Our Crawl Space FAQ is a growing list of questions and answers assembled by professional crawlspace contractors across the United States. These contractors come from the Pest Control, Indoor Air Quality, Mold Remediation, Waterproofing and General Home Improvement Industries. This FAQ list is a collection of the most common questions they receive from homeowners and business in regards to their crawl space problems. If you have questions or concerns that are not answered here or throughout the site, complete a contact request form and we will have your local Certified WhiteCap Installer contact you to help.
Due to a principle known as the Stack Effect, we know that the air that comes into your crawl space ultimately rises through to the top of your house. If the environment in your crawlspace is nasty, humid or just plain unhealthy, it will impact your upper living spaces, and ultimately your health and comfort.
When a crawlspace is left vulnerable to the outside elements, water can easily make its way in and cause damage to your home like wood rot, sagging floors, mold, poor indoor air, pest infestation, and general discomfort in the upper living spaces. Water seeps in through the ground, the footing, and through access points that are unprotected such as vents and doors.
A nasty, musty odor is a pretty good indicator that you have an issue in your lower level, and often, that issue is mold. Mold thrives in a crawl space where moisture and high humidity is present. Mold is a big health risk and should be taken care of quickly. Sealing the area off with a complete encapsulation system and installing a crawl space dehumidifier to control the humidity levels will help with the smell and the threat to your health. Also, by sealing or encapsulating your crawlspace, you are also making it much harder for smelly critters to make your crawlspace their home.
Mold reproduces through tiny spores that we can’t see but float through the air. There are several types of mold out there, but they all have this in common: they all require moisture to grow. Mold seeks water, warmth and food. So, a damp crawl space prone to high humidity or standing water makes it the perfect home for these spores to reproduce and wreak havoc on your health. Mold in your home can trigger asthma, allergies, headaches and other serious health concerns.
When the humidity in your crawl space is left unregulated and reaches a level of 50 percent or higher, it puts both your home and your health at risk. High humidity can cause wood to warp and rot, which ultimately leads to sagging floor joists and support beams. This means the structural integrity of your home is not what it should be. High levels of humidity will also lead to mold growth in your crawl space, which is very dangerous to your family’s health. A dehumidifier that is designed specifically for the crawlspace is needed to prevent these issues and turn your crawl space into a more controlled environment.
If you find yourself reaching for heavy socks or slippers all winter long, you can thank your drafty crawl space. Cold air that finds its way into your home through missing doors or vent covers, or even through tiny gaps and holes, will impact the floor above and cost you a lot of money on your monthly utility bills.
Traditional fiberglass insulation that is common in a lot of homes is not an effective barrier to cold outside air. Plus, if that insulation becomes damp or wet, it will begin to break down and become useless. When fiberglass insulation is installed, you can expect to lose more than 30 percent of your heat, and that doesn’t even account for poor installation around fixtures and outlets that would allow event more warmth to escape. This type of insulation can also become the perfect breeding ground for mold, insects, rodents and other pests.
The best solution is a powerful combination of crawl space encapsulation using the proper vapor barrier liners, a professional grade dehumidifier to control humidity, and insulating the walls with the best materials to combat air leaks and drafts. Once this system is in place and your crawl space becomes a controlled environment, you will notice a huge change in your bills each month.
Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are chemicals that enter the air as gases from some solids or liquids. Both short and long-term exposure to these chemicals can cause a variety of health issues including eye and respiratory irritation, headache or nausea. Breathing low levels of VOC’s may also increase an individual’s risk for respiratory ailments, cancer and other major health problems.
An encapsulation system for your crawl space can combat many issues including moisture, mold, mildew, musty odors, critters, and wood rot. However, even the heaviest liners do not protect against VOC’s like radon, benzene, contaminated groundwater, and dangerous soil vapor. Thankfully, a revolutionary new liner material has been developed that is 800% more effective at stopping harmful VOC’s. WhiteCap VOC Block is a true gas, moisture, and vapor barrier, that when installed correctly, provides the complete protection you need.