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The Drying Co. is an authorized dealer of the nationally renowned Dr. Energy Saver network. The Dr. Energy Saver network is comprised of the best energy-conservation contractors across the country. We are not just another contractor company, we specialize in improving your King And Queen County home's current energy efficiency issues. You'll receive the maximum energy and cost-saving results with the least amount of hassle.
We specialize in a variety of services aimed to lessen your home's carbon footprint while reducing your utility costs! We offer it all, from air sealing, radon removal to ductwork and a variety of HVAC services.
At Dr. Energy Saver, we not only test and investigate your home's energy usage, but we will discuss and prioritize the proper repairs. You'll know which ones will save you the most energy and why. This will also help direct you in making the best decision for you and your family.
For a FREE, no-obligation services estimate, you'll also receive a free copy of "Saving Energy and Money at Home," a great book to use as you begin to create a more comfortable, healthy, and energy efficient home!
This homeowner in Saint Stephens Church homeowner contacted us because they wanted to encapsulate their crawl space.
At the inspection, we found that there were some significant concerns with bulk water entry. Water had eroded a trench along the foundation walls. We also saw signs of puddling and damp ground. There was also staining and efflorescence on the block walls that indicated prolonged exposure to moisture. Hot, humid air also floods into the crawl space through open vents increasing the relative humidity.
There was no vapor barrier on the ground, allowing the earth’s moisture and evaporating water to rise into the air. The moisture contributed to the high relative humidity in the crawl space, resulting in microbial growth on the joists. The fiberglass insulation was covered with a “barrier” that had begun to fall away from the joists. Covering insulation at the floors joists in a crawl space with a moisture or vapor barrier ultimately results in moisture getting trapped between the barrier and the sub floor.
Due to our findings, we presented several steps to take to the homeowner for encapsulating their crawl space. After removing all debris and old fiberglass, we suggest they address the bulk water infiltration by installing a perimeter drainage system with sump pump. Next, we would want to use an antimicrobial to treat the mold and mildew growth on the joists. Once the crawl space is cleaned up and drainage is in place, the encapsulation can be installed. We begin by recommending a heavy-duty vapor barrier that is sealed at all seams, wrapped and sealed around all piers and attached and sealed to the foundation walls, 6 to 8 inches above outside grade. We then recommend air sealing the crawl space at the rim and band, sill plate, vents, and behind the crawl space door. Then, we suggested installing Closed Cell Spray Foam on the crawl space walls. Finally, we recommend the SaniDry Sedona Dehumidifier which is specially designed for crawl spaces and basements. The unit removes moisture from the air, only running when it needs to, and circulates dry air throughout the entire crawl space.
If they homeowner chooses to take this route, they will be able to keep their crawl space dry, help to prevent future mold and mildew growth, and make their home healthier, more durable, and more energy efficient. They will experience a better indoor air quality and warmer floors in the winter.
This Shacklefords, VA homeowner reached out because they were experiencing cold floors, despite there being insulation in the crawl space and drafts on the first floor of their home.
Often, drafts and cold floors on the first floor are a symptom of drafts and poor insulation in the crawl space. The stack effect tells us that as conditioned air escapes out of the top of the home, new unconditioned air is being pulled in at the bottom of the home (the crawl space or basement) and ultimately into the living space.
We found that the crawl space was vented, allowing cold air to rush into the crawl space in winter months. Outside air also leaks in at the rim and band, sill plate, and any penetrations to the outside through the foundation walls. The fiberglass insulation, despite being between the joists, was not keeping the floors warm. To be effective, fiberglass insulation needs to be enclosed on all sides. Instead, it is allowing cold air to flow up through the home, leaving the homeowners uncomfortable.
Beyond the problems contributing to the homeowner’s discomfort, we also found that high relative humidity had resulted in microbial growth, and an unsealed vapor barrier was allowing the earth’s moisture to rise and exacerbate the problem.
Our recommendation to the homeowners included sealing the crawl space to prevent cold outside air from coming in the winter leaving them with cold feet and drafty rooms. Sealing the crawl space includes sealing all vents, the rim and band, sill plate, and all penetrations in the foundation wall. We also recommend sealing the crawl space from the earth’s moisture with a heavy-duty vapor barrier. Because temperature can radiate through the foundation walls leaving the crawl space cold, we recommend insulating from the foundation walls. This is more effective than covering the fiberglass insulation in the joists because it would cause the insulation to hold moisture, become heavy, and fall away from the floors. Since we are sealing the crawl space, we recommend installing a dehumidifier to control relative humidity to prevent future mold growth.
If the homeowners choose to proceed with this solution, it will help control the temperature of the crawl space and seal the crawl space from the outside air. This will leave the homeowners with warmer floors, fewer drafts, meaning they can be comfortable in their home.
This homeowner in Mattaponi, VA asked us to inspect his home’s basement for problems regarding water leakage and damage, especially when there is heavy rain. He told us that water filled up in his basement one to three inches every time it rains for more than two or three days. We sent out one of our experienced Home Performance Advisors to look at the basement and give the homeowner a free estimate.
Upon inspection, we found that there was efflorescence all over the foundation walls of the basement, a clear indication of water infiltration through the porous walls. Water seeps through, dragging the minerals and salts in the walls to the surface. The intrusion of this water contributes to the increase in relative humidity, adding to the potential for mold growth.
Mold and mildew can be found on the wood stairs in the basement. This tells us that there is plenty of moisture in the air. Mold needs elevated relative humidity, about 60%, and warm temperatures to grow on organic materials. Mold spores will rise into the home, along with musty odors, and can cause irritation to homeowners with mold allergies and asthma.
Funny odors and mold growth were not the only concerns of the homeowner, however. Many of the items stored down in the basement had been damaged during heavy rainstorms. This basement was in desperate need of some solutions to help combat the water leaking in. We proposed different options to the homeowner to help fix these issues.
To rectify these concerns, first, we would want to address the basement walls and stop the water from being able to leak through. We would mechanically fasten CleanSpace to the walls six to eight inches above outside grade. CleanSpace is a durable heavy-duty vapor barrier that will guard the basement against outside air and moisture influence by directing any water that finds its way through the foundation walls into the drainage system.
Then we proposed adding the WaterGuard Drainage System. We would dig a trench around the inside perimeter of the basement to install the drainage line connecting to the sump pump. WaterGuard is a drainage system that will collect water and drain it straight to the sump pump. The pump will shoot all the water out and away from the home to a designated area on the property chosen by the homeowner.
The sump pump we suggested for this basement is the TripleSafe Sump System. This system comes with a Zoeller 1/3 hp pump, a Zoeller ½ hp high volume pump, and an UltraSump battery back-up pumping system, perfect for basements and crawl spaces that have major leaks or flooding. If the ½ horsepower pump fails or is overwhelmed, the 1/3 horsepower pump will take over. If the primary pumps fail due to tripped circuit breakers or power outages, the UltraSump battery backup system will kick on until the primary pumps turn back on or the battery runs out. Together, the WaterGuard Drainage System and TripleSafe Sump System will help keep the basement dry.
The mold and mildew issue would be rectified using Shockwave antimicrobial, a disinfectant, and cleaner designed to kill mold at its source. It does not, however, prevent mold from growing back. The relative humidity and temperature would need to be controlled to prevent thriving mold spores.
If the homeowner chooses to proceed with this approach, the basement would be clear of water and protected from outside influence, the homeowner would no longer have to worry about the basement flooding, they would feel more comfortable in their home and have improved indoor air quality. If you are experiencing leaks or flooding within your basement then call The Drying Co./ThermalTec for a free estimate from one of our hardworking and trustworthy home performance advisors.
A Bruington, VA homeowner contacted us because they wanted to seal and insulate their home. They had high energy bills and uneven temperatures from room to room.
In the crawl space, we found that there was a radiant barrier installed on the floor joists to try and deflect heat. The idea is the barrier will deflect the heat in the crawlspace during summer months back into the crawl. While in winter months, it will keep heat in the home. The problem is radiant barriers are only effective when they are clean and shiny and have an air space. When installed in a crawl space, the side facing down is dirty and dusty reducing its reflective qualities.
The insulation between the floors joists and the radiant barrier collects moisture and is unable to dry out. The insulation becomes heavy and sags as much as the barrier will allow. Eventually, the saturation and weight will cause the barrier and insulation to fall. The excess moisture combined with warm temperatures allowed mold and mildew to grow on the floor joists. Since air is pulled up into the home from the crawl space, the indoor air quality is impacted.
To address the energy and comfort concerns in their home, we made some suggestions for improving the crawl space. We first recommended removing the existing insulation and debris. Then we suggested treating the mold and mildew growth with an antimicrobial.
Next, we would install a heavy-duty vapor barrier sealing it around all piers, to the walls, and at all seams. This will seal the crawl space from the earth’s moisture. We also want to seal any gaps allowing outside air into the crawl space. This includes vents, the rim & band, sill plate, and any utility penetrations.
Then we recommended insulating the crawl space walls with Closed-Cell Spray Foam insulation, leaving a viewing strip at the top of the wall for termite inspections. Insulating from the crawl space walls extends the thermal boundary of the home and reduces the transfer of heat through the foundation walls. In the winter, this means warmer floors for the homeowners, and less outside air being pulled into the home to be conditioned.
The final piece would be to install a dehumidifier to control the relative humidity in the crawl space. Though we have sealed the crawl space from the outside air as much as possible, we still need to regulate the relative humidity, which is the key component to ensuring microbial growth and wood rot do not occur. The unit is designed to only cut on when the relative humidity reaches approximately 55%, we want to keep it below 60%. It removes the excess moisture from the air and circulates dry air throughout the crawl space.
With this solution in their crawl space, they will have warmer floors, reduce the unconditioned outside air being pulled into their home, and improve their indoor air quality. This will help to make the home more comfortable and energy-efficient. It also has the added benefit of protecting the substructure from moisture damage.
If you are looking for solutions to make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient, reach out to our experts for a free inspection and estimate. Our Home Performance Advisors work with you to achieve your goals for you and your home.
A homeowner in Little Plymouth, VA asked us to take a look at their crawl space. They had noticed some moisture issues, as well as insulation falling and mold growth. They wanted to see what could be done to repair the space and prevent future damage.
At our inspection, we found that excess moisture had soaked into the insulation causing it to delaminate and fall away from the floors. The vapor barrier did not fully cover the ground and protect the crawl space from the earth’s moisture. The excess of moisture in the crawl space also meant that the relative humidity was increasing, coupled with moderate temperatures, this allows mold and mildew to grow on the floor joists. This impacts the indoor air quality of the home, as air from the crawl space is pulled up into the home. Untreated, moisture issues in the crawl space can lead to wood rot of the joists and girders, creating serious foundation concerns.
To treat this crawl space, we recommended sealing outside air and moisture out and regulating the relative humidity to prevent future problems. To achieve this, we would begin by cleaning out the fiberglass, vapor barrier, and any debris. Then we would treat the mold with Mold-X2, a stain remover and mold killer with botanical.
The next step in sealing the crawl space would be to install a durable vapor barrier. The Drying Co. uses a product called CleanSpace, a reinforced liner able to withstand individuals crawling and working in the space. The liner will be sealed at all seams, wrapped around all piers and sealed, and attached to the walls about 6 inches above outside grade and sealed.
We then would want to air seal the crawl space. This includes blocking the vents, sealing the sill plate, insulating and sealing the rim & band, and sealing all penetrations through the foundation wall to outside. We also install a friction fit crawl space door, an interior door that both insulates and air seals behind the exterior access door.
For insulation, we would install an R-10 of Closed Cell Spray Foam on the crawl space walls. Insulating from the walls would extend the thermal barrier of the home, making the environment easier to control. We also leave a 2-inch viewing strip at the top of the block wall that is required by VA building code for termite inspections.
Finally, we recommend installing a dehumidifier, the SaniDry Sedona air filtration and dehumidification system. This unit is designed to remove excess moisture from the air, filter it, and circulate the dry air throughout the entire crawl space. The equipment only cuts on when the relative humidity (RH) hits the preset, about 55%, keeping the RH below the 60% threshold where microbial growth can begin.
This solution will not just remedy the current problems, but they will also prevent them from reoccurring. The added benefits include warmer floors in the winter, a better indoor air quality, a healthier home, a more durable structure, and a more energy-efficient home.
If you noticed falling insulation or mold growth under your home, call the professionals at The Drying Co. Our experienced Home Performance Advisors will talk to you about your concerns, do a thorough inspection, take photos of their findings and review them with you, then work with you to develop the right solution for you and your home.
A homeowner in Mascot, Virginia was experiencing musty odors in their home and believed that there was possible mold growth in their crawl space. They called us at The Drying Company, and we sent out an experienced Home Performance Advisor to evaluate the situation.
Upon inspection, we did indeed find mold and mildew growth on many of the organic materials within the crawl space, such as the wooden floor joists and subfloor. It is likely the cause of the musty odors that the homeowner is experiencing.
Mold and mildew growth occurs on organic materials when the relative humidity is above 60% during warm temperatures, and so we wanted to figure out where the excessive moisture was coming from. Efflorescence on the foundation walls was visible, a clear indication of moisture infiltration. As the moisture forces its way through the porous cinderblock walls, it brings the inner salts and sediments to the surface, creating a chalky, powdery substance.
There are also open vents lining the foundation walls that allow outside air and moisture to freely enter the crawl space. Any moisture that enters becomes trapped, affecting the environment and relative humidity.
Another issue we noticed was that the 6-mil vapor barrier installed was missing in a few sections of the crawl space, exposing the dirt floors. The earth’s moisture rises from the ground, adding to the relative humidity.
We then drew up some solutions to remedy the mold and mildew problem, as well as reduce outside moisture infiltration and lower the relative humidity. The first step would be to clear the crawl space of the old vapor barrier and any debris, then we would kill the mold using an antimicrobial called Shockwave. We spot clean any bulk growth on organic materials residing in the crawl space, but the mold and mildew can grow back if we do not regulate and control the environment and humidity.
The next objective would be to install a 20-mil CleanSpace vapor barrier. CleanSpace is a 7-layer polyethylene liner with an antimicrobial, called UltraFresh, built into the material. This vapor barrier will help to protect the crawl space from any moisture rising from the earth. It gets wrapped around all piers and mechanically fastened to the foundation walls six to eight inches above outside grade, with all the seams sealed.
After the vapor barrier is installed, we would want to insulate the foundation walls using an R-10 value of spray foam to help prevent outside air and moisture from affecting the crawl space. The open vents would be blocked off with foam board pieces and sealed, and a two-inch viewing strip would be left behind for termite inspectors.
After the crawl space is encapsulated and insulated, we would want to add a SaniDry Sedona dehumidifier to regulate the temperature and humidity of the area, as well as circulate dry air around the crawl space. This will also help to prevent any more mold or mildew growth.
With this solution, the homeowners would experience better air quality and lower energy bills, and the musty odors will dissipate.
If you are also interested in mold remediation or a full crawl space encapsulation, then call us at The Drying Company. We will help to keep the outside, outside.