4 Ways Moisture Enters Your Crawl Space
Here in Atlanta, a lot of homes are built on crawl spaces. And because of how the code was written decades before, a lot of those crawl spaces are vented.
While vents may work in some environments, here in our humid client, it often leads to moisture problems. Where does this moisture come from?
The Foundation Vents
Vents are installed into the foundation as a way of letting the moisture out. But in reality, they actually do the opposite. (At least in the summer.) When outdoor air enters through the vents and into the crawl space, it brings in water vapor. And as this builds, so too does the relative humidity within the crawl space. Eventually, that leaves moisture on the ceiling, walls, and floor.
The Foundation Walls
Moisture can also come from the ground outside of your home by migrating through the foundation walls. Because the builder relied on the vents to keep the crawl space in check, there are rarely any perimeter drains to help with moisture. The wet soil from outside the crawl space seeps through the foundation walls.
Most crawl spaces are barren places. The soil floor is left uncovered. And while it may look dry on the top, just a little digging can find wet soil just below the surface. The air in the crawl space is constantly evaporating water, which will leave surface soil dry.
Not all problems stem from a poorly built crawl space. A lot of plumbing pipes run through the crawl space, and they occasionally leak. Because crawl spaces are infrequently visited, plumbing leaks can go on a long time without being detected. This is especially true if it leaks into soil or gravel as opposed to a plastic covering.
If you have a crawl space, encapsulation is the way to go. It covers the ground, the walls, and the vents to stop the three most common sources of moisture from entering your crawl space.
And once you dry out your crawl space, your indoor air quality should improve too.