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
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.