Don’t Install A Crawl Space Dehumidifier Without Encapsulation

Crawl Space Dehumidifier
Crawl Space Dehumidifier

Installing a crawl space dehumidifier in an un-encapsulated crawl space is kind of like opening all the windows on a hot summer day before turning on the air conditioner. You might get a little relief, but not a lot and the appliance will be working pretty hard to keep up.

Why You Don’t Want Moisture In Your Crawl Space

A damp, humid crawl space is the perfect petri dish for mold and mildew. That’s bad enough, but it gets worse. A certain percentage of air in your crawl space enters your home’s living area. In other words, you’re breathing unhealthy air, which can exacerbate and even cause various health problems.

Moisture in your crawl space can also cause wood rot that will damage beams and joists and possibly lead to structural problems.

Energy costs increase because it costs more to heat and cool humid air.

Fortunately, a clean, dry crawl space is achievable by using a crawl space dehumidifier along with crawl space encapsulation.

Moisture In Your Crawl Space

What Causes A Damp Crawl Space?

Damp crawl spaces are usually caused by excess moisture in the soil around the foundation. So, the question is, why is there excess moisture in the soil around the foundation?

The most common reasons for excess moisture in the soil around a foundation include,

  • Clogged gutters – Clogged gutters can cause water to spill over the side of your home and down into the soil next to the foundation.
  • Downspouts that are too short – Downspouts should release rainwater several feet away from the foundation. If your downspouts are too short, install extensions to channel water away from the foundation before releasing it.
  • Improperly graded yard – Your yard should slope away from the foundation. If it doesn’t, regrade it. A landscaper or foundation repair contractor can help you with this.
  • The water table is high in your area – If you see standing water in your crawl space after it rains, this could be the cause.

Hydrostatic Pressure’s Role In Creating Damp Crawl Spaces
When excess water builds up in the soil around and under your foundation, and there’s no way for it to drain off, hydrostatic pressure builds up and presses against the foundation walls. Hydrostatic pressure pushes water through small cracks and into the crawl space. Hydrostatic pressure can eventually crack foundation walls if it isn’t relieved.

What If There’s Moisture In The Crawl Space, But It’s Not The Rainy Season?
If you have moisture in your crawl space during the dry season, it might be caused by,

  • A plumbing leak might be the sewer, water line, or both. Is the moisture in the crawl space concentrated directly below a bathroom, toilet, sink
  • Moisture from poor ventilation – Moisture in the soil increases the humidity in the crawl space.




Benefits Of Encapsulation Along With A Crawl Space Dehumidifier

Crawl space encapsulation involves covering the walls, ceiling, and even the floor of your crawl space with polyurethane plastic. The area is completely cut off from any moisture in the soil coming through the foundation walls, etc.

Crawl space encapsulation helps, but it isn’t enough. You also need a crawl space dehumidifier. Encapsulation along with a crawl space dehumidifier will ensure that the air in your crawl space stays clean and dry. Lower humidity means no mold growth, no wood rot, no pests, greater energy efficiency, and better air quality in your home’s living area.

Encapsulation along with a crawl space dehumidifier also means you can use your crawl space for storage.

The Ultimate Waterproofing Solution: Encapsulation, A Dehumidifier, And Drain Tile

Want your crawl space to be as dry as possible? If so, encapsulation along with a crawl space dehumidifier and a drain tile system is the way to go. You could say it’s the ultimate waterproofing solution.

For more information see How Does A Drain Tile System Work,

Signs Your Crawl Space Needs Encapsulation And A Dehumidifier

Signs your home’s crawl space might need encapsulation along with a crawl space dehumidifier include,

  • Your home has a musty smell – Remember, some of the air in your crawl space enters your home.
  • You have allergies or breathing problems that seem to be caused by the air inside your home.
  • There’s high humidity in your home’s living area.
  • Condensation on windows
  • There’s visible wood rot on the beams and joists in the crawl space.
  • There’s mold on the wood in the crawl space.
  • You see damage in the crawl space caused by pests such as termites.

If you see any of the above – or even something else you find suspicious – contact a foundation repair contractor for an inspection and repair estimate.

For more information see A Quick Guide To French Drain Basement Waterproofing.

Moisture In Your Crawl Space

Cost Of Crawl Space Encapsulation With A Dehumidifier

The cost of encapsulation with a crawl space dehumidifier depends on various factors, including the side of the crawl space and your geographical region. Therefore, we can’t give you an estimate unless we perform an inspection. We can tell you that in our service area in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, the cost of encapsulation along with a crawl space dehumidifier ranges from $5,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the square footage of the crawl space, and if a drainage system is added.

The only way to know how much it will cost for encapsulation and a crawl space dehumidifier is to contact an experienced foundation repair contractor for an inspection and estimate.

Dampness in a crawl space isn’t unusual. Fortunately, it can be controlled via encapsulation along with a crawl space dehumidifier and a drain tile system.

If you need encapsulation along with a crawl space dehumidifier and you’re in our service area in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, contact us for an estimate.

WRITTEN BY

Dave Epp

Dave is the President at Epp Foundation Repair with over 27 years of experience in the industry. Dave has worked on thousands of foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space repair projects since 1993. Dave is involved in several civic and church organizations and enjoys coaching youth sports, mainly football, golfing, and elk hunting.

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