Research results indicate that a sealed crawl space is a great moisture control strategy with impressive energy saving potential, as reported by Advanced Energy.
As opposed to what many building scientists believed years ago, new research has shown that vented crawl spaces create the perfect environment for mold growth, wood rot, insects and moisture problems.
A sealed crawl space is the perfect defense against these detriments, and has proven to also create a healthier living environment and reduce energy costs.
As the insulation acts as a sponge, it holds moisture against the wood joists raising the moisture content of the joists. Mold requires organic material, warm temperatures, and relative humidity above 60% to grow. Often we see mold growing on the paper backing of the insulation and on wood joists in the crawl space. As the moisture content in the joists increases, the probability for wood rot becomes more likely. Once the joists reach 19% moisture wood rot begins. An antimicrobial called Shockwave is sprayed onto the joists to kill the mold. Once the encapsulation is complete and the dehumidifier is installed it will be set to turn on before the humidity in the crawl space reaches 60% (The ideal point for mold to grow). The Encapsulation system will help prevent ideal conditions for mold to grow from occurring and make the home healthier and more comfortable.
Initially, this crawl space was encapsulated with a 6-mil vapor barrier and R-11 vinyl faced fiberglass insulation. Thhomeownerer contacted us with concerns about an ammonia, or animal urine odor in her home and poor air sealing.
Our goal was to remedy the Home Owner’s concerns of foul odors in her home and wasted energy. To achieve this, we installed a 20 mil Clean Space Vapor Barrier on the floor of the crawl space and around the piers. We installed Foamax board insulation on the walls leaving a 3-inch viewing strip for pest control companies to do their inspection. We applied spray foam insulation to the rim and band and sill plate to create an air seal and reduce drafts coming into the crawl space. Finally, we installed a Sani Dry Sedona Dehumidifier, the leading dehumidifier on the market, to pull any moisture that enters the crawl space out.
This crawl space was originally encapsulated at construction with a 6 mil Vapor Barrier and R-11 vinyl faced fiberglass insulation. The homeowner complained of an animal urine or ammonia odor in their home. This was a result of moisture entering the crawl space through the porous cinder block walls and saturating the fiberglass insulation.
We installed a 20 mil Clean Space Vapor Barrier, Foamax Insulation Board, sealed the rim & band and sill plate, and installed a SaniDry Sedona Dehumidifier. This approach will help keep moisture out of the crawl space and control relative humidity.
Since the natural airflow in a home is from bottom to top, the air that is circulated back into the home from the sealed crawl space will be clean, dry air, creating a healthier environment.
Additionally, the air circulating back into the home is now conditioned air, reducing the need to heat or cool it, resulting in lower energy costs.