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How to Protect Crawl Space Insulation from Dangerous Humidity Levels

By Chuck Henrichsen on July 8, 2015

High humidity in your crawl space will cause serious issues to your home. Not only will it put stress on the crawl space beams and weaken the structure of your home, but it can do serious damage to your crawl space insulation. To avoid this threat, Tacoma homeowners can take preventative measures to ensure that their homes are protected against high crawl space humidity.

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How Water Affects Crawl Space Insulation

Allowing moisture levels to get too high in your crawl space will have serious consequences for your crawl space insulation. If you haven’t used spray foam insulation in your crawl space (which is impermeable to water or moisture), you need to be on the lookout for these 3 high humidity issues:

1. Incapable of Insulating

Insulation is engineered in such a way to create millions of tiny air pockets inside the insulation. These pockets work to trap the energy in the air and prevent its escape through the walls of your crawl space. This maintains indoor temperatures and blocks the transfer of energy between the crawl space and outside climates.

When humidity levels in the crawl space are too high, these tiny insulation pockets fill with water. The presence of water in the insulation eliminates its ability to retain energy, and instead encourages the transfer of energy, making the insulation ineffective.

2. Encourage Mold Growth and Wood Rot

High moisture levels can occur for a variety of reasons, but with so much water in the crawl space, it is easy for mold and mildew to grow and thrive. Many forms of insulation will absorb water and provide materials for mold to feed off of. Even foam boards, while usually water resistant, can end up trapping water against the walls, encouraging wood rot in the walls of the crawl space.

3. Poor Air Quality

With mold and mildew growing in your crawl space, mold spores and terrible smells start to fill the air and make it unhealthy. The stack effect in homes then causes this nasty air to be pulled up and into the living environment, exposing its occupants to the poor air quality of the crawl space.

4. High Energy Bills

Without proper crawl space insulation, energy is allowed to move freely through the walls of the crawl space. The climate of the crawl space now matches the climate of the great outdoors. The stack effect then pulls this hot or cold air into the rest of the house, forcing the HVAC system to compensate to keep the home a suitable temperature. Homeowners have been able to save between 30-50% on their energy bills, simply by replacing the insulation in the crawl space.

To avoid these problems, it is important that your crawl space be checked regularly to ensure that the humidity levels are appropriate.

Ways to Know If Your Tacoma Insulation is In Danger:

1. 70% or higher

The threshold humidity level for your crawl space should be far below 70%. Any level higher than 70% leaves your crawl space insulation at serious risk for damage. To test the humidity level of your crawl space, we recommend purchasing a thermo-hygrometer to measure the temperature and humidity of your crawl space. This way, you have a reliable device that will calculate appropriate levels of humidity based on the temperature of your environment.

2. Visible condensation

If there is any condensation on the beams, walls, or ceiling of the crawl space, this means that the air in your crawl space has reached the maximum amount of moisture it can hold. At this point, your humidity level is far too high — and it’s time to start identifying the problem.

3. Standing water

Pools or puddles of water in your crawl space should immediately put you on high alert. You likely have a crack or improper sealing somewhere in your crawl space. That much water in your crawl space means it’s time to have your crawl space thoroughly cleaned out and resealed so that you can start re-insulating your crawl space.

If your crawl space insulation is dirty or ineffective, it’s time for a change. At Clean Crawls, we offer Tacoma crawl space cleaning services to ensure that your crawl space is thoroughly cleaned out, resealed, and ready for new insulation. Our Tacoma crawl space insulation services can then instal fresh, clean insulation in your crawl space so that you can start reaping the benefits. For more information, feel free to give us a call, or fill 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.