Knowledge Builders

should a crawl space be wet

by Nyah Cummings Published 1 year ago Updated 4 months ago

If your home is located in the Southeast, chances are your crawl space is wet if:

  • You have an open crawl space (vented crawl space)
  • You have fiberglass insulation installed in the sub-floor between the joists
  • You keep your thermostat below 74 degrees in the summer (below 70 degrees makes it worse)
  • You store your lawn mower in the crawl space

Crawl space moisture is common, so don't sweat it. Expect your crawl space to get wet during hot and humid summer months, when precipitation is high. Moisture will condense on the crawl space walls and other materials inside. Depending on how humid the air is, puddles may form.Dec 9, 2021

Full Answer

Is it normal to have moisture in my crawl space?

Most are asking, " is it normal to have moisture in my crawl space ," as well. We feel the best answer is to have the humidity between 45% and 55%. But keep in mind that temperature also affects moisture levels of the crawl space. When you mix temperature and humidity this is called the dew point.

Should you buy a home with a wet crawl space?

Don't Buy a Home with a Wet Crawl Space! Get it fixed correctly! You are getting ready to make one of the largest purchases of your life. You love the house. The kitchen is fabulous. The closets are spacious. You are not thrilled with the paint but you can deal with that. You decide to put in an offer and schedule the home inspection.

What is the ideal humidity for crawl space encapsulation?

Making sure your humidity is between 45% and 55% in the crawl space is a great way to prevent indoor air quality problems. What Next? Do you need help with crawl space encapsulation in Alabama, Georgia, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, or South Carolina?

What happens if you don't encapsulate your crawl space?

Mold exposure can cause certain health problems, including wheezing, coughing, stuffy nose, itching, and so on. When you encapsulate your crawl space, you prevent moisture from building up in this space. This, in turn, prohibits mold growth. An un-encapsulated crawl space can introduce mold, mildew, and other contaminants into your living space.


Is a crawl space supposed to be wet?

Is it normal for the crawl space to be damp? Yes, it is. Typical of below-grade areas in Cleveland, OH, the crawl space is an area that's often going to be plagued by moisture problems. The moisture escapes out of the soil by evaporation and accumulates in the crawl space, where it causes constant condensation.

How dry should a crawl space be?

A large room dehumidifier is enough for a small crawl space, but for a larger one, you may need to rent a commercial grade model. Set the dehumidifier for between 30 to 45 percent and let it run for several hours, then check on the space. A wet crawl space could take a total of eight to 10 hours to dry.

Should a crawl space be completely dry?

Not only can a wet crawl space negatively impact your health, but it can put the structural stability of your home in danger as well. Drying out your crawl space and keeping it moisture-free is the key to a safe and healthy home.

Why is my crawl space moist?

Most times, water in the crawl space gets there one of three ways: a plumbing leak, water seepage from the surrounding soil (usually after heavy rain), or condensation. Humidity condenses on cold surfaces, like ducts, and drips onto the crawl space floor.

Why is the ground under my house wet?

The answer is simple. Water or moisture is entering the crawl space. And the source could be anything from high humidity in the air during hot summer months to a leaking water pipe that runs below the crawl space. It could also be groundwater from saturated soil adjacent to the crawl space or inside.

How much moisture is too much in crawl space?

Moisture levels above 20% in the wood can also support mold growth. Moisture levels above 28% can lead to wood decay fungi which can literally rot the crawlspace out.

Will water in crawl space go away?

The short answer to the question at hand is “No” — that is, if you continue to do nothing, then the water in your crawl space most definitely will not be going anywhere. Crawl space moisture can come from leaky pipes, cracks in your foundation walls, or even just from the ground itself.

Will a fan dry out crawl space?

Fans are an incredibly effective way to dry out an area that has condensation and moisture. Using fans in your crawl space drain system will help dry out the area thoroughly and quickly, and will help prevent the growth of mold. Afterward, be sure and have a dehumidifier in place to keep the area dry.

Should vents in crawl space be open?

Your crawl space vents should always be closed and sealed off from the outside elements. Venting your crawl space leads to a variety of issues. First and foremost, open vents allow moisture to enter your crawl space. This creates the perfect environment for mold growth and mildew.

Should you have a dehumidifier in your crawl space?

So, do you need a dehumidifier in your crawl space? Yes, One of the best ways to prevent moisture from being in your crawl space is a crawl space dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers reduce the humidity by pulling water from the air. The air is then filtered and cooled, which turns into condensation.

Will water in crawl space go away?

The short answer to the question at hand is “No” — that is, if you continue to do nothing, then the water in your crawl space most definitely will not be going anywhere. Crawl space moisture can come from leaky pipes, cracks in your foundation walls, or even just from the ground itself.

Will a dehumidifier dry out crawl space?

Generally, a dehumidifier set between 30% or 45% can dry out a crawl space in 8 to 10 hours. The exact amount of time to dry out the area depends on the size and moisture levels. You can use a dehumidifier to effectively dry out your crawl space after you've removed all debris and outstanding water.

How do you get water out of a crawl space?

9 Tips for Getting Water Out of Your Crawl SpaceFind the Problem. ... Get Your Hands on a Submersible Pump. ... Use a Wet/Dry Vaccum to Remove Standing Water. ... Dehumidify the Space. ... Remove Contaminated Items. ... Decontaminate Sewage Spills. ... Put It Back Together. ... Hire a Professional.More items...•

How Do I Know Where the Water in My Crawl Space Is Coming From?

Finding the source of the water in your crawl space is an important part of making the problem right. You can use these tips and tricks to discover where water is entering the crawl space.

Is a crawl space a problem?

A healthy crawl space is absolutely important, but it can also be very difficult to manage on your own. Most homeowners don’t know what their crawl space needs for health, much less how to get into the crawl space and fix it. This can lead to a lot of problems, including generalized crawl space concerns. That’s exactly why many people look to a crawl space professional to help them with their crawl space concerns. Crawl space professionals like the team at Complete Basement Systems can help you diagnose your crawl space concerns and help you fix them as well. With a healthy crawl space, you’ll be less likely to have issues throughout your home. Get in touch with our experts today for a free crawl space inspection and repair estimate, as well as guidance for creating a safer and healthier home.

How to tell if crawl space is wet?

If your home is located in the Southeast, chances are your crawl space is wet if: 1 You have an open crawl space (vented crawl space) 2 You have fiberglass insulation installed in the sub-floor between the joists 3 You keep your thermostat below 74 degrees in the summer (below 70 degrees makes it worse) 4 You store your lawn mower in the crawl space 5 You store cardboard in the crawl space 6 Your crawl space vapor barrier does not cover the entire ground 7 Your air ducts are not properly insulated 8 Your HVAC unit is less than 10-years old

What to do when buying a crawl space?

This is a true story that happens more than you think. When you decide to purchase a home with a crawl space make sure it is dry, clean, healthy and efficient. I would also recommend you and the sellers choose a contractor together. One that each of you trust. Low ball fixes rarely offer long term results. The seller wants out of the home so who could blame them for going with the lowest price. The buyer wants the problem fixed because they don’t want to inherent a problem that will need to be addressed later.

Why Is There Mold In My Crawl Space?

Mold can grow anywhere the relative humidity is 60% or higher if there is an adequate food source. Crawl spaces have a lot of food for mold to feed on and grow. Did you know temperature also affects the humidity? For example, if your humidity is 60% and the temperature is 65 degrees the air is less moist or contains less grains per pound (gpp) of water than if the relative humidity is 60% and the temperature is 75 degrees. For more about mold click here to read what the EPA has to say.

What Is Dew Point?

Dew Point - The dew point (or dewpoint) is the temperature to which a given parcel of air must be cooled, at constant barometric pressure, for water vapor to condense into water. The condensed water is called dew. The dew point is a saturation point.

What does a home inspector see in a crawl space?

The home inspector sees moisture in the crawl space. The inspector notices the HVAC air ducts are wet and dripping water onto the moisture barrier. He doesn’t see standing water in the crawl space but it is a little humid.

Why is my house under insulated?

So, your house is now under insulated because wet insulation loses its R value and falling insulation has no R value. The insulation has been leaching water into the surrounding wood for a while and now the wood is so saturated that wood rot fungus has been growing. Wood rot fungus has caused the studs to warp and the crawl space inspector can ...

What causes studs to warp?

Wood rot fungus has caused the studs to warp and the crawl space inspector can shove a knife into the wood. That thin layer of mold the home inspector found three years ago (that was ignored) has now manifested into a full-blown mold problem.

Why are crawlspaces wet?

Most traditional crawlspaces are wet to some extent because of the way Mother Nature works. Let me take you back to our middle school days, where we learned about the Earth and how the weather cycles impact our planet.

What are the dangers of crawlspaces?

Wet crawlspaces can be inviting environments for termites, carpenter ants, rats and mice, and even feral animals like snakes. Wet crawlspace environments can also be a safety concern for people working in the space, ranging from threats like electrical shock to fires from electrical short circuits.

What happens to the ground when the sun is on?

The sun’s rays heat the ground, and the air at ground level is warmed. As the ground is heated, moisture in the ground turns to water vapor (moisture-laden gas). As the heated air rises, it is lighter than cold air, and the gas, which is also lighter, rises with it.

Is a wet crawlspace a threat?

Wet crawlspaces are a real threat to the structure and the homeowner. In my experience and professional opinion, when you find a wet crawlspace, it is going to take the expertise of a professional to correct the problem. Wet crawlspaces can be inviting environments for termites, carpenter ants, rats and mice, and even feral animals like snakes.

Can you smell mold in a crawl space?

Of course, you can determine there’s an issue even without measuring the moisture content of the wood. if you see standing water inside a crawlspace, fungal growth, or mildew and mold on the wood or foundation walls, chances are high that the crawlspace is wet. And in some instances, you can actually smell a musty odor when you open ...

Can a crawl space be reversed?

Wet crawlspace situations can be reversed. The damage will have to be addressed if it is structural, but if it is not structural, eliminating the conducive conditions and controlling the moisture in the crawlspace can make the space a more effective and efficient part of the structure. Wet crawlspace conditions can be remedied ...

Why does a dirt crawl space cost more?

A house that has a dirt crawl space will cost you more to either heat or cool. This isn’t the result of extra space for the air circulation to go through. It is due to the nature of damp air.

Is damp air a pain?

The damp air isn’t only a pain to heat up —or cool down—, but it’s also the perfect environment for unwanted guests like dust mites and pests to come in and make a home.

What to do if you have moisture in your crawl space?

If you notice that any of these situations apply to your home, or if you suspect that moisture is already building up inside your crawl space, contact Sedona Waterproofing or a trusted waterproofing contractor in your area . A wet crawl space is often a first sign of greater trouble to come.

What happens if water seeps into a crawl space?

If water begins to seep into your crawl space, it all but assures you will have issues with mold and even potential warping of the wood. Mold can be a threat to not just the structure of your home, but also to the health and well being of your family. If water is allowed to sit against the wood, it can be absorbed by the wood.

Why is my crawl space clogged?

If any debris from water trapped against the foundation causes the vents to be clogged, regular moisture can build up as well. Either way, once water enters your crawl space, you should seek immediate remediation of the problem to prevent structural damage from occurring.

What does a crawl space do?

Crawl spaces offer convenience and the ability to reach vital parts of the house without the need for an expensive basement. Despite their convenience, there are some issues that can arise with a crawl space. A wet crawlspace can cause water damage that is both structural and cosmetic. It is imperative that if you notice a wet crawl space, ...

Why do we need to waterproof our house?

Part of building a house is to waterproof the foundation. This process allows for the home to remain dry in most conditions, barring any catastrophic flooding. Over time weaknesses in that waterproofing can manifest from a variety of reasons. Most basements and crawl spaces have vents and windows recessed into them.

Why is water trapped in my crawl space?

If your home doesn’t have proper grading, surface water can be trapped up against the foundation. If this happens during a torrential rainstorm or any kind of flash flooding, the water may get into your crawl space.

What is the area where water seeps into a basement?

Most basements and crawl spaces have vents and windows recessed into them. This area is known as the window well, and if any kind of gap or space appears in it, water will be able to seep in. Once that happens, you will have to deal with the aftermath.

Why Is There Water In My Crawl Space?

There are a handful of common reasons homeowners experience excessive humidity under their house.

What is the ideal moisture level for a crawl space?

The short answer to know what the ideal moisture levels are in a crawl space is anywhere around 55%, but anywhere under 70% is acceptable. Using a dehumidifier is a great way to maintain low humidity levels and protect your crawlspace.

Why use a dehumidifier in a crawl space?

Pest Prevention. Another benefit of using a dehumidifier in your crawl space is lowering the chances of pests in your house. It’s said that pests, like rats, can cause more damage to a home that severe weather and house fires combined.

Why do you need a crawl space vent?

This helps to reduce the amount of moisture buildup that causes things like mold and mildew. In the summer, the vents should be open and they should be kept closed in the winter.

What is the recommended humidity level for a crawl space?

Acceptable Moisture Levels in a Crawl Space. Maintaining proper humidity in a crawl space comes with a lot of benefits. A level of 55% keeps the air healthy for most households. There are a few things to be aware of if the humidity is too high in the crawl space. You could experience excessive growth of mold and mildew.

How to reduce humidity in crawl space?

By decreasing the air-conditioner temperature, you can help reduce humidity. But, you can go from hot and stick to cold and clammy when you blast the air conditioner. If you put a dehumidifier in your crawl space, it can control the moisture levels to be more even.

How much should a yard decline away from a house?

For starters, avoid buying a home that has a yard that slopes towards the house. The yard should always decline away from the home at a grade of at least 5%. If you find yourself with this issue, you could build a retention wall to prevent water buildup.

How much humidity does a crawl space need?

On a hot, humid summer day, the air venting into the crawl space could be as much as 75% relative humidity and 85 degrees. When it hits the cooler air of the crawl space, it increases the relative humidity by about 2% per degree! This means your crawl space humidity goes up by about 22 degrees. This causes condensation along the surfaces inside ...

Why is it important to maintain a crawl space?

Maintaining proper crawl space humidity levels is important for discouraging mold growth and other unhealthy conditions. Keep reading for a guide to proper crawl space maintenance and extend the health and life of your home. Request A Free Inspection.

Why is humidity important in a crawl space?

Keeping the right crawl space humidity level is crucial for the health of your home. The right humidity level discourages mold and mildew growth and keeps insulation dry. Preventing mold growth is important since the air you breathe inside your home originates in the crawl space. Unhealthy air in the crawl space means unhealthy air in your daily ...

What is the last step in maintaining proper humidity in a crawl space?

There’s one last step that’s sometimes necessary for maintaining proper humidity levels in the crawl space. That’s the installation of a crawlspace dehumidifier.

What to do if your crawl space is too humid?

If it’s too high, identify the problem and fix it. If there’s a dirt floor, install a vapor barrier. If the humidity level is still too high, consider installing a crawl space dehumidifier.

What is the best humidity level for a crawl space?

Maintaining your crawl space at a level of about 55% humidity keeps the air healthy. Here are a few of the bad side effects of high humidity in your crawl space: Mold and mildew on the wood cause wood rot which destroys the stability of your home.

Why is there water in my crawl space?

A common cause of bulk water in the crawl space is improper sloping of the ground outside the home. If the ground slopes toward the house, there’s a problem. The ground should decline away from the house at a 5% grade or more. The ground sloping down toward the foundation causes water seepage into the crawl space.

Why seal out the outside air source for a crawl space?

Whether you’re performing a crawl space encapsulation, it is critical to seal out the outside air sources to allow the dehumidifier to condition the air below .

What Is Crawl Space Encapsulation?

Crawl space encapsulation refers to the addition of a heavy-duty moisture barrier to the floor of your crawl space, sealed foundation vents, insulated walls, and a crawl space dehumidifier.

How Does Crawl Space Encapsulation Differ From Insulation?

Crawl space encapsulation works great when you’re dealing with such issues as ground moisture and humid air. On the other hand, crawl space insulation is ideal only to help with cold floors.

How to get the most affordable crawl space encapsulation services?

To get the most affordable crawl space encapsulation services, you need to do comparison shopping before hiring a contractor.

What percentage of new homes have crawl spaces?

About 20 percent of all newly built homes in the U.S. have crawl spaces. These spaces play many roles in the house, housing the HVAC, electrical, plumbing, gas lines, and irrigation system of your home.

Why is it important to inspect your crawlspace?

Conduct a safety inspection to ensure that your combustion appliances aren’t emitting carbon monoxide that could back-draft into your living space. Encapsulating your crawlspace without addressing this issue could prove hazardous to you and your loved ones.

What happens if you don't have the experience to do crawlspace encapsulation?

If you don’t have the necessary skills and experience to do crawlspace encapsulation, you risk wasting time, effort, and money.

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