Your crawl space is the hollow space underneath your home. Unlike a basement, it’s only a few feet tall. While it might be “out of sight”, a crawl space certainly shouldn’t be “out of mind.” Crawl spaces can be a common source of home problems in South Texas, especially when moisture is introduced. Crawl space moisture can result in high humidity levels that cause mold and mildew, which impacts the air quality of the entire home. The issue is especially severe for those with allergies. Other problems associated with excessive moisture in a crawl space include insect infestations, wood rot, and rusty I-beams.
Mold begins to grow when humidity levels reach 70%, however it’s in the best interest of a homeowner to keep levels well below 70%. When levels get to 70% or higher, there’s usually a problem in or around the home that needs to be addressed. The first common problem and cause for the high humidity levels is standing water in the crawl space, which can be a result of poor drainage or a plumbing problem. The second common problem is excessive moisture evaporating into the crawl space from the ground below.
As a homeowner, it is in your best interest to fix the root cause of the problem, instead of relying on short-term temporary fixes. For example, if a plumbing problem is causing leaks, you’ll want to call a plumber and get that leak fixed ASAP. Or, if improper drainage is causing the issue, you’ll want to invest in an exterior waterproofing solution that will prevent runoff from building up around your home. If evaporating moisture in the ground is the problem, you should have crawl space encapsulation systems like crawl space vapor barriers and crawl space dehumidifiers installed by professionals.
The crawl space is an integral part of a home and if it’s not properly ventilated problems will occur that can affect the health of those in the home and the overall structural safety of the home. As a homeowner, it’s important to monitor what’s going on in the crawl space and call in professionals when needed, and ideally, before the problem gets out of hand.