Do you have questions about your home’s crawl space humidity level? If so, don’t hit that back button because you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to review the ideal crawl space humidity level, the cause of high humidity in crawl spaces, how you can lower the humidity in your home’s crawl space, and more.
What’s the Ideal Crawl Space Humidity Level?
Generally, experts recommend that crawl space humidity should be between 45% to 55%. This range is ideal for preventing mold growth, wood rot, and pest infestation. It will ensure optimal air quality, and make your home healthier and more comfortable.
Why a High Crawl Space Humidity Level Can Spell Disaster for Your Home
A high crawl space humidity level can be disastrous for various reasons, including the following:
- Mold growth – Mold growth can cause significant damage to the wooden structures in your home’s crawl space, weakening them over time and requiring costly repairs.
- Pest infestation – A humid crawl space also allows pests to thrive. Rodents, termites, and other pests thrive in dark, damp environments. The pests can chew through wood, electrical wiring, and insulation, causing extensive damage and posing health risks.
- Reduced indoor air quality – When moisture levels are high, the air in the crawl space is more likely to be full of mold and other allergens that are harmful to your health. The presence of mold can cause respiratory problems, headaches, and allergies. This is particularly relevant for households with children or seniors, as they’re more vulnerable to health issues stemming from poor air quality.
Because some of the humid crawl space air flows into your home’s living area, there’s also a chance you might be paying more than you should to heat and cool your home. (Humid air is harder to heat and cool.)
Causes of High Humidity in a Crawl Space
The causes of a high humidity level in a crawl space include the following:
- Poor drainage – Excess moisture in the soil around the foundation that’s unable to drain off can cause increased humidity in the crawl space.
- Foundation cracks – Even foundation cracks invisible to the naked eye can allow water to seep into the crawl space. This problem is exacerbated when there’s poor drainage around the foundation.
- Open vents – Open crawl space vents allow warm, humid air to enter the area and condense on cooler surfaces.
- Leaky pipes – These might be water or sewer pipes.
- High water table – A high water table can cause water to seep into the crawl space through the dirt floor.
- Excessive rainfall – As noted above, a large amount of water in the ground around the foundation can increase the humidity level in the crawl space.
Signs Your Crawl Space’s Humidity Level Is Too High
Signs your crawl space is too humid include the following:
- Visible mold – One telltale sign of high humidity in a crawl space is the presence of mold. These fungi thrive in damp, humid environments and can quickly spread throughout the crawl space and into the home. (Are your baseboards moldy?) Mold can cause serious health problems for people with allergies or respiratory issues and can even lead to structural damage to the house if left unchecked.
- Condensation – When warm, moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces, water droplets can form, creating moisture. You might even notice condensation inside your home’s living area.
- Pest infestation – High humidity can also attract pests like termites and rodents. These pests are drawn to the warm, moist environment in the crawl space and can cause damage to both the crawl space and the home above.
- Standing water – Any standing water in the crawl space is a sign of a drainage problem, which will cause the humidity level in the crawl space to rise.
How to Lower the Humidity in Your Crawl Space
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help lower the humidity in your home’s crawl space. These include the following:
- Seal cracks in the foundation wall – Water can easily seep into your crawl space through the tiniest of cracks in a foundation wall. Therefore, it’s essential to seal these cracks to prevent moisture infiltration.
- Close vents – In humid weather, open crawl space vents allow moisture-laden air to enter your crawl space and condense on cooler surfaces. Closing the vents can help keep the humidity level down.
- Encapsulate the crawl space – Encapsulation involves closing the vents and covering the floor and walls of the crawl space with a heavy-duty, vapor-retarding barrier. A dehumidifier is often added, as well. Encapsulation and a dehumidifier help the crawl space stay clean and dry.
- Clean gutters regularly – Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow, run down the side of your house, and soak the ground around the foundation. This can increase the humidity level in the crawl space.
- Use downspout extensions – Downspouts that discharge water next to the house can cause water to pool near the foundation wall and enter the crawl space. Use downspout extensions to channel rainwater away from your foundation before release.
- Regrade the yard, if necessary – If the ground around your home slopes towards the foundation, water can easily flow towards the crawl space. Regrading your yard to slope away from the house helps to channel water away from the foundation.
- Install a drain tile system – A drain tile system is an excellent way to ensure excess moisture in the soil is directed away from your foundation.
If you’re concerned about your home’s crawl space humidity level, contact AMC911 today to schedule a crawl space evaluation. If we find a problem, we’ll give you a repair estimate.