The Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Crawl Space
Though you might not think it, your crawl space is a very important part of your home’s structure. Hardly ever do you see it, let alone access it. However, having a clean crawl space means everything for a healthy home.
You cannot ignore your crawl space forever despite it being conveniently tucked away and out of sight. You should regularly clean your crawl space to maintain air quality and solid insulation. Experts recommend that you inspect your home crawl space every six months.
Before diving in, there are some critical things to know—the “dos” and “don’ts.” we have prepared this guide as a tool for you to keep the space clean, tidy, and, most importantly, healthy.
Why Clean Your Crawl Space?
Whether you have a crawl space under the house or in the attic, chances are you have forgotten about its existence. This is completely valid since these areas are often hidden from view and easily go unnoticed. However, this does not excuse it from a good inspection and cleaning every now and again.
Also called the cross space, your crawl space plays an integral role in your home’s foundation. If you ignore your crawl space for too long, unsanitary things can build up like moisture and mold. There is nothing worse than having mold in your crawl space because it leads to low-quality air circulating in your home and can damage the insulation.
To keep everything in tip-top shape, a regular inspection of your crawl space goes a long way.
What Is the Purpose of a Crawl Space?
Crawl spaces are small, cramped parts of the home that give you access to plumbing, electricity, ventilation, and gas hookups. This area is usually really small and typically only allows one person to crawl through without standing—this is why it is called a “crawl” space.
You may have an attic crawl space, a crawl space in the house, or a crawl space under the house. It depends entirely on the structure of your home since they are all built differently. It is possible for some families not to have a crawl space at all. Homes with crawl spaces either don’t have a basement or lack a solid cement foundation.
Common Problems of Poorly Maintained Crawl Spaces
Homeowners like to think that not doing a regular inspection of their crawl space is okay because they rarely go in there. Contrary to popular belief, your crawl space has a greater effect on your home than you may think.
If you do not regularly conduct a crawl space inspection, then your home can experience:
- An increase of fungus and mold growth
- Animals and pests setting up shop inside
- A spread of diseases from dwelling rodents
- Standing water and sewage
- Damaged wiring
- Energy waste from poor insulation
- Wear and tear that leads to structural collapse
To avoid all these frightening problems, clean out and inspect your crawl space every few months. Keep reading to learn how to check your crawl space properly.
Crawl Space Cleaning—The “Dos” of the Process
There is a lot more work that goes into cleaning out your crawl space than what meets the eye. It is much more than applying disinfectant and wiping things down. There are specific things to touch on.
As you clean out and inspect, make sure to do the following:
- Investigate for pests
- Investigate for insect colonies
- Remove all insects and pests
- Remove standing water
- Replace old crawl space insulation
- Seal any air leaks
- Replace and install vapor barriers
- Replace and install crawl space moisture barrier
If this checklist seems like too much for your hands, we can take care of it for you. Call us at 360 Attic Renew in the Bay Area to help clean up and restore your crawl space.
Crawl Space Cleaning—The “Don’ts”
While there are some things you must do for your crawl space, there are also some things you should not do. Avoid the following, and you should be good to go!
Avoid Spray Foam
Spray foam insulation is good for inside spaces of the home, but not for the more in-between areas like your crawl space. Since it tends to be a damper part of your home, spray foam allows for moisture to get trapped between its layers and walls.
When moisture appears between the wall and insulation, mold, fungus, and wood rot become much more probable to show up. Not only are these damaging to your crawl space foundation and home’s structure, but they can also be dangerous to your health. Some people recommend a moisture barrier, but it is best to skip foam insulation altogether.
Avoid Fiberglass Insulation
Fiberglass insulation cannot handle damp environments, which is a common characteristic of crawl spaces. If you use this type of insulation, it can trap moisture within itself and become the perfect breeding ground for mold and fungus.
The best type of insulation for your crawl space is polystyrene or foam board. These work best in moisture-prone areas. To prevent moisture altogether, you should invest in crawl space encapsulation or having a sealed crawl space. Stop the problem from the source, and you can see a healthier crawl space for longer.
Avoid Creating Too Much Crawl Space Ventilation
A vented crawl space seems like the answer to all your concerns about moisture. The more vents you have, the better chance that moisture has of escaping. Despite this popular belief, it is completely wrong.
When there are more vents, humidity can build up inside and lead to more moisture. Of course, by now, you should know that more moisture leads to more mold, which is never a good sign. More foundation venting also gives more crawl space access to unwanted visitors like pests, rodents, and other animals.
To have the proper amount of crawl space vents, follow the rule of one vent for every ten feet and one vent within three feet of each corner.
One crawl space ventilation fan may be all you need—depending on the size of the space. The bottom line is that you should avoid going overboard with ventilation for the purpose of driving away moisture. The reality is that installing more vents does the opposite of your intentions.
If you have no idea how to determine if you have too much venting, give us a call! We would be happy to talk with you about crawl space encapsulation cost or simply helping you reduce the moisture level in your crawl space.
Do Not Install a Crawl Space Vapor Barrier into Floor Joists
Floor joists are the wood frames that make up the floor of your home. Some people think that vapor barrier installation in this part of the home’s structure can help keep out moisture, especially in the crawl space. However, again, this is a popular misconception.
Though a vapor barrier under the house framework is good for the wintertime, come summer, when the air is nice and humid, moisture can easily get trapped between the barrier and the joists. Of course, this increases the risk of mold, fungus, and wood rot.
When inspecting the crawl space, your top priority should be to reduce the level of moisture at all costs. Of course, you do not have to limit condensation and humidity entirely, especially since this can cost thousands of dollars, but you should try your best to lower the risk of moisture build-up.
Do Not Ignore the Drainage
Due to groundwater and rain, your crawl space can naturally collect water. This is not something to be scared of, but it is also not something you should ignore. If you see standing water, be sure to get rid of it immediately.
Installing or enhancing your drainage system can help you manage any water that sneaks in. A crawl space dehumidifier can also help the situation. Don’t forget that quality crawl space covers can also do a good job of protecting your space from hazardous outside moisture.
Crawl space covers from Home Depot are some of the best quality covers on the market. If you want to boost your crawls space’s moisture protection, call us for all things crawl space. We know the industry’s ins and outs, so we can help you seal, protect, and maintain a healthy space. Whether you need a new crawl space access well or a crawl space fan, we’ve got you covered.
Let Us Complete Your Crawl Space Clean-Up
We understand that inspecting and cleaning up your crawl space can be intimidating—especially if you have never done it before. While this post may help you understand how the process works, it is completely acceptable to leave this job to the professionals.
Some people try to clean out space themselves to save money. However, if you have little to no experience doing this, then hiring a professional may even save you money.
We get the job right the first time. At Renew 360, we make sure that we finish each job efficiently and with high-quality. Leave it to us to inspect, clean, and maintain your home’s crawl space.
Call us for a quote today!