In this episode of Ask the Expert, Craig helps a Worcester, MA customer understand the main concerns regarding a crawl space type foundation.
The biggest concern when it comes to crawl spaces is humidity. "They get wet", says Craig, "and all that damp moist air comes right up through the floor boards in the house and you're breathing that air directly on the first floor of the house."
Why are crawl spaces so wet? It mostly has to do with the way they are built. They are usually built inside a hole and if not provided with proper drainage and grading, will collect water from rain, and plumbing leaks. Then, there is the fact that traditionally these crawl spaces were built with venting systems because builders were under the assumption that these vents would allow air to circulate and help keep the crawl space dry.
The problem is that air doesn't circulate in the crawl. Due to a physics phenomenon known as the "stack effect" the air in buildings always move upwards.
In the winter, cold air is blowing through the vents and right up to the house, making floors cold and rooms feel very drafty -- and making your heating system work harder to keep it up. If the ducts run through the crawl, the air you paid to heat is losing temperature before it reaches the rooms upstairs.
During the summer, the hot moist air will enter the crawl, cool down and give up moisture all over the cold surfaces in the crawl. The wood absorbs the moisture, and mold begins to develop -- which can lead to dry rot and serious structural damage.
Conditioned air running through ducts housed in the crawl space will gain temperature before reaching the rooms you want to cool, making your Air Conditioner work harder.
In Central and Western Massachusetts, Leader Basement Systems can help solve all sorts of crawl space problems with a four step crawl space encapsulation approach, developed by the company that pioneered the crawl space technology in the world with the revolutionary CleanSpace system.
The first step is to keep water from accumulating under the house, with a good drainage and sump pump system. Then close the vents with air tight covers, to stop air from coming into the crawl.
The next step is to completely isolate the crawl space from the ground and outside air, by lining the floor and walls with the CleanSpace 20mil, anti-microbial treated liner.
The last step is to condition the space with a good, energy efficient SaniDry dehumidifier, which will automatically monitor and control crawl space moisture year round. We service Pittsfield, Springfield, Chicopee and the greater Worcester area.
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