If you have an older home with a crawl space, you may be dealing with humidity and moisture problems even if there isn't standing water under your home. That's because older homes were built with vents in the crawl space. That's no longer the practice since the vents tend to increase humidity. This leads to mildew and musty odors that spill over into your home. This problem can be remedied with encapsulation. Here's how it's done.
Dry Out The Crawl Space
The first step is to dry out the space and repair water damage. If there is mold present, it is removed too. If there is a problem with water leaking into the crawl space, then a drain or sump pump should be installed to correct the situation so your crawl space will stay as dry as possible.
Put Down A Vapor Barrier
Once the crawl space is clean and dry, a vapor barrier is installed. This is a type of thick plastic sheeting that goes over the walls and floor. Your contractor may put a drainage mat on the floor first so if water gets under the plastic it can drain toward the sump pump. The entire crawl space is covered in this plastic material and the seams are taped together so no water can leak through to the top of the plastic.
Once the plastic water barrier is applied, insulation is added. The insulation helps control the climate in the crawl space by keeping out cold or hot and humid outdoor air. Your contractor may choose spray foam insulation or insulation boards, but foam might be best since it can fill in all the gaps in the crawl space to plug air leaks.
Treat The Air
When the crawl space is encapsulated, it becomes like another room in your home. It is fully insulated from the outside, so you need to treat the air. You might want to divert some air from your HVAC by installing ducts to supply the crawl space. Another option is to place a dehumidifier in the space that cycles on when needed and turns off when the humidity is low.
Encapsulating your crawl space is an effective way to keep the area dry. That eliminates the musty odor and the problems that come along with dampness such as an increase in bugs and wood rot. You might also notice the floors in your home are warmer in the winter and you might save money on your power bill since cold air won't leak up into your house. It may be easier to keep your home cool in the summer too since there won't be a constant leak of hot and humid air from the crawl space below. Contact a company, like Atlantic Heating and Cooling, for more help.