Installing a dehumidifier in a non-enclosed basement is similar to opening all doors and letting the air out of the house during the hottest part of summer. It may help a bit, but it won't be enough, and the appliances will run hard to keep up with all the humidity.
The same thing happens when you install a crawl space dehumidifier in an unencapsulated crawl space. Your house will feel more relaxed, but it won't cool down quickly because there isn't enough airflow to move the moisture out of the crawlspace. The humidity level could increase. This is why it's important to encapsulate the crawlspace.
Why Don't You Want Moisture In Your Crawl Space?
A damp (2), humid crawl space can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew (1), which are dangerous to humans and pets alike. Mold spores enter homes via cracks around windows and doors and gaps in siding and roofing materials. They can grow anywhere there's moisture, including inside walls, floors, ceilings, attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
Moisture in your crawlspace can also cause wood rot, which causes structural damage to wooden structures such as flooring, decking, trim, rafters, and floor joists. Wood rot can weaken the system and make it vulnerable to further damage.
The best way to prevent mold growth is to keep your crawl space dry. This includes keeping the soil surrounding your foundation walls clean and debris-free. If you notice water leaking into your house, call a professional immediately.
What Causes A Damp Crawl Space?
Moisture levels in crawl spaces are usually caused by excess water near a building's foundation. Different factors can cause excess water near a building, including blocked gutter drain pipes, downspouts too close to the building, and even sump pumps (3) that aren't functioning correctly.
The most common reason for excess moisture in the foundation's surrounding area is that the ground is saturated with water due to heavy rainfall. When you experience flooding, the water will drain out of the yard and into the soil near the foundation. This can lead to a wet crawl space.
Benefits Of Encapsulation Along With A Crawl Space Dehumidifier
Crawl spaces are essential for your home, especially if you live in a humid climate. Crawl spaces are often overlooked areas of homes because they're hidden away under floors and behind walls. But while you might think that a crawl space is just a hole in the ground, it plays a critical role in keeping your house healthy.
A crawl space is where water drains out of your home, usually into a sump pump pit near the basement's an outside wall. If there is no drain system, moisture could build up inside your home and cause severe damage. This is why having a crawl space is essential.
Mold spores are everywhere, including in the air we breathe. The problem is that crawl spaces tend to become very moist due to condensation and lack of ventilation. Moisture can lead to mold growth, spreading throughout your home. When mold grows in your crawl space, it can affect your health and your home's overall comfort level.
If you want to keep your home free of mold, you'll need to ensure that the air in your home is kept dry and clean. To do this, you'll need to install a crawl space dehumidifier. These machines use fans to pull warm, moist air out of your crawl space and replace it with cool, dry air.
Another way to prevent mold growth in your crawl space is to seal it off from the rest of your home. This can be done by installing a crawl space encapsulator. An encapsulator is a giant plastic covering every inch of your crawl space. Once installed, it prevents any moisture from entering your crawl space.
While both solutions work well individually, combining them makes them even more effective. By sealing your crawl space off from the rest of the house, you'll eliminate any chance of mold growing in your crawl space. And since the crawl space is sealed off, you won't need to worry about any moisture building up inside your home.
The Ultimate Waterproofing Solution: Encapsulation, A Dehumidifier, And Drain Tile
If you want to ensure your crawl space stays as dry as possible, there are several ways to do it. One of those ways is to use a crawl space dehumidification system. This system works by pulling moisture out of the air and into a water tank where it can be drained away. Another option is to install a drain tile system. These systems work much as a sump pump does. They pull water from the floor of your crawl space and push it outside.
While both options are effective, one thing they don't offer is complete waterproofness. So what else can you do? Well, you can use encapsulation. This method involves injecting a unique material into the walls of your crawl space. When water gets inside the wall, the encapsulating material prevents it from getting anywhere near the insulation. Some people even claim that it keeps the insulation warmer.
Signs Your Crawl Space Needs Encapsulation And A Dehumidifier
Crawl spaces are often forgotten about. They've hidden away under floors, walls, and the foundation itself. But they're pretty important. If you don't treat them well, they could cause severe problems for your home. Here are signs that your crawl space needs encapsulation.
1. Musty Odors
If there's a strong odor coming from your crawlspace, it could mean mold growth. Mold spores are everywhere, and they thrive in warm, humid conditions. When moisture builds up in your crawlspace, it provides ideal breeding grounds for mold. This is why it's essential to keep your crawlspace dry.
2. High Humidity Levels
Humidity levels in your crawlspace can vary greatly depending on where you live. In areas with lots of rainfall, humidity tends to build up quickly. If you notice condensation on windows, doors, or even ceiling tiles, it could indicate too much moisture.
3. Allergies Or Breathing Problems
If you experience frequent colds or sinus infections, you could have a respiratory issue related to the indoor air quality in your crawlspace. If you find yourself sneezing or coughing frequently, it could be because dust particles are irritating your lungs.
Cost Of Crawl Space Encapsulation With A Dehumidifier
Encapsulation using a vapor barrier isn't cheap. The cost depends on how big your crawlspace is and whether you choose to add a dehumidifier. You can expect to pay between $500 and $1000 per foot for encapsulation. However, if you plan, you can save money by doing it yourself. For example, you could hire an expert to inject the material into your crawlspace. That way, you won't need to buy any equipment.
Can I put a regular dehumidifier in my crawl space?
No. Regular dehumidifiers aren't designed to remove moisture from crawlspaces. Instead, they draw water from the air and release it through a vent.
Where should I put my dehumidifier in my crawl space?
Ideally, you'll want to place it somewhere close to the ground. Ideally, this will be right next to the wall. Otherwise, you risk having the unit get clogged with debris.
How much does it cost to install a dehumidifier in a crawl space?
The price varies based on the size of your crawlspace and whether you opt to install a dehumidifier. Expect to spend around $100-$200 per foot.