Why is it Important to Monitor a Home’s Crawl Space Humidity Levels in South Carolina?

Jun 26, 2017

Categories: Crawl Spaces

As the crawlspace repair experts in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina, CNT often advises clients on the best ways to deal with crawl space humidity. The air in a home’s crawl space is not often a priority for many homeowners but it should be. In this article, we will discuss the habitats created in a crawl space from unmonitored humidity levels, the damage it can cause to your home and the remedies available in South Carolina.

What Can Live in My Home’s Crawl Space with Unmonitored Humidity Levels in South Carolina?

The words “humidity” and “South Carolina” are synonymous and without proper humidity levels in your home’s crawl space, mold and other organisms will thrive. This, of course, can cause health problems.

According to the Center for Disease Control,

Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.

Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you can not rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk.

Mold prevention tips include:

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 55%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  • Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.

Can Unmonitored Crawl Space Humidity Levels Cause Damage to My Home in South Carolina?

Yes. It most certainly can and, over time, probably will. Humid weather intensifies moisture problems that often causes concern in crawl spaces. Aside from health concerns, unchecked humidity levels can cause significant damage to your home.

Mechanical systems. Humidity can leave condensation on water pipes causing rust and bursting. This, of course, will lead to additional problems and costly repairs.

Flooring. Mold and mildew can get into wood flooring and carpets, and may be hard to completely remove. If the mildewed carpet cannot be cleaned with an electric shampoo machine or by a professional, replace it.

If mold develops on wood flooring, clean it with trisodium phosphate or quaternary disinfectants, then rinse and dry thoroughly. When repainting, consider a mildew-resistant paint.

Storage. Humidity can also destroy clothes, food and other stored items. Dry foods can draw in moisture and quickly go stale if humidity exceeds 60% and it is advisable to keep stored food in an air-conditioned space. Irreplaceable objects such as family photos can be destroyed with unmonitored crawl space humidity levels.

You can also reduce humidity damage to clothing with chemical absorbents such as silica gel packets or other moisture-absorbing materials. Once added, tightly close all containers and clothing trunks.

Walls. Crawl space humidity levels can rise and build up in walls, which can become soggy and structurally unsafe over time. To minimize this issue, increase the wall insulation and strongly consider vapor-retardant paints.

What is Encapsulation and How Can it Reduced the Humidity Levels in My Home’s Crawl Space in South Carolina?

Controlling moisture is the key to eradicating problems with mold, dust mites, various other organisms and wood rot in your crawl space. There are several methods available for controlling crawl space moisture and encapsulation is one of the best solutions for controlling excess moisture. Encapsulation also helps ensure your home’s crawl space humidity level stays at or below 55%.

A heavy-duty, high-quality polyethylene barrier is added to completely cover your entire crawl space. Once your crawl space is completely sealed, the attention turns to conditioning the air to maintain the healthy humidity level. The most common way to do this is by adding a dehumidifier to regulate your crawl space’s moisture level.

This barrier and dehumidifier combination protects the crawl space from excess moisture and all the problems that come along with it.

Once encapsulated, the crawls space will have transformed into a much cleaner and healthier home for your family.

  • Improved air quality in your crawl space, home, and family
  • Creates inhospitable area for pests and wood-destroying insects
  • More comfortable living conditions
  • Avoid fungi/mold issues and structural damage
  • Greater energy efficiency in your home

The experts at  CNT can help eradicate the habitat that allows mold, mildew, and a variety of organisms to thrive. This is not only troublesome, it can also become dangerous. The health of your family and structural integrity of your home is too important to allow unmonitored humidity.