A standard crawl space houses a number of critical systems (HVAC, plumbing, wiring) that make your house run efficiently, they need protection as much as you do. Regardless of what’s under your floor, the framework of your home is still susceptible to damage from the moisture that’s in the soil. However, once you install a vapor barrier, you’ll have a drier and happier home, even in the part where you don’t live.
The primary purpose of a vapor barrier is to keep your home drier. The EPA especially recommends that a vapor barrier be installed for older homes to control dampness. In a humid, subtropical climate such as what we have in the Upstate, moisture in the soil is a given but it’s also a hazard to your home if it’s left unaddressed.
This lining in the crawl space helps create a divide between water and your home. Spread uniformly across the soil and partway up onto the crawl space walls and joists, it keeps water in the soil instead of in the crawl space.
#2. PROTECT YOUR DUCTWORK
As we all know, water and metal do not mix! If your home has ductwork running underneath, it’s at risk of corrosion. If part of your HVAC system is installed under the house, you have even more to be concerned about.
Do not be mistaken- even galvanized, stainless and coated metal components aren’t permanently safe from the damaging effects of moisture. Over time, all of those protective measures can wear down and ultimately fail. Fasteners, such as metal screws on duct work, are perfect entry points for moisture. Install a barrier, and you’ll help protect your systems investments.
#3. AVOID WIRING HAZARDS
If there’s anything worse than moisture and metal, it’s moisture and metal plus electricity. Wiring that runs through the crawl space is protected, either by a conduit or by a plastic sheathing. But where there is a joint or connection, such as a junction box, you have another point of entry for moisture.
Another hazard under the house is critters. All that it takes is one curious squirrel or raccoon fiddling with a wire to rip the sheath or loosen up a conduit connector. Having a vapor barrier in place helps reduce the chance of moisture infiltration before you detect the problem.
#4. KEEP ON KEEPIN’ IT DRY
Have you ever felt like your home is damp? Most homes get that way once in a while, but for others it’s a chronic issue. Perhaps your house smells musty, or maybe you have reoccurring issues with mold and mildew. This can be an allergy trigger, and it’s not healthy for anyone. The problem might not be inside, but underneath.
Moisture in the crawl space can be absorbed into surrounding materials. Having a vapor barrier in place reduces the chance of your foundation and framing taking on water… it also means your home will stay drier.
#5. Make Accessing the Crawl Space a Cleaner Job
Nobody necessarily enjoys exploring the depths of their crawl space… they are usually cramped, dark and moist. Most likely, you’ll spend some time on your hands and knees or maybe even your back or belly.
Now imagine how much more pleasant venturing into the crawl space would be with a dry surface between you and the damp soil under your house. That’s where a vapor barrier comes in handy! The thicker the barrier, the more durable it will be to crawling around. Although it can’t make working in the crawl space more fun, it can keep your clothes drier and cleaner. Furthermore, without all that exposed dirt, unwanted visitors are less likely to intrude.
Make Your House A Healthy Home
Our indoor air quality team specializes in making your house a healthy home with our comprehensive 4-step process. First, start with our environmental duct cleaning services. Next, we apply our touchless Nanostatic treatment to the whole structure to eliminate mold, germs and allergens at the molecular level while leaving no harmful residue behind. Then we create a conditioned crawl space by installing a vapor barrier and permanent dehumidifier (special environmental coatings are available if applicable). Lastly, we offer options for preventative maintenance such as our induct or stand alone air purifiers as well as bi-annual or quarterly air purification treatments.