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Tag Archives: Crawl Space

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3 Tips to Keep Your Crawl Space Maintained During the Winter

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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Common Issues that Plague Crawl Spaces

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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Managing Crawl Space Humidity

It can get toasty and humid at times in California. Historically the state’s residents have had issues with crawl space humidity when the there isn’t enough ventilation. Unfortunately, residents are often overwhelmed with excess moisture throughout their crawl space, leading to mold, mildew, rusting metals, and rotting wood, as well as an increase in unhealthy allergens and odors, which can creep up into the home via air circulation.

These issues are not only harmful to your home and will cause you a headache if you’re in the process of selling. Mold and mildew love wood. If those support beams or floorboards begin to rot, the consequences could be disastrous. The issues caused by high humidity can also be damaging to your health, especially if you already suffer from allergies, asthma, or lung problems.

Thankfully, humidity is fairly simple to control. Below are a few simple and cost-effective ways (some may not be cheap up front, but purchasing these now will save you much more money in the long run).

Crawl Space Vents and Fans: Fans can do a lot to help out the humidity problem in your crawl space. These help to move air from your upstairs living space into your sealed crawl space. Vents move air from the outside into your crawl space; this may or may not be appropriate depending on the weather and temperature in your area. Keep in mind that crawl space vents and fan sometimes do not do enough if there is excessive moisture and vents can also be an access point for pests and insects. You may need to use a dehumidifier as well or in place of a vent or fan.

Crawl Space Dehumidifiers: There are several different dehumidifiers to choose from, mostly depending on the size of your crawl space. Do not buy too big for your needs. Bulky dehumidifiers can run your energy bill up high; if you are concerned, check out energy efficient systems. Even if you have waterproofed your crawl space, it is still recommended to invest in a dehumidifier.

Crawl Space Vapor Barrier: By choosing this option, you will need to seal up any doors or vents until they are airtight. If your crawl space is damp, it will be necessary to dry it out (there are options for this and a professional can assist you). Encapsulating the crawl space would be the next step, and once that is finished, placing a dehumidifier down there to get rid of any excess moisture is key.

Sometimes getting rid of the moisture and humidity can be done by trial and error. If starting out with a vent and/or fan doesn’t do the trick, then you know that you need to look at investing in a vapor barrier and dehumidifier. Neglected moisture underneath can end up having disastrous consequences for your home and your health and well-being.

If you do decide that you’d like to encapsulate your crawl space and need some advice going forward with it, give Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. a call in Santa Rosa, CA. 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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Home Crawl Space – To Seal or Not to Seal?

Did you know that up to 50% of the air you breathe in your home can potentially come from your crawl space? That’s pretty concerning if you have neglected that area of your home for a long period of time. It is easy for rodents, bugs, mold, mildew, wood rot, and who knows what else, to flourish and make your crawl space their cozy home. It’s not difficult to forget about down below, but doing so can have costly consequences.

There are both pros and cons to sealing, or encapsulating a crawl space. Of course, getting this done is going to cost money up front, and if you decide to do it yourself, it probably is going to be quite time consuming and difficult–depending on your capability and experience. Letting it go will obviously save you money, but will it be worth it in the end?

What does encapsulating a crawl space look like? According to the professionals, this refers to the process of dividing the area below your home from your actual living space, or building envelope. When done correctly, it prevents the passage of air from the crawlspace to your living environment and creates healthier living conditions.

There are quite a few reasons why you should seal up your crawl space.

  • Encapsulating your crawl space will help reduce moisture, which will prevent mold and mildew from forming.
  • If done yourself, encapsulating your crawl space can cost less than half of what it would if done by professionals.
  • Keep the rodents, pests, and wildlife away. Those critters will have no place to burrow and hide and surely they won’t want to make nests on plastic.
  • Sealing up your crawl space can improve your home’s air quality, making your living environment cleaner and healthier.
  • Encapsulating your crawl space will help reduce your heating bill. By having it all sealed up, you won’t be losing hot air.
  • If your crawl space is encapsulated, you actually can use that space for extra storage.

Now for the cons. You can compare these with the pros to see for yourself if encapsulating your home’s crawl space is worth it.

  • Encapsulating your crawl space will cost you a dime or two. If you want to get it all professionally done, the basic average price is a few thousand dollars; however, you can choose to do it yourself.
  • There may be even more costs that you could potentially incur depending on your choices and upgrades.
  • Don’t forget about maintenance and management. Just because your crawl space is sealed and protected, does not mean that you won’t have to regularly check on it and maintain it.
  • Sealing up your crawl space could possibly cause the need for an HVAC upgrade. Since everything is sealed, you will have less air movement throughout your home, which ultimately could cause your HVAC to work less efficiently.
  • If you have piping and wiring running throughout your crawl space, not only will you need to get the correct professionals out to inspect the situation, you will also have to break through the encapsulation each time you need to access those.

After learning about some of the positives and negatives of crawl space encapsulation, your new knowledge should be able to help you to determine if sealing up your space will be beneficial to you and your home.

If you do decide that you’d like to encapsulate your crawl space and need some advice going forward with it, give Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. a call in Santa Rosa, CA. 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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Why Insulation Matters in the Summer

Summer in Santa Rosa is no time to neglect the insulation in your home. You probably know and understand the importance of having a well-insulated home in the winter. It helps to prevent the warm interior air from moving outside. Keep reading to find out how insulation also helps to keep energy costs down in the summer, while keeping your home and family comfortable.

Extend the life of your HVAC system

Many people think keeping warm air inside during the winter is the only job of insulation, so they might not concern themselves with making sure that their home is also properly insulated through the heat of the summer. On the contrary, just as the insulation in your walls, attic, and crawl space acts as a thermal barrier against heat escaping in winter, it prevents cool air from leaking out of your home in the summer. Cold air can exit the home easily without proper insulation, and this forces your air conditioning system to work harder to retain that misplaced air. This loss of energy can create an increase in energy costs and reduce the lifespan of your entire HVAC system. To prevent this problem, make sure that you not only have your home insulated, but you also want to ensure that you have the type of insulation that works best against summer heat.

Protect your home from top to bottom

Whether your home has an attic or a crawlspace, insulation can make a difference in your family’s comfort level during the summer. When combined with proper ventilation, a well-insulated attic can help keep your home cool. In the same vein, insulation is equally effective in a crawlspace in the summer when combined with air sealing and moisture control. A ventilated crawlspace can promote increased moisture levels and mold growth in the summer, so it is best to keep this space under your home unventilated in summer to get the most from your insulation. Importantly, there are different types of insulation, but choosing the right one for your home’s environment is not as difficult as it might seem.

A choice for all seasons

There are a few types of insulation that are effective for year-round use. However, the trick is getting the installation right. The most common categories are:

  • Cellulose – Whether loose-fill or dense-packed, it can be used in winter or summer. Loose-fill is easier to install, but unless it is done right, the result can be an uneven distribution inside the wall. Dense-fill is blown into the wall with more force than loose-fill, and it offers a more noticeable difference in your home’s daily temperatures when properly installed. An insulation specialist should be consulted for installation.
  • Fiberglass – It also comes in loose-fill or dense-packed, but it is more expensive than cellulose. Loose-fill can be a DIY installation project, but it may not seal the whole surface of your wall. Installation of the dense-packed variety is also best left to a professional to ensure a more even distribution.
  • Injection foam – This is a more adaptable type, and it is injected into the wall. The foam expands to get around wires and outlets and smaller, more remote areas.
  • Mineral wool – This type is less fire resistant than other types, and it is not recommended for summer use.

Final thoughts

Insulating your home for all seasons is necessary for reducing energy costs, extending the life of your HVAC system, and giving your home the protection it deserves from top to bottom. Choosing the right type can be complicated, so consult the professionals at Restoration Certified Specialists to find out what will work best for your situation. RCS can prepare your home for insulation with a crawlspace cleaning before installation.

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How to Moderate Humidity in Your Crawl Space

In warm climates like Santa Rosa, CA in the summer time keeping an eye on the humidity levels in your crawl space is important for a few good reasons. High crawl space humidity means moisture is usually present, creating an environment that is ripe for mold formation and growth, as well as rodent infestation. Rodents are attracted to warm, damp spaces that are protected from the elements. They can leave urine and fecal droppings containing germs that can exacerbate asthmatic or allergic conditions. A ventilated crawl space in a humid climate has a greater potential for mold growth than an unventilated space because vents allow moisture in the air to travel into the home, bringing with it dust mites and any other potentially harmful contaminants that might be present. The moist air can put stress on crawl space beams, causing rot in some cases, and seriously damage insulation, which weakens the structure of a home. Rodents can also travel through vents, and they can nest in your insulation or gnaw on electrical wiring, creating a potential fire hazard.

Insulate Properly

It is recommended that insulation humidity levels remain lower than 70% in crawl spaces to limit the amount of moisture that is present. If moisture is prevalent in a crawl space, the tiny pockets in fiberglass insulation tend to fill with water, and any energy that might be retained is transferred instead, rendering the insulation ineffective. Using foam insulation as opposed to fiberglass in your crawl space can help to reduce the likelihood of excessive moisture as well as the transference of energy. HVAC units work harder, and energy bills rise.

Control Condensation

When condensation is visible on crawl space fixtures, your humidity level is too high for the air to hold the moisture in it. The space will become damp, inviting mold to grow and decreasing air quality in your home. Asthma or allergy sufferers will be the first to know that there is a problem. To avoid this, moisture controls like vapor barriers can be installed in foundation walls to seal out the moisture. Covering vents and doorways with waterproof covers prevents damp air from seeping in. A dehumidifier can also be used to help maintain low humidity and control condensation.

Check Humidity Regularly

A device called a hygrometer measures the humidity in a space. You can purchase one at Wal-Mart or Lowe’s for a reasonably low price to monitor both temperature and humidity in your crawl space. Check it regularly to ensure that humidity is not becoming too high.

If you experience problems with mold or rodent infestation due to high humidity, contact RCS to help. Our crawlspace cleanup service is the perfect ticket for drying out or decontaminating your space. We can also install moisture barriers to prevent the problem from occurring again any time soon.