Monday, December 12th, 2011 by Zach Stachura
A dirt crawl space tends to make way for some pretty moist conditions, as the moisture from the earth is able to enter directly into the space. Humidity enters the space when air sucks the moisture from the earth directly into the air. Humidity can also come from water leaks as well as water build up in the earth, which then leaks into your crawl space.
Another way moisture enters your basement is through vents. These vents were originally intended to allow moist air to escape. Unfortunately this method instead pulls outside air into the crawlspace. The outside air is completely unconditioned and brings hot air into your crawl space in the summer months and cold air during the winter months. This will cost you more money as damp air costs more to heat and cool. Not only can crawl space moisture have an effect on your energy bills, it can also target your houses infrastructure and your health.
When the organic materials in your crawl space come in contact with moisture it is a recipe for disaster. Mold targets organic material, which is material that was once living. It is especially attracted to organic material that wet. Mold needs 70% relative humidity to grow, although some types of mold can grow in less humidity. Relative humidity refers to how saturated the air is with moisture. Mold has a tendency to start growing on processed organic fibers like paper and cardboard first, then on fiberboard and chipboard, then plywood and finally on framing lumber. Mold has a tendency to spread very fast as the slightest air currents can carry mold spores which act as seeds. As you can see, mold is can be very hazardous to not only your crawl space, but also your home.
Dust mites are microscopic parasites that live off of human skin flakes that we naturally shed. When these dust mites are living in your home people react to the dust mite droppings which are so tiny they float in the air, this is how they are accessible to be breathed in and aggravate allergies and asthma.
Dust mites are the number one indoor allergen for people with asthma and allergies. A reason dust mites love houses with damp crawl spaces is because they do not drink water, instead, they absorb it through their skin. Dust mites need over 50% relative humidity to live. Dust mites love humid houses for this reason; they can reside in your bedding, carpet or furniture while surviving because the humid air from the crawl space is being circulated throughout the home. The good news is that when the crawl space is dried out the dust mites will also dry out and die.
How to Control the Humidity
If mold and dust mites are making their way into your home, it’s time to start controlling the humidity in your crawlspace. Humidity levels below 60% create an environment where the troublesome mold and dust mites will not be able to thrive any longer. In order to create an atmosphere where this is possible, installing a dehumidifier is essential. By doing this you are sealing out the humid outside air and protecting your crawlspace and entire home from mold and dust mite problems.
CleanSpace® of the Carolinas, Inc. can help solve your moist crawl space problems. They specialize in repairing and waterproofing basements and crawl spaces in Myrtle Beach, SC and all surrounding areas. CleanSpace of the Carolinas, Inc. services much of North and South Carolina including Charleston, Fayetteville, and Wilmington.