Your home’s crawl space is the place nightmares are made of. But not the kind of nightmares you’re thinking of. I’m talking about the kind of nightmares caused by the air quality in your home. That’s because as much as 40% of the air in your home comes from the crawl space. If left untreated, this air can contain high humidity as well as several allergans including mold, mildew, dustmites, and more.
If you have a crawl space that has open vents with a ground that is not encapsulated, you’ve got a constant source of moisture coming into your home. As this air comes in, it eventually travels to every level of your home through something known as the “Stack Effect.” This is the natural upward movement of air that travels from the lowest part of your house (the crawl space), to the highest (the attic.) If this air was low in humidity and free of any contaminants, there would be no problem. But sadly, this isn’t the case. Instead, the air coming in through the vents already has a certain degree of humidity. Then, as the air moves, it picks up moisture on wet surfaces as well as spores from mold that may be on joists and concrete walls.
However, by placing a good commercial dehumidifier in your crawl space, you can condition your air and reduce your exposure to these issues. You can also protect the wood structures that make up the structural integrity of your home.
Let’s discuss some of the key benefits of installing a humidifier in your crawl space.
As you can surmise, when you dehumidify the air in your crawl space, the air in your living area can be maintained much more easily. Instead of having to jack up the air conditioner to remove this humidity, you’ll be able to more easily maintain a decent humidity level, thereby saving you money on your energy bill.
As stated above, your home gets its air from the crawl space through the stack effect. This air can contain a variety of allergens that can cause issues such as breathing problems, headaches eye irritation, or other, more serious illnesses. By using a dehumidifier, you can remove many of the air quality issues in your home and improve your health.
Health and energy savings aside, it’s a no-brainer to want a low level of humidity in your home. This will let you sleep or work without having to be sticky and uncomfortable. Plus, you’ll be able to keep your thermostat set a little higher because that dry air won’t feel quite as warm.
Remember, your crawl space most likely has supports, studs and joists made of wood. When the humidity level is higher than 70% that moisture gets into the wood and starts breaking it down. If left unresolved, this could eventually lead to these supports becoming unsound. A humidifier will remove excess moisture from the wood, thereby maintaining the soundness of the wood.
To answer that question, you’ll want to first understand how dehumidifiers work. First, air is drawn into the dehumidifier through a fan and internal compressor. The air flows over condenser coils that draw out excess moisture and “condenses” it, sending it either to a reservoir or out through an exit line. The dried air is then reheated and sent back out to the room.
There are two types of dehumidifiers, residential or commercial. You’re probably familiar with the residential kind. These are typically portable units that have a reservoir tank on the back that you empty every so often when they are full. These are designed to work in a single room in your home. But the downside of this type of dehumidifier is that it cannot remove large quantities of moisture in a bigger space. In addition, they’re not built to be running all day, every day. If this is done, they will eventually break down.
Conversely, a commercial dehumidifier, also known as a whole house dehumidifier, is designed to remove large quantities of moisture from expansive spaces. These are typically hardwired into an electrical system and automatically drain collected water through a hose that either empties into a sump or drain system. The beauty of these is that they are designed to be running continuously or near-continuously, so they will not break down when used in this manner.
If you’re thinking about the air quality in your home and crawl space, consider investing in a complete encapsulation solution with water vapor barrier, sump pump and commercial dehumidifier. The benefits to your health, energy bills, and peace of mind will be well worth the cost. Contact Dr. Crawlspace today at 971-275-2920 to schedule a appointment to access your crawl space and provide you with a free, no obligation quote.