Crawl space encapsulation keeps homes healthy

Crawl space encapsulation keeps homes healthy

The encapsulated crawl space of a home. Photo by Larry Ralph via flickr

Although homeowners rarely visit their crawl space, it is important to keep this in good condition. Keeping it unclean and moist can lead to risks to homeowners, their families and their homes – not to mention the structure's performance.

Crawl space encapsulation is a method of sealing the crawl space. This is covering the floors, walls and the ceiling with overlapping sheets of heavy-duty polyethylene plastic. This way, homeowners can protect it from excessive moisture, especially when a dehumidifier is also used. 

The dehumidifier will help dry the crawl space.

Unfortunately, crawl space encapsulation is not cheap. Such a project may cost between $2,000 to $15,000, depending on the size and scope of the work. However, the benefits make the investment worthwhile. 

Benefits of crawl space encapsulation

  • Keeps out pests: Rodents and other pests love moist areas, and crawl spaces can become breeding grounds for unwanted critters. Encapsulating the crawl space will help drive them away. The tendency is they will die or move out of the house.
  • Strengthens house foundation: Moisture tends to soften and weaken floors and can even lead sweating windows. Keep them dry, so they will stay sturdy. Costs for repairs and replacement will be more expensive compared to encapsulating the crawl space.
  • Prevents rust: As with a wooden foundation, rust can be prevented on steel structures by keeping the place dry.
  • Prevents musty odors and helps avoid mold: Mold and other fungi need moisture to grow. Control the moisture level, and you will solve this issue.
  • Improves air quality: Since you can now prevent mold growth and musty odors through encapsulation, this means better indoor air quality for your family.
  • Lowers electricity bills: Homes with encapsulated crawl spaces have seen a significant decrease in their energy bills. This happens most especially during cold and hot seasons of the year. 
  • Prolongs life of HVAC unit: In connection with savings in energy costs, the HVAC unit doesn’t need to work hard to provide a comfortable temperature.
  • Serves as additional storage area: Now that this area looks more pleasing and dry, keep unused and old furniture out of your main home with your crawl space.
  • Increases home value of your home: In the event you would want to relocate and sell your home, you can sell at a higher price. Buyers opt to choose crawl spaces that are already encapsulated so they won’t have to spend on it after settling in.

Hire a professional

You can encapsulate your crawl space yourself. The most common reason why some opt for this is to be able to save cash. However, hiring professionals ensures the project is done correctly.

Aside from that, these professionals already have the tools and equipment needed to properly carry out the project.

You may be able to save a few bucks, but if the work is not done properly, the process may have to be repeated. What’s worse is that when this happens, a professional eventually may need to be called in any way. 

K.C. Mathews is a freelance writer. 

Topics: Cost of Ownership, Dehumidifiers and Air Purifiers, Indoor Air Quality, Insulation, Ventilation

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