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Controlling Humidity in Your Crawl Space

If your hygrometer or humidistat is ticking upward but you’re not seeing any standing water in your crawl space, what can you do, and can area professionals help?

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Humidity can be a pain to deal with. Your clothes stick to your skin, you never feel comfortable, and even stepping outside feels like you’re stepping into an unpleasant cloud bank. At least you can make your way inside on the worst of days and cool off, right? 

Not always. If your crawl space has started to succumb to high levels of humidity, your home is going to be just as uncomfortable as the great outdoors. There’s more to it than that, though. A crawl space that’s enduring high levels of humidity is also at risk for structural damage. 

Long-term exposure to moisture, even if there aren’t any puddles on your floor, can spell disaster for any porous materials in your crawl space. As that damage worsens, you can start to see it spread throughout the rest of your home. Luckily, if you’re noticing your hygrometer or humidistat tick up, you can reach out to contractors in Columbus, OH, for guidance. 

dirty wet humid crawl space

The Dangers of High Humidity 

High levels of humidity in your home are more than just unpleasant. As moisture makes its way into your home, it tends to settle and make itself comfortable. Any porous materials you have in your home can begin to absorb that moisture to the point where they may start to show signs of wear and tear. Some of the most common forms of damage to appear in a crawl space that’s enduring high levels of humidity include: 

  • Mold and wood rot 
  • Infestations 
  • Damaged crawl space supports 
  • Sticking doors and windows 
  • Bowing walls 
  • Sagging floors 
  • Leaking concrete 
  • A sinking foundation or slab 

Sources of Unwanted Humidity 

Your crawl space can start to endure unusual levels of humidity for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include: 

Hydrostatic Pressure 

Hydrostatic pressure is a force that water can enact against your home. This pressure builds up outside of your crawl space as it rains or as groundwater migrates toward your property. When your concrete and other structural materials come into contact with a significant amount of moisture, they can change size and temperature on a molecular level. Those changes can cause your structural supports to suffer from a severe amount of stress and crack. 

Additional moisture can, at this point, start to make its way into your crawl space. While increased levels of humidity may not indicate severe leaks, they’re often the first sign that something’s structurally wrong in your crawl space. 

Leaking Pipes 

Hydrostatic pressure doesn’t just build up outside of your home. Leaking pipes are problems because they contribute to your home’s internal hydrostatic pressure. Let a leak grow for too long, and you may see water from outside of your home join a pipe leak in damaging your crawl space. 

Similarly, leaking pipes can do a significant amount of internal damage to your home on their own. Even as they force your structural supports to endure hydrostatic pressure, they can simply add humidity to the air in your crawl space, opening up the space to all the aforementioned forms of damage. 

Lowering the Humidity in Your Home 

There’s more than one way to lower the humidity in your crawl space. While working with area professionals, you can determine which of these solutions may suit you best: 

  • Encapsulation with a vapor barrier 
  • Dehumidification 
  • Waterproof insulation 
  • Waterproofing with interior drains and a sump pump 

If a professional determines that your home has fallen victim to some manner of damage, you’ll need to invest in repairs as soon as possible. You cannot successfully install crawl space waterproofing measures in a home that’s actively taking on moisture. The good news is that if you haven’t seen puddles in your crawl space, your damage is likely minor. Reach out to the professionals in your area to determine what kind of repairs might suit you best, then explore what waterproofing measures can prevent similar damage from reappearing. 

Connect With a Crawl Space Expert in Your Area 

Your crawl space is especially sensitive to damage. The damage you’re dealing with, however, may not always be straightforward. Instead, you may notice signs of increased humidity throughout your home without ever seeing standing water in your crawl space. Even so, a marked increase in your home’s internal humidity suggests there may be something wrong with your crawl space. 

There’s good news, though. You don’t have to try and determine the state of your crawl space on your own. Instead, you can reach out to the professional contractors serving Columbus, OH. The professionals with Ohio Basement Authority can walk through your home with you and determine whether your crawl space is damaged. If it is, or if there’s something else that appears to be damaged in your home, these experts will provide you with a free services quote detailing what repairs and protective measures you may benefit from. 

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