mixes with outdoor air it creates the perfect environment for moisture due to the humidity.

Dangers of a Moist Crawl Space

If your crawl space is wet, it can lead to quite a few issues. One of the biggest concerns is mold growth. Moist conditions invite various types of fungi, like aspergillus, to grow which not only can cause foundational issues, but health ones as well. In addition to this, a handful of harmful pests enjoy this environment, like rats and termites.

What’s a Crawl Space Moisture Barrier?

As its name suggests, this device works to trap and prevent moisture in your crawl space.[1] A crawl space moisture barrier is usually designed out of plastic or foil and is laid on the crawl space’s floor. Ideally, it should be around 10-20 millimeters thick to help prevent it from wearing out.

How Does it Work?

When the barrier is placed on the ground it will prevent moisture from the soil evaporating into the air. It also keeps any leaking pipes or debris from getting into your home’s foundation, something which could lead to dangerous cracks.

The Installation Process

Installing a moisture barrier is much easier than one might think. First, you need to measure the crawl space. Make sure that the measurements also include at least six inches up the wall. This can help to better protect the lower part of the home’s foundation. Once you have accurate measurements, cut the moisture barrier to fit it. Then, use stakes to secure it in place. For some barriers, you might need to caulk it to the structure. Keeping moisture out of your crawl space is important if you want to prevent dangerous moisture, pests, and allergens from destroying your home. If you’re interested in learning more about this unique device or want to have it installed in your crawl space consider giving RCS a call in Santa Rosa, CA. [1]

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Common Issues that Plague Crawl Spaces

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A crawl space is an empty area beneath your home that is designed to encourage better air circulation in your living space. While they aren’t often used, they still need to be maintained, especially to protect them from frequent problems.

5 Common Issues in Crawl Spaces

  1. Poor Drainage: Most crawl spaces feature a drain running around its perimeter to prevent standing water. However, if this drain is blocked it can result in water back-ups, the development of mold, and foundation issues. Sometimes it can also lead to pipe cracks because water will saturate the ground and cause the surrounding pipes to expand.
  2. Excessive Moisture: Moisture is a very common problem in crawl spaces because of their dark, humid atmosphere. If your crawl space has a dirt floor, moisture from the ground will rise up and get trapped in it. Excessive moisture can also invite mold to grow which can sneak into your home’s air.
  3. Bad Insulation: Insulation in crawl space is designed to seal your home from fluctuating temperatures and improve its air quality. However, if this insulation isn’t installed properly or monitored, it can start to fall apart. Because it often contains wool or fiberglass, the insulation can be a haven for mold spores.
  4. Pests: One of the biggest issues that crawl spaces deal with is pests. Rodents, termites, ants, cockroaches, and a variety of other insects will often make their home in it thanks to its desirable environment. Besides being a nuisance, pests can also cause foundational damage because they’ll build their homes beneath it or chew away at the foundation.
  5. Foundational Cracks: Crawl spaces also tend to have foundational cracks, especially if they are packed with dirt, moisture, and uncontrolled hot or cold temperatures. Vertical cracks are somewhat common and tend to be due to water damage. However, horizontal cracks can be very dangerous as they are a sign of intense soil pressure or a wearing down of foundational anchors. Fixing foundational cracks can sometimes be done by applying a mixture of epoxy ports and concrete. This will help to fill in the cracks while providing extra stability. However, to ensure that there isn’t a dangerous underlying condition, it might be best to have a professional take a look at them.
Crawl spaces can suffer from a variety of different issues if they aren’t maintained. RCS can help prevent these common problems by doing intricate crawl space inspections while cleaning them up. Call today for more information.

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Winter Weather and Your Crawl Space

cleaning crawlspace

Even though spring is just around the corner, winter is still here and the cold, damp, and blustery weather can wreak havoc on your crawl space if it has not been properly winterized. The last thing you want to deal with while you are enjoying the powdery winter wonderland is a mold infestation, structural damage, or an unexpected increase in your energy bill.

What exactly does “winterizing” your crawl space entail?

Winterizing is actually a multi-faceted term, which refers to the steps taken to ensure that your home is protected from winter’s natural elements. In order to properly secure your crawl space from the cold, damp weather, it is recommended by the experts that you do the following:

Inspect your crawl space and foundation before winter comes along

If you aren’t sure what you’re supposed to be looking for, hire a professional or ask a friend who is more experienced to assist you. You’ll want to look for things like pest infestations, wood rot or bulging, signs of mold or mildew, and water seepage. Before you go any further in the process of winterizing your crawl space, you definitely want to fix any existing or underlying problems.

Check your insulation OR install some if you haven’t already

Insulation is extremely important to the health of your home and helps to keep more money in your pocket. If the insulation is old, soggy, or falling apart, or you notice that your home is extra drafty, you will want to replace it. Insulation is comprised of thousands of tiny air pockets. These pockets trap the air in the crawl space and prevent the transfer of energy. If these pockets become full of water, or if the insulation starts to decay from the mold or mildew growth, then it cannot properly serve your home. In order to be restored. Once you have cleaned and repaired your crawl space and added new insulation (if needed), the next step is a must in preventing future headaches and spending unnecessary money.

Install a vapor barrier

A vapor barrier is a must if you are wanting your crawl space to be waterproofed and free of excess humidity and condensation. With rain and snow coming into the space under your house, mold, mildew, and wood rot are highly likely to flourish. Encapsulating a crawl space can be done individually or by a professional. You can purchase reinforced polyethylene crawl space liner from various places online and at your local home improvement store. When using, you want to make sure the entire floor of the crawl space is covered as well as the walls. There are very specific techniques to ensure everything is covered properly—therefore, it may be wise to contact a professional if you are unsure about doing it yourself. Don’t wait until it is too late—get busy with initially inspecting your crawl space so that you can make a plan; you want to be fully ready for next year’s winter weather! If you do decide that you’d like to winterize your crawl space and need some advice going forward with it, give Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. a call. RCS prides themselves in excellent customer service and in being experts in water and mold restoration and also specialize in creating moisture and vapor barrier for crawl spaces. They treat each project with the utmost importance and care.

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