How To Deal With A Damp Crawl Space
A damp crawl space is more than just a minor annoyance, in fact, it can be a major safety hazard when you factor in that dampness lead to structural damage and mold growth. Unfortunately, damp crawl spaces are common household issues, and they usually arise either out of a freak accident (like say a burst pipe) or a failure on the home owner’s part to protect their crawl space from moisture. Either way, a damp crawl space has to be dealt with in a timely manner, in order to prevent mold growth or major structural rot. If you discover that you have a damp crawl space, here are the steps you should take to deal with it.
Identify what’s causing the dampness
First thing’s first, before you try to start drying out your crawl space, you need to determine what exactly is causing the dampness in the first place. There are a number of issues that can lead to damp crawl spaces, and it is not always easy to determine what the exact cause is. Sometimes the cause is obvious, for example, a leaky pipe or a lack of a vapor barrier. But sometimes the cause is less obvious, for example, damp crawl spaces can be the result of gutters not taking rain water away from the house. Whatever the cause, it is important you identify and fix the cause of the dampness first.
Drying out the damp crawl space
When it comes to actually drying out the damp crawl space, the first thing you are going to want to do is remove all debris from the crawl space. Any boxes or materials that are in the crawl space should be removed. Leaving things in the crawl spaces will not only make the drying process take longer, but those items could be infected with mold; so it is important that you make sure you deal with them appropriately. It’s also worth noting that if you are actually going into the crawl space, you should maybe get a protective mask, even if there isn’t mold yet, you are probably going to want to avoid breathing in all the dust and debris in the crawl space.
The next step is to inspect all the insulation and see if it is damp. Damp insulation should be stripped and replaced, as it is a fertile breeding ground for mold. Depending on the type of insulation, you may be able to dry it out and put it back, but certain types of insulation lose their effectiveness after getting damp; so it is probably better to just replace it entirely.
Next check for mold, if you find it, you’re going to have to deal with the mold in two ways. You can call a professional, or you can do it the old fashioned way by using bleach and a scrubber to get rid of the mold yourself. Either way, it is important that you get rid of mold before it can spread and cause any actual issues.
Finally, in terms of actually drying out the crawl space, the best way to go about it would be to use a strong dehumidifier. You can find specialty dehumidifiers that are specifically for drying out large spaces, such as a crawl space, and you may want to invest in one of those. If you think the dampness may come back again in the future, you may want to consider investing in a dehumidifier with a pump, so that it can continually keep your crawl space dry.