Here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to sooner or later have to decide whether to clean out their crawl space themselves or enlist the services of a professional. A dirty crawl space has a sneaky way of affecting the health of you and your home. Chances are, if you’ve recently experienced higher than usual power bills, noticed musty smells in the house, or experienced an increase in allergies, your crawl space could be the culprit.
When to Clean Our Your Crawl Space
If your crawl space is filled to the brim with a lot of junk that can be sorted through and eliminated, you might want to just do the job yourself, since it likely has to do with you wanting to keep things that you shouldn’t. This might be harder than it at first appears. If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time letting go of possessions – even those you haven’t touched in years – you’re going to need to be disciplined and willing to let go of things.
When we speak of cleaning your crawl space, we’re not talking about dusting, sweeping or mopping. No, we’re talking about removing excess junk and defective or fallen insulation. Aside from the clutter factor, a crawl space full of junk will have adverse effects on things like your ventilation, increasing the chances of a buildup of moisture and gases. Fallen insulation probably means you have serious problems like moisture or rodent infestation in your crawl space. Removing this damaged or fallen insulation can be more difficult than you think – it’s a hard job that is dirty and gross.
When Is A Cleaning Service The Best Choice?
Perform a quick analysis of the state of your crawl space as it relates to the following conditions to know if you’d be in over your head doing the cleanup yourself:
- Inspect for high levels of humidity: If you use a simple barometer you should be able to tell if there is excessive humidity in your crawl space. If there is, you may need to add a vapor barrier, or repair or replace your existing one.
- Inspect your insulation: What you’re looking for is dampness, rodent droppings or sections that have become unattached. If excessive, this means your insulation needs replacing.
- Check for mold: Examine the wooden sections of your crawl space (usually your floors and walls) and along the insulation itself. Be sure and check the corners!
- Check for cracks: Take a good look at the foundation wall to see if there are any visible cracks.
If there are, write down how many and what lengths they are, and then call a local cleaning service to get their opinion on the state of your foundation wall. Look for leaks around vents and windows. Make sure the caulk around these features have not disintegrated. If they have, they’re going to need to be resealed.
Performing these checks will go a long way in helping you decide if you should try and do the work yourself or hire a pro.
The Foolproof Way
Now that you've made an assessment as to whether or not you wish to clean your crawl space yourself or entrust this job to a professional crawl space cleaning company, it’s important that you know the steps that constitute a foolproof way of cleaning your crawl space. Follow these five recommended steps if you decide to clean your crawl space yourself:
1. Get Rid of Excess Junk
If all your possessions are doing is taking up space and creating clutter, it’s time to send them on their way. This also includes removing and throwing away damaged or soiled insulation. If you have a rodent problem – and the condition of the insulation could be an indication of such – this step can help to alleviate that problem.
2. Replace Removed Insulation
This is absolutely critical to maintaining the balance of heat transfer in your home. Failure to replace discarded insulation can lead to cold floors and excessive power bills – neither a pleasant thing.
3. Address Existing Mold Conditions
This is vital in terms of your health and the health of those who live in your home. Mold takes root due to moisture in your crawl space (and other areas in your home), so once it is eradicated and cleaned up properly, the cause of moisture buildup – usually cracks and holes in the crawl space – need to be repaired.
4. Add or Improve Crawl Space Features
Vapor barriers need to be in good condition and, if nonexistent, should be added to the crawl space. Insulation should be secured with twine or wood lathe, it’s also important that you have a framed, wooden access door that is sturdy and properly sealed.
5. Eliminate Rodent Infestation
It does little good to have your crawl space clean and functional if there remains a colony of rodents. They’ll need to be eliminated by someone who knows how to do it safely and thoroughly.
The Recognized Crawl Space Experts
A clean crawl space is crucial to the safety and health of your home’s environment and helps regulate the heating and cooling of the home, lowering power costs. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Clean Crawls is recognized as the crawl space cleaning experts. If you’ve assessed the state of your crawl space and want professional assistance, contact us today for a free estimate.