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Danger in the Air: What Moisture in Your Crawl Space Means for You and Your Family

A rainy day may do more than just bring the kids inside. The moisture in the air is likely to seep into your home, bringing potentially dangerous consequences with it.

The Culprit: Moisture

While “moist” may be an ideal word to describe a cake, it’s definitely not a descriptor you want used on your home. From increasingly frizzy hair to mildew films around drains, the effects of moisture can become a true nuisance. But what you may chalk up to harmless unpleasantries can actually be much more problematic, even dangerous. In fact, moisture breeds a host of problems for your home.

When it comes to pest control, moisture is a key causational condition for some of our least favorite guests: bugs and rodents. Pests drawn to moisture include cockroaches, silverfish, termites, rats, and mice, and they don’t need much to make themselves feel right at home. For example, cockroaches can happily survive on the condensation provided by water pipes, and silverfish, the thin silver bugs you might spot near shower and sink drains, can spread throughout your home due to their expansive diet. While not necessarily dangerous, silverfish can give you and your family quite the scare.

Worse, however, are termites, which need moisture to do their damage. They can ruin your home’s wood framing, resulting in costly repairs including wood decay and pest invasion. Add rodents and mice to the mix, and not only are you anticipating serious financial strain but also health risks. Rodents and mice, in particular, can spread directly or indirectly 35 diseases, including Hantavirus, salmonellosis, and typhus. Once moisture attracts them, these pests and their consequences are hard to eliminate.

This moisture, in addition to making your home a breeding ground for bugs and rodents, also makes it a breeding ground for many other dangerous and troublesome pests you never even imagined, like mold, mildew, radon gas, and odor. These contaminants can not only affect the health of your family and home but also attract pests, further compounding the problem. At the end of the day, moisture is what allows mold, mildew, radon, and insects to thrive in your home and cohabitate with you and your family.

The Source: Your Crawl Space

Up to 40% of the air you breathe in your home comes up from your crawl space. You might be wondering how. The answer is what’s known as the “stack effect,” a process where the air at the lowest point of the structure filters up through the crawl space floor and moves up into where you and your family are living. With that in mind, shouldn’t you be more concerned about what is going on underneath your house?

As air is rising up and out of your home, the air that replaces it comes right from your crawl space, making it one of the most important spaces in your home. So, while you may think that the contents of what’s beneath your home are less important than what’s in your primary living area, the two spaces may be overlapping more than you ever realized.

Needless to say, the biggest culprit in creating an unhealthy crawl space is moisture. In addition to attracting pests and incubating harmful matter such as mold, mildew, and radon gas, the moisture in your crawl space has a far greater effect on the wellbeing of your family than you realize. Your crawl space may be exposing you and your family to dangerous, contaminated air. Add the health repercussions to the structural damage the spread of this moist air can cause on your home, and the financial cost becomes tremendous.

The Solution: Protect Your Family

At this point, you may have already purchased a dehumidifier for your crawl space. This might not be your best bet, since it will likely need power from an outlet. Rather than drag extension cords across your yard and into the crawl space of your home, consider calling a professional. While a dehumidifier in your crawl space can help remove some of its moisture, there are some more appropriate alternatives, including having a professional use a moisture meter in your crawl space and install vapor barriers where necessary. A moisture meter is a tool used during crawl space inspections to detect just how much water is in the space. This measurement helps inform decisions on how best to address crawl space moisture. For instance, if the moisture levels are higher than a dehumidifier could realistically adjust for, you might need to install crawl space vapor barriers. Vapor barriers accomplish exactly what their name suggests, they form a protective barrier between the outside moisture and the air in your crawl space. With this protective barrier, your crawl space can stay dry, eliminating the negative effects of moisture.

When considering bringing in a professional, keep Western in mind. In fact, Western experts have developed a line of services specifically targeted at keeping moisture out of crawl spaces and the rest of your home. Western’s Moisture Control Program is an effective way to control moisture within your crawl space. The Western process includes the following steps:

  1. A detailed inspection
  2. Liquid treatment where necessary
  3. Removal of crawl space debris
  4. Installation of polyethylene vapor barriers that are custom-fit to your crawl space to keep moisture levels low
  5. Installation of patented temp air vents or flood vents that open and close according to outside temperatures, which promote healthy air circulation within your crawl space
  6. Checking the condition of crawl space access door and replacement if necessary

Whether or not you choose to partner with Western to keep your crawl space dry, consider addressing these concerns with the help of a hired professional. Armed with the right tools and proper knowledge, an expert can help keep your home free of pests, mold, and all of the consequences of moisture – from you and your family’s health to the structural foundation of your home.

Have your crawlspaces inspected today.

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