The Blog

How to Keep Your Crawl Space Dry in Winter

By Chuck Henrichsen on September 30, 2015

Fall and winter are among some of the wettest seasons for Seattle and Tacoma residents. While rain is a staple of Washington weather, these moist conditions can impact the integrity and value of many Pacific Northwest crawl spaces. The crawl space is critical part of your home and it’s important to keep this area clean and dry year-round. This space can easily become humid and damp during the winter.

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Source of Moisture

There are a number of ways that Seattle and Tacoma crawl spaces can become wet. Many of these problems come from either inside or outside the home. Every situation is different, so property owners should carefully inspect their crawl space to determine which of these sources is responsible for their crawl space conditions.

Outside the Home

There are numerous factors outside the home that dictate crawl space conditions. Many Tacoma crawl spaces are flooded during the wet winter months because of their placement and surroundings. This problem requires special installations to prevent water from entering the crawl space.

Some homes are constructed with the crawl space door on the outside. , Water and moisture can easily creep inside if this door isn’t shut or sealed properly. Even crawl space vents are responsible for allowing rainwater and humid air to blow into the space.

Inside the Home

Other sources of water and moisture are actually located inside the crawl space. Some Seattle and Tacoma homes were built with the dryer vent in the crawl space. This simple mistake is one of the leading causes for warm, wet conditions in the crawl space.

Many homes have their water heaters located in the crawl space. Leaks in the plumbing or water heaters can cause water to leak into the surroundings. If ignored, these problems can result in high humidity levels, wood rot, and insulation failure in the crawl space. Experts have found several great ways to prepare the crawl space for these conditions and to protect the space from unwanted damage.

5 Steps for a Clean Crawl Space

There are several simple tasks that homeowners can complete to prepare their crawl spaces for Tacoma’s winter weather:

1. Clean Gutters

Gutters can’t drain properly when they are full of leaves, garbage, and debris. Instead, they overflow and water collects right next to the base of the house. It then soaks into the ground and evaporates into the crawl space.

It is important to redirect all water runoff away from the base of your house. Clean your gutters to ensure that they are draining properly. If the gutters still drain too close to the house, extend the gutter to drain at least 10 feet away from the crawl space.

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2. Close Air Vents

Air vents were originally seen as a way to allow air to circulate in the crawl space. Now, crawl space cleaning professionals know that they are just a way for water and moisture to enter your home.

Close all of your crawl space vents before the weather turns sour. A crawl space cleaning company can actually seal them shut to prevent rainwater from getting inside. Sealing your vents is also a great way to ensure that your crawl space stays warm during the winter and cool in the summer.

3. Seal the Crawl Space

Studies have shown that most homes have enough air leaks to be equivalent to a 2-square-foot hole. Many of these tiny cracks and holes can be found in the walls, corners, and and base of your crawl space. A crawl space cleaning company can provide you with air sealing services to prevent air from circulating through these gaps, reducing the humidity of your crawl space.

4. Install a Vapor Barrier

Tacoma and Seattle's wet weather conditions result in an incredible amount of groundwater. Most crawl spaces have a sand or dirt floor with no covering or protection over the top. Researchers have found that a substantial amount of water evaporates from the ground and raises the humidity of the crawl space.

The best way to prevent this evaporation and to keep water out of the crawl space is to install a thick, protective vapor barrier on the ground. A professional crawl space cleaning company can provide the tools, supplies, and experience necessary to properly install a vapor barrier.

5. Additional Resources

There are other preventative supplies that can be utilized to help regulate safe humidity levels in the crawl space. For homes with puddles of water in their crawl space, a sump pump and other drainage systems can be installed to collect and eliminate this water.

Dehumidifiers can be installed by crawl space cleaning companies and set to turn on when humidity levels are too high. These machines will act as an air conditioning unit for your crawl space and drain away any unwanted water. A specialized crawl space company can inspect the space and recommend the best solution for your crawl space conditions.

Contact Us

Professional crawl space cleaning is an excellent way to regulate crawl space conditions and protect the integrity of your home. At Clean Crawls, we offer crawl space cleaning services to prepare Pacific Northwest homes for the wet and muggy winter. For more information, contact our company today by giving us a call or filling out our contact form.

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