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Why Should I Get My Crawl Space Encapsulated?

Crawl spaces typically have exposed, dirt floors that are prone to moisture, which can aid in the growth of mold and mildew, which can lower the air quality in the home. The dirt floors and exposed vents can also let in standing water, and even flood in some extreme cases. This excess moisture is also known to attract pests like the dreaded termite. Thankfully, help is available. 

Crawl space encapsulations completely seal off the dirt floor with a vapor barrier, preventing the vapors that cause moisture and humidity from getting inside. Crawl space encapsulations also seal off the large vents that let in additional water and wildlife. A crawl space encapsulation job also covers the installation of a sump pump system, which automatically detects standing water and pumps it away from the property. If you need a crawl space encapsulation job in the Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax or Fredericksburg areas, contact Summit Waterproofing Solutions today at 703-291-1516, or fill out a contact form!

Mold, Mildew and Air Quality

One of the biggest dangers of having an unsealed, dirt floor in your crawl space is the possibility of mold and mildew growth. Water vapor rises from the ground, and these vapors can create moist, humid conditions inside your crawl space. The spores that cause mold and mildew will grow in areas with high humidity. Mold needs organic material to feed on, and the dirt floor of your crawl space as well as the wood/drywall in your home provides this organic material. Mold can rot away at the wood in your home over time, and it can also leave very unsightly stains. However, the greatest threat posed by mold is the effect it has on your family’s health. 

Mold needs around two days of consistent moisture to begin growing, and mold will constantly emit further spores into the air, floating around as they search for more dark, warm, damp surfaces to begin growing on. Around 50% of the air on the first level of the home is circulated from the crawl space, meaning these mold spores will be floating around your home, which can significantly impact your air quality. These mold spores can find their way into your lungs or the lungs of your family, which can cause allergy symptoms like coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, shortness of breath, and irritation of the mouth, nose and throat. If you are feeling “allergy symptoms” year-round, you might have a problem with mold in your crawl space. Another potential cause of year-round allergy symptoms is the presence of dust mites in your home. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that are responsible for most “dust allergies” you have in your home. Dust mites can only survive in conditions above 50% humidity however, so if you have a moist, humid crawl space that is circulating air around the first floor, this could be contributing to dust mites in the air. 

Thankfully, a crawl space encapsulation job can solve these problems. The vapor barrier installed during a crawl space encapsulation can effectively prevent water vapor from entering the crawl space, thus preventing the humid conditions that cause mold and air quality issues in the first place. Furthermore, dehumidifier installation is part of most crawl space encapsulations, and dehumidifiers can lower the humidity in the air, eliminating the dust mites and lowering the potential for mold. Another danger posed by an un-encapsulated crawl space is the potential for standing water and flooding. 

Standing Water and Flooding

Standing water and crawl space flooding can come from a wide variety of sources. Standing water can get into your crawl space through cracks or leaks in your foundation, and they can also get in through the unsealed large crawl space vents that were mandated by antiquated building codes for years. If you have a dirt floor crawl space, then standing water can be formed by groundwater rising up from the rain-saturated ground. Standing water inside your crawl space, especially if it reaches flood levels, can be catastrophic for     your home’s health. This water can erode the foundation and rot the wood of your home. This excess water can also lead to the aforementioned issues with mold and mildew growth impacting the air quality of your home, eventually impacting your family’s health. However, crawl space encapsulations provide an easy solution to standing water and crawl space flooding. 

Sump pumps are a system that collect groundwater through a sump basin and redirect it away from the home via a pump that activates when the level of groundwater gets too high and threatens the creation of standing water or a flood. Sump pumps are often installed or replaced as part of a crawl space encapsulation, and keeping these systems functioning optimally can greatly aid in the prevention of water issues in the crawl space. Summit Waterproofing also offers battery backup systems for our sump pumps, ensuring that your sump pumps will function no matter the situation.        

Termites and Other Pests

Another unfortunate consequence of an unsealed crawl space is an increased presence of pests and nuisance wildlife. The higher levels of moisture and potential standing water can attract moisture-loving pests like rodents, cockroaches, and even the dreaded termite. Termites, the wood-feeding insects known to hollow out wooden structures, damage foundations and ruin a home’s value are active year round, and the number one thing these pests need is moisture. Most species of termite build mud tubes to shield themselves from the elements and keep themselves constantly hydrated and moisturized. A humid, moisture-heavy crawl space provides the perfect environment for these bugs to thrive. Termites will build their mud tubes inside the crawl space, rising up from the dirt alongside the foundation until they reach the wood of the home, where they will begin feeding. Termites can cause thousands of dollars in damage, especially if they go undetected for long periods of time. 

High moisture levels can also provide rodents and insect pests like cockroaches with a place to thrive. These pests can often use the crawl space as their entry point into your home, where they can wreak havoc and spread illness and bacteria. Due to antiquated building codes, most crawl spaces have large, unsealed vents to the outside. These vents can allow nuisance wildlife like raccoons, snakes, opossums and skunks to get in and create their nest inside the crawl space . Skunks are notorious for spraying their awful scent around their nesting area to mark their territory, so an unsealed crawl space can lead to your entire yard smelling like skunk. Sealing the crawl space vents is part of any crawl space encapsulation job, which can prevent these animals from getting inside. 

Crawl Space Encapsulations in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax

Crawl space encapsulations aren’t just to make your crawl space pretty, they also serve several important functions. Crawl space encapsulations can inhibit the growth of mold and mildew in the home, keeping the air quality in your home high. The sump pumps that are installed as part of a crawl space encapsulation can pump away any standing water, preventing floods in the crawl space. Crawl space encapsulations can also prevent the entry of insect pests like termites and cockroaches, as well as the intrusion of nuisance wildlife like raccoons and skunks. If you need a crawl space encapsulation in the Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax areas, contact Summit Waterproofing today for the best crawl space waterproofing services at 703-291-1516 or fill out a contact form

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