Insulating a Crawl Space
We have moisture in our crawl space. It has been suggested that we install electric fans. Would that help? And is it the best solution?
First, you have to determine what's causing the moisture. Electric fans will help, but if you don't resolve where the moisture is coming from you can have real problems.
My husband and I had this problem. The first thing is to make sure that any air vents or air passageways are not blocked.
We bought a product called Drylok. It's often available in the paint departments of stores like Home Depot. It's not exactly cheap, but it's incredibly effective. Just sweep out or shop vac the crawl space walls and floors as best as possible. Be careful of the fumes! Use a heavy-duty brush to put the stuff on and spread it around. It's like cement, white paint, and rubber all mixed into an ammonia-smelling concoction! We put about two coats on, and our crawlspace has been unbelievably dry.
Also make sure that any insulation overhead (insulating your floors above) is not damp or damaged. Make sure the backing (vapor barrier) is facing the correct way. Ask at the building supply store to make sure you've installed it correctly. With these few things, you should see a big difference.
We had a dehumidifier and a sump pump installed under our house in the crawl space, and they work well. The sump pump hasn't been used since the initial amount of water was pumped out. Is it also possible to have a drainage pipe installed from your crawl space to the edge of your yard? And, make sure the land next to your crawl space door drains away from your house, or have that space graded to drain away.
Put a layer of plastic over the dirt under the house. This will prevent moisture from coming up from the ground. If the water is running under the house from the sides, you will have to do something else.
We had moisture in our crawl space so bad that we developed a mold problem on the floor joists and part of them had to be replaced. The moisture also contributed to termites. The company that took care of the termite problem also took care of the moisture problem.
They installed new foundation vents (we have an old house) that open and close themselves according to temperature. They installed vent wells to keep the ground water from running in under the house when it rains. They added a vent with a fan in it in one area that really needed some air movement and they put down black plastic under the house to within a few inches of the foundation. They also advised us to keep the gutters cleaned out and to direct the water from the downspouts away from the house with splash blocks. They also suggested that we slope the dirt away from the house so the water wouldn't run under the house.
Glenda in TN
There are several solutions you could try to dry out that area. Go to your local hardware store and ask for products that are designed to take moisture out of the area. These are usually small containers of a crystal-like product that absorbs moisture from the air. When they are saturated, you can dry them out in your oven and reuse them.
Put a vent of some kind on either end of the crawl space, which will allow air to circulate and help dry the area out. If you have standing water, dry the area out and then follow these suggestions. If the area returns to standing water, you may need to work on your landscaping to make certain it is draining away from the house and not toward it. If all of these suggestions fail, you need to hire a contractor to find out what is causing this and to suggest corrective measures.
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