The Creepy Crawl Space
Crawl Space Inspections
Let’s face it, crawl spaces are creepy and that is why HOCOA, your Home Repair Network, recommends yearly inspections. It’s easy for anyone to develop the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, especially when you never see them. Filled with tight spaces, no lighting, moist air, creepy critters, and spider webs thick enough to be curtains it’s no wonder why any homeowner would want to go down there. However just like any other area of the home it needs to be maintained regularly. Not to worry though the crawl space inspector has the solution for you.
Why do Crawl Space Inspections?
by HOCOA contractor, Nick Quigley
When leaving a crawl space unattended for a long period of time you run the risk of letting moisture develop. It’s easy for this to happen due to weather; storms, ineffective vapor barriers, or even HVAC malfunction. When moisture appears it increases the chance of mold and rot to develop in the wooden beams or insulation. This can cause havoc as the mold and rot release toxins through the floor into your home. To put it in perspective; 35 percent of the air circulating in your home seeps up through the crawl space. If your crawl space contains mold and rot the overall air quality will suffer.
Not properly insulating your crawl space increases the rate of heat that escapes from your home. This forces your HVAC system to work twice as hard to heat the home leaving a mark in homeowner’s pockets. Without insulation controlling the amount of air transfer, homeowners are left spending large amounts of money cooling and heating their home. Consistently having your crawl space insulation checked and replaced when necessary will save homeowners hundreds of dollars in electric bills over the course of a year.
Moisture is a crawl space’s kryptonite. Moisture that consistently accrues can seep into the subflooring of your home creating soft spots, cracks, and warping of floorboards. If this issue goes unattended it can unravel numerous issues that can be both expensive and nerve racking.
Although crawl spaces seem to be enclosed there’s no nook or cranny that critters can’t find their way into. It’s important to have a professional check for any holes or access points that critters can come in through. Properly sealing those areas will help prevent your crawl space from becoming infested by rats, squirrels, snakes or raccoons.It’s imperative to take any precaution necessary to keep these critters out. Animals leave behind waste that festers and carries disease. When trapped, squirrels, rabbits, and other small animals have been known to chew on wood, exposed wires, and tear down insulation.
Moisture not only damages subflooring but the foundation of a home as well. The large wooden beams that make the foundation your home sits on can become damaged when high levels of moisture go unnoticed over a period of time. This is a very costly repair for homeowners and is nothing to take lightly. Rotting of these beams can make room for the foundation of a home to crumble.
For example: One homeowner I know had an HVAC duct ripped down by a rodent trapped in their crawlspace. Unaware of the incident the HVAC duct began blowing cold air into the crawl space constantly over the course of a summer. The homeowner realized a large dip in her kitchen floor and called for help. Once the problem was identified it was apparent that the foundation in the middle of the home was almost completely rotted through. This was a costly repair but she knew that if it wasn’t corrected the expense could be much greater.
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