Moisture in your crawl space is important for several reasons. Here are a few.
Wood Decay Fungi (WDF)
Powder Post Beetles
Wood decay fungi (WDF) can cause your floor joist to rot. Both Brown Rot and White Rot grow and thrive on the wood in your crawl space when there is enough moisture to support growth. Wood that has a moisture reading around 30% or higher will rot. When the moisture goes down below the 20% level then the WDF will not continue to grow although it may not die. A fungicide can be applied to kill WDF but it can return at a later time, unless the conditions that cause it to grow are corrected. There are three things needed for WDF to grow: oxygen, food source (wood), and water. The only one we can control is the water.
Rain and poor drainage can result in standing water in the crawl space. This can be corrected by improving your exterior grade and/or installing a French Drain in the crawl space.
Humidity can enter the crawl space through the foundation vents. If you have good cross ventilation then this is normally not a problem. Poor cross ventilation can result in trapped humidity that is either absorbed in the wood, or it can cause condensation to form on the ducts, wood, and insulation, causing WDF or Rot. Poor ventilation is caused by various reasons. The HVAC trunk line and air ducts in some cases restrict air flow. Bushes planted too close to the foundation restricts air flow. Long fill porches and garages limit proper ventilation and air flow.
Each house is unique. Sometimes the addition of fans operated by humidistats may correct the problem. Other times you may need a Dehumidifier. Be aware of sealed crawl spaces that do not allow a minimum 3 inch inspection gap at the top of the foundation. This is code to allow for the inspection for termites.
A Vapor Barrier helps control the moisture that evaporates from the ground.
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We are not Health-Related Mold experts. For mold information we suggest you begin with the EPA and Indoor Air Quality experts.
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