Does your home have a crawl space?
You’ll find it useful for accessing drain pipes, ductwork, electrical wiring, and plumbing. Apart from that, you probably don’t acknowledge the existence of your crawl space too often.
However, you should maintain your crawl space and get it inspected regularly, warns Onsite PM. Many things could go wrong in a crawl space. Spotting early signs of issues saves you from future stress and expenses.
In this article, we’ll go over the major points of crawl space maintenance and inspections.
What are the typical crawl space issues?
Let’s take a look at the problems associated with crawl spaces. The following list shows you exactly why a crawl space maintenance and inspection schedule are necessary.
• Insulation. Do you experience significant fluctuations in your floor temperature? This points to damaged insulation in the crawl space. Part of the insulation has likely fallen apart. But the insulation failure could be a sign of rodent or water damage as well.
• Settling. House settling happens when the soil underneath your home no longer holds the building’s weight. When the soil expands, it pushes against your crawl space. The resulting pressure can create cracks that allow water to enter the space.
• Water. Excess moisture levels and water in your crawl space lead to many problems, including mold and mildew. Leaks in your plumbing may easily damage the insulation and wooden pillars under the house.
• Critters. Many small animals may find their way inside your crawl space. Mice and rats are the usual suspects. However, raccoons could enter the tight space as well. These critters could cause a lot of damage. They chew on insulation, wiring, and PVC pipes. And they will reproduce, multiplying the risk of rodent damage.
• Extreme weather. Does your area experience a significant amount of rain and snow? Or maybe there’s a flooding risk? These scenarios may result in water entering the crawl space. The water damages the insulation and other exposed building materials under your home.
• Pests. Many pests are drawn to damp, warm spaces. In most cases, this activity in the crawl space causes damage. The unwelcome guests include:
– Carpenter ants
How does the inspection work?
A crawl space inspector will determine whether it’s safe to enter the space. They can’t enter if there’s low ductwork, obstacles on the way, or the opening isn’t big enough. Usually, the opening needs to be at least 20” tall and 24” wide for the inspector to enter.
Another aspect is the overall safety of your crawl space. Inspectors won’t take unnecessary risks. For example, pooled water, exposed electrical wires, and mold growth are unsuitable for an inspection. The inspection is marked as failed until these hazardous issues are fixed.
What happens during a crawl space inspection?
These inspections make sure your crawl space is in top shape. The inspector is on the lookout for any signs of crawl space issues. The focus is on the following questions:
• Are the problems with plumbing?
• Is there any moisture damage?
• What is the condition of the floor framing?
• Does the crawl space harbor dangerous materials, such as asbestos?
• Is the wiring in good shape?
• What is the current status of vapor barriers? Are there any at all?
• Does the crawl space host any small animals or pests?
• What is the condition of insulation?
• Are any of the materials cracked, condensed, or warped?
• Is the ventilation sufficient? Are all the vents clear?
• Are there any signs of foundation issues?
As you can see, a typical crawl space inspection can uncover a lot of problems. Sometimes, homeowners would miss these important red flags unless they get an inspection done.
How to maintain your crawl space?
Crawl space maintenance is essential for keeping this space healthy and safe. Clean the crawl space regularly. Remove any stagnant water, followed by installing a perimeter drain.
Seal dirt floors with a moisture retardant, such as polyethylene. Otherwise, your crawl space is exposed to more pests and humidity. Discovering any mold calls for professional mold remediation services.
Make sure that your gutters direct water away from your home and its crawl space. An alternative is to landscape the soil so that it directs the water away from the house. Also, take any other steps that would minimize the risk of water entering into your crawl space.
Laminated water vapor barriers help to vent the crawl spaces. You can’t completely seal it from the outside air. That would be unhealthy and hazardous as well.
Make sure that your crawl space is properly insulated. This is a question of energy efficiency and optimal comfort. Use spray foam insulation and fiberglass batts for temperature regulation. Your HVAC system may cause lower utility bills thanks to good crawl space insulation.
The bottom line: crawl space inspections and maintenance
Crawl spaces are often out of sight and out of mind. Still, you should make sure to regularly maintain the crawl space and get it inspected. Many issues could start from this part of your home. Putting in the time and effort lowers the risk of later complications.