The Blog

5 Serious Ways Your Crawl Space Affects Your Home

By Chuck Henrichsen on February 5, 2015

It’s easy for homeowners to never think of their crawl space, adopting an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. To the chagrin of many a homeowner, it’s not uncommon to find disgusting conditions festering beneath their home. Regardless of the length of time you’ve lived in your home, it’s a good idea to consistently inspect your crawl space.

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What might be smelling, seeping, rotting, or molding under your floorboards?

Lots of things, actually. This laundry list of common ways that crawl spaces affect the living conditions inside your home are alarming at best and dangerous at worst. Take a look.

1. Poor Air Quality

When a crawl space has been left unattended, the moisture content of the air in the crawl space isn’t properly monitored. Its easy for moisture to develop in a crawl space due to changing temperatures, rainy weather, and lack of preemptive measures (like vapor barriers). When moisture develops, it paves the way for mold and rot to develop in the insulation or wooden beams in your crawl space. This rot and mold releases mycotoxins that then seep through your floorboards and into your home.

This may be surprising for some homeowners to hear. Some might think that “Well, if the mold is under my house, then I’ll just make sure that no one goes down there and we’ll all be safe and sound.”

However, approximately 40% of the air in your home seeps up through the crawl space. So, if your crawl space has mold problems, so does your home’s air quality. What many people assume is dust sensitivity or allergic reaction could actually be response to dangerous mycotoxins seeping up from the home’s crawlspace.

To learn more about mold prevention in your home and crawl space, download our free eBook on toxic mold that offers various solutions to mold problems in your crawl space.

2. High Energy Bills

Crawl spaces that are not properly insulated can allow a significant amount of heat to escape from your home. Moreover, because of the high transfer rate of air from your crawl space to your home, cold air can easily sabotage all of the time and effort your heating system expends to heat up your home. Basically, without crawl space insulation that will prevent that temperature transfer, homeowners find that they spend exorbitant amounts of money heating their home in winter and cooling their home in summer.

Homeowners that install crawl space (and attic!) insulation consistently begin to experience 30-50% savings on their energy bills right away. Not only does this reduce your home’s carbon footprint, but it also saves you more money in the long run. Clean Crawls estimates that, within a year of the crawl space insulation job, the job will have paid for itself by saving you money on your energy bills each month.

3. Rodent Infestations

Despite the fact that your crawl space may be surrounded by a thick layer of concrete serving as the foundation, your crawl space may not be as predator-proof as you may suppose. Even holes the size of a dime can let critters inside your crawl space. The last thing you want is a nest of clever critters claiming your crawl space as their snug little home.

Types of critters that often infest crawl spaces:

  • possums
  • rats and mice
  • squirrels
  • skunks
  • snakes
  • bats

What’s more, critters like these don’t tend to not leave you with a happy home. Droppings are left behind to fester, affecting air quality inside the home. Not only that, but certain critters, like squirrels, will get curious and start chewing on any exposed electrical wires, ruin insulation, or rip holes in a vapor barrier. All in all, the day you discover a rodent or critter infestation is a bad day.

Check out our rodent infestation eBook to see how you can take steps to keep curious, cold, and hungry rodents away from your home.

4. Damaged Sub-floor

We’ve already talked about how moisture can affect the air quality of your home, but moisture has damaging effects on other areas of your home as well. Moisture that accumulates consistently can easily seep through the ceiling of the crawl space and cause problems with your sub-flooring. Not only can this begin to warp home’s layer of surface flooring, but sub-flooring is also quite a hassle to repair or replace.

5. Compromised Foundation

More than just the subfloor, however, moisture problems can also cause issues for the foundation level of your home. The wooden beams that hold up your home’s structure can be damaged by consistent exposure to high levels of moisture, condensation, or humidity. In some not-so-uncommon cases, crawl spaces have actually flooded, causing significant structural damage that resulted in thousands of dollars of repair work.

Keep your home safe by inspecting your crawl space for any problems. Download our “Crawl Space Cleaning Guide” ebook for a list of recommended steps and tactics for inspecting, cleaning, and fortifying your crawl space.

If you’re interested in crawl space cleaning and insulation services, we’d love to have a conversation with you. You can request a free quote, or give us a call, and we can connect with you about the type of work you’re interested in having done professionally.

Chuck Henrichsen
President and CEO of Clean Crawls, Treasurer of E3 World Wide, proud husband and father.