What’s the deal with crawlspace encapsulation?

What’s the deal with crawlspace encapsulation?

What you need to know about crawlspace encapsulation

Crawlspace encapsulation is one of the most beneficial home improvement projects you can do to safeguard the health of your home and its inhabitants. For many, the crawlspace is “out of sight, out of mind,” but that tucked away space just a couple of inches beneath your feet can wreak havoc on your home and on your health if not properly encapsulated and maintained. According to the EPA, in homes with a crawlspace, more than 40% of the air you breathe comes up through the crawlspace. That means you and your family are breathing whatever is down there, including mold, mildew, fiberglass insulation particles, gases from the soil, and even rodent waste. All of those contaminants (and many others, depending on the crawlspace) are irritants that can cause inexplicable allergies, headaches, itchy/watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, and other long-term health symptoms. Not to mention, a damp and moldy crawlspace can destroy your home from the bottom up. If you’ve noticed sagging, uneven, or “bouncy” floors, cracks in your foundation or on the inside or outside of your home, or if you’ve been in the crawlspace and seen flooding, soft wood, or mud, your building materials are slowly being weakened, and eventually, could be destroyed.

How does mold get into my crawlspace?

Like most organic organisms, mold needs a couple of things to survive: food and water. In places like Dalton, Varnell, Rocky Face, Cohutta, Tunnel Hill, Ringgold, Fort Oglethorpe, Murray County, Whitfield County, and the surrounding Northwest Georgia areas, humidity is most always high. Humid conditions make it so mold can thrive. But what about the food? You never see anyone intentionally feeding their crawlspaces like they feed their plants! The bad news is, the mold looks at your home as the perfect banquet, and your crawlspace is a most hospitable host. Under the crawlspace, especially those that have vented openings (which unfortunately, is pretty standard for construction), water accumulates, either by dripping into the crawlspace if there are openings, seeping in through ground runoff, or simply by condensing from the air. In theory, the vents in a crawlspace would be great…if there wasn’t such high humidity in our area. In a drier, more arid environment, if water gets in, it can easily evaporate out thanks to basic physics: wet goes to dry. But in our home office town of Dalton, Georgia and the entire Northwest Georgia area, the moisture only has wet air or wetter air to choose from. Therefore, the evaporation process does not work as well as the air outside and the air inside are both incredibly humid. Since the water has nowhere to go, it accumulates in your crawlspace, puddling up in low points, condensing on duct work and other pipes, and seeping into your home’s building materials such as the floor joists.

How do I know if the kind of mold I have in my house is the dangerous kind?

There are over 10,000 different documented species of mold, and several of those are toxic to humans. If you spot mold in your home or in your crawlspace, you are certainly welcome to invest the time and money to invite a mold specialist in to test it and type it. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to one simple question: is there any kind of mold you want you and your family to be breathing in on a daily basis? It’s important to take action to treat current mold and prevent it from ever returning. The investment to encapsulate your crawlspace cost-effective as mold can be killed and prevented in the same way regardless of what species it is. The worst part about mold being in your crawlspace is that most of the surfaces below your home are porous, such as the wooden beams, and in many cases, fiberglass insulation. Mold removal under your home does not work the same as removing mold off of your tile shower. The mold grows deep into these surfaces and will keep returning if not properly removed and prevented.

How will I know if my crawlspace encapsulation will work?

Homes with crawlspaces that are not encapsulated can fall victim to organic growth, sagging floors and cracked foundations, flooding, and more. If you've noticed any of those signs, or if someone in your family is experiencing new or worsened allergies, especially those that you or your doctor have been unable to identify, you very well may want to look into having your crawlspace encapsulated. The most complete encapsulation jobs not only kill and remove mold, but also convert your crawlspace into an inhospitable place for mold growth. As previously stated, mold needs food and water to grow. To take away its food would mean to remove your home, which is obviously not an option. But the best crawlspace encapsulation options include removal of any fiberglass insulation, unused building materials, and debris, all common places where the mold grows, as wells as a thorough treatment of building materials and the entire crawlspace with an organic growth killer and inhibitor. Once the debris removal and treatment are completed, cutting off much of the mold’s food source, the next step is to cut off its water source, which, of course, serves as organic growth prevention. This is done by installation of a dehumidification system to pull water from the air along with a sump pump to direct any water accumulation away from the home, and the meticulous placement of drainage matting and a heavy-duty crawlspace liner to ensure a solid boundary between the damp ground and your home. But a full encapsulation job is not only for those who currently live in the home. With a new understanding of the importance of crawlspace encapsulation for home and personal health, more home buyers are now demanding that an encapsulation job be performed before they will even consider purchasing a specific home. So, if you're considering buying or selling a home in the near future, make sure that you have crawlspace encapsulation on your radar. If the home in question has a crawlspace, chances are, this won't be the last time you hear about an encapsulation. Now is the time to advocate for your family's health, increase and protect your home's value, and ensure the structural integrity of your home.

How can I get my crawlspace encapsulated?

If you are in Dalton, Rocky Face, Cohutta, Varnell, Tunnel Hill, Ringgold, Northwest Georgia, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Cleveland, Tennessee, or the surrounding areas, you can call Clean Heating and Air and Clean Crawlspace for a free crawlspace inspection and estimate. One of our professional, experienced, and empathetic technicians will meet with you at your home to thoroughly examine your crawlspace, perform an in-depth inspection and analysis, and review with you several options to take care of your problem for good. There’s no pressure and no obligation, and there’s no need to be embarrassed or uncomfortable. We are standing by to help protect the health of your home, and most importantly, the health of your family. Call us today for your free inspection.