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Depending on the construction style, materials and age of your home, damp air may be getting in while warm air escapes. Up to 50% of household air can flow up from your crawlspace; it is difficult to keep this unsightly space clean and dry. Since water vapor enters via the crawlspace from the earth or cement, these conditions compromise the durability and efficiency of: HVAC equipment, water heater, and other mechanicals under your living space. They can also create serious indoor air quality problems.
Many homeowners in LBI choose to encapsulate their crawl spaces to keep the moisture out. Since water vapor can even move through porous cement, moisture from the ground can travel up and into your home. Adding a crawl space vapor barrier and dehumidifier is widely accepted as the best way to improve indoor air quality and make energy improvements inside your home.
Encapsulation is the term for a type of indoor moisture control that seals and maintains a healthy humidity level inside the crawl space. Typically, a sealant and dehumidifier are used to regulate the moisture and keep the crawl space dry.
The terms “sealing crawl spaces” and “encapsulating crawl spaces” are sometimes substituted for each other. However, sealing generally means only covering the floor and around 8 inches up the walls. Encapsulation entails covering all of the floors, walls and even the ceiling. Some professional encapsulations will include adding insulation to the walls and access doors.
Similar to the lining added to swimming pools to avoid leaks, a heavy-duty polyethylene barrier is added to completely cover the floors, foundation walls, and sometimes even ceiling. This water vapor barrier is most effective when it completely covers your crawl space, and sealing tape is used to connect the barrier pieces throughout your area.
Floors will be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. HVAC equipment will last longer. Crawl space encapsulation has proven to be one of the best ways to improve your indoor air quality and save on energy. Other benefits include:
Encapsulation can really help keep your crawlspace clean, dry, and unappealing to insects and other pests. However, moisture barriers, air barriers, and thermal barriers alone aren’t always enough to maintain low humidity levels year-round. Once your space is completely sealed, the final piece of the encapsulation puzzle is conditioning the air to maintain a healthy humidity level. The most common way to do this is by adding a dehumidifier to regulate your crawl space’s moisture level.
If you upgrade the space and then install a drying mechanism, you can maximize the encapsulation. A dehumidifier that is sized to fit your crawlspace can drain directly to the outdoors. You can also have humidity monitors installed so you can actively keep tabs on the effectiveness of your dehumidification equipment. Modern versions can work with your smartphone to act as an early warning if there is ever a problem.
Stretch Cleaning & Restoration can professionally encapsulate your crawlspace and protect your LbI home from damage. The motto is “let us do the work today while you make memories that last forever!” For help maintaining your home on LBI, contact us.