What is it that’s causing your electrical bills to rise? Your power provider may attribute the rise to colder temperatures or greater HVAC use. In a way, they’re not wrong. Your HVAC system may be working harder than it usually does, but it’s not because your heat is blaring at all hours of the day. It’s likely because your HVAC system is trying to compensate for a crawl space leak.
As moisture makes its way into your crawl space, it can start to wreak havoc on the temperatures throughout your home. Moisture tends to lower the temperature in your space, meaning that if you want to keep your home warm, your HVAC system will need to put in double the effort. As a result, your energy bills are going to be higher, even if they don’t seem like they should be.
The good news is that crawl space leaks don’t have to dictate your life. Instead, if you think something’s gone awry in your crawl space, you can reach out to area professionals. Our team of experts in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, can inspect your crawl space.
Warning Signs of Energy Problems to Look Out For
It can be frustrating to have spiking energy bills and not know the root reason. By paying attention to these warning signs, you can uncover the crawl space issues causing all this early on:
- High bills with no seasonal reasons and no change in your usage habits
- Bills that fluctuate wildly
- Visible cracks and damage in your home
- Dampness and humidity in your crawl space
These are all important signs of energy problems to notice and try to tackle early on. Many of these are symptoms of general crawl space damage as well, which means you may need an expert in to look at your crawl space.
Types of Crawl Space Damage That Cause High Energy Bills
You can attribute rising electrical bills to some manner of damage in your crawl space. Determining what kind of damage you’re dealing with, however, isn’t always easy. Crawl space damage tends to descend upon your home in waves. Initially, it may not be too severe. Let it develop over time, and your problems are going to multiply. The most common types of crawl space damage include but are not limited to:
- Bowing walls
- Sinking floors
- Mold infestations
- Pest infestations
- Window and door frame damage
Cracks and leaks tend to serve as the forerunners in the world of crawl space damage. While this kind of damage can set multiple in-home issues into motion, it’s also relatively straightforward to address, provided you catch it before it can worsen.
The longer you leak cracks and leaks to fester, the more likely you are to find yourself dealing with bowing walls or a sinking floor. The doors and window frames in your home can also start to slide out of place if cracks or leaks allow too much moisture indoors. These conditions can make the damage from leaks exponentially worse, often allowing standing water into your crawl space while destabilizing the rest of your property.
Mold and pest infestations are a little trickier to deal with. Mold, for example, doesn’t enter your home through leaks or cracks. Rather, its spores sneak in courtesy of your HVAC system. Comparatively, pests including insects and mammals will infiltrate your home via any opening they can find. They may not even need to get into your home to start causing problems—rabbits and groundhogs, for example, can dig burrows beneath your home that destabilize your foundational slab.
In any case, these problems tend to escalate. If you’re not able to catch crawl space damage while it’s still in the crack-and-leak stage, repairs can become increasingly complex, long-winded, and costly. That’s why it’s a good idea to catch problems early.
Repairing Crawl Space Damage and Lowering Energy Bills
If you want to lower your home’s energy bills, you’re going to have to repair any damage in your crawl space. The best ways to repair the most common types of damage include but are not limited to:
- Cracks – Most professionals will recommend sealing cracks that are on the smaller side. If it looks, however, as though significant cracks have developed between your walls and floors, you may need to have area professionals repour the materials that have suffered from damage.
- Leaks – First, professionals need to remove the unwanted moisture from your crawl space. They can do this physically or with the help of non-commercial dehumidifiers. Then, much in the same way that they treat cracks, they can go about sealing off your crawl space.
- Sinking Floors – If the floors in the upper levels of your home have started to cave, the professionals in your area will need to first inspect, then repair or replace, your joists. They can also install supplementary floor support to lift your old flooring back into place.
- Mold – High levels of humidity in a crawl space can easily create problems with mold. It’s common for homeowners to need to remove mold, then replace carpet, drywall, insulation, and wood that’s been impacted by the mold.
- Bowing Walls – You can request the installation of wall anchor systems made from carbon fiber straps to better hold your bowing walls in place.
If professionals note that the damage you’re dealing with has moved down into your foundation, you may have larger problems on your hands. Luckily, the professionals in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, are just as well versed in the art of foundation repair as they are in crawl space maintenance. You can discuss potential piering methods during an initial consultation. Alternatively, you may want to consider mudjacking your foundation or using polyurethane injections to stabilize the soil around your home. Either way, you can combine these solutions with any of the spot treatments meant to stabilize your crawl space to lower your electrical bills and otherwise protect your home.
Preventing Crawl Space Damage
If you want to get ahead of those high energy bills, you’re going to want to invest in regular crawl space inspections. These inspections are comprehensive and conducted by the professionals in your area, meaning that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to build up a strong relationship with the folks who can help you care for your home. What does a crawl space inspection involve? Often, area professionals break this process down into three stages:
- An Entryway Inspection – To start things off, professionals will inspect the quality of your crawl space’s entrance. Your entrance needs to be large enough for area professionals to enter without contorting themselves or otherwise putting themselves in danger. Any entrance that isn’t up to code needs to be expanded or repaired for professionals to continue your inspection.
- Inspecting for Obvious Damages– Following the entryway inspection comes the superficial inspection. This inspection allows professionals to identify any clear and urgent problems with your crawl space, from large mold infestations to standing water.
- In-Depth Inspection– If your crawl space looks relatively safe, professionals will take a closer look at its nooks and crannies. They use this stage to identify your crawl space’s weaknesses and to recommend repairs or waterproofing measures that can protect you from additional financial losses.
Waterproofing Your Crawl Space for Energy Savings
If you’re looking to lower your energy bills, you’ll want to strongly consider waterproofing your crawl space. The more moisture you’re able to drive out of this space, the less influence that dampness will have over the temperature in your home. As the temperature in your home evens out, your HVAC system can take a break, and so can your wallet.
Some of the best crawl space waterproofing measures include but are not limited to:
- Vapor barriers
- Crawl space encapsulation
- Non-commercial dehumidifiers
- Interior drains
- Sump pumps
You always have the option to stack your home waterproofing measures. Our team of experts serving Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, to discuss what combination of waterproofing measures can help fill up your wallet.
High Energy Bills
If it turns out that your energy bills are on the rise because of damage in your crawl space, you might roll up your sleeves and try to go to work on the space yourself. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a good idea. Trying to repair any manner of crawl space damage without professional guidance can cost far more than you initially anticipate and can even be dangerous.
The Cost of DIY Repairs
Many homeowners underestimate the cost of DIY crawl space repair. This ordeal is expensive especially if you’re unsure about the kind of damage your home has sustained. You can lose a lot of money on materials and single-use tools during your prep phase, especially if you try to handle each problem sign individually.
Mistakes during the DIY process can also be expensive. Replacing lost materials can see you exceed your repair budget quickly. Professionals, on the other hand, can single out the damage that’s raising your bills and treat it with precision. Not only will they be able to handle your repairs quickly, but they won’t have to charge you for any extraneous purchases.
The Danger of DIY Mistakes
If you don’t have any experience repairing crawl space damage, DIY crawl space work is often more dangerous than helpful. It’s easy to make mistakes during the DIY process, and those mistakes are more than just costly. For example, if you incorrectly install a crawl space waterproofing measure, like a vapor barrier, you may walk away from your repairs thinking that your home is watertight. In reality, you could have only hidden the damage, and lulled yourself into a false sense of security.
In terms of expenses, mistakes are some of the biggest money sinks you can deal with. It’s not just the expense of lost materials that you’ll have to worry about, either. If you do cover up crawl space damage, you’ll eventually have to call in professionals to help you with more severe crawl space losses. In these cases, you’re going to have to pay professionals to remove your DIY solutions before going about their repair work.
If you’re budget-minded, you’re going to want to be certain that your crawl space repairs will return your investment with interest. The good news is that comprehensive crawl space repair always pays off.
The Benefits of Crawl Space Repairs
Crawl space repairs are designed to limit the amount of moisture that gets into your home. That moisture causes temperatures throughout your home to drop, raising your electrical bill. When you repair the damage that’s letting moisture into your home, you eliminate the force that’s wasting you money.
That’s not the only way crawl space repair will lower your energy bills. Yes, a more consistent internal temperature is fantastic for your bills. So is an HVAC system that doesn’t need constant repairs due to wear. An HVAC system that isn’t overworked will stay intact for far longer than one that’s compensating for unwanted moisture in your home. This means that your HVAC system won’t be running on damaged or inappropriate parts, and you will be saving money on your monthly bills. You won’t even have to worry about calling professionals out for repairs, meaning you’ll be able to put even more money into your rainy-day fund.
Different Crawl Space Waterproofing Measures
Of course, an unwaterproofed crawl space is vulnerable to additional damage. You can work with the professionals in your area to determine which waterproofing measures will best help you control the temperature in your home. Some of your best crawl space waterproofing options include:
- Vapor barriers
- Crawl space encapsulation
- Non-commercial dehumidifiers
- Interior drains
- Sump pumps
Note that you also have the option to invest in waterproof crawl space insulation. This insulation can pull double duty, controlling the temperature in your home while also creating a barrier between your home and the great outdoors. Sit down with one of the professionals in your area to determine which of these solutions may best suit your needs and bills.
Keeping track of your crawl space’s condition can help you get ahead of worsening damage—and higher electrical bills. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to everyday crawl space care you may be at a loss. The good news is that caring for your crawl space is a relatively straightforward process.
Look for Signs of Damage
The best way to figure out whether something is wrong with your crawl space is to keep a close eye on it. Your crawl space is sensitive, meaning it will give its damage away if it gets the chance. With that in mind, you’ll want to keep an eye out for:
- Unpleasant smells throughout your basement
- Cracks near the joints, walls, and frames throughout your home
- Standing or pooling water near your carpeting
- Bowing walls
Unfortunately, while these symptoms will let you know that something’s amiss in your home, they won’t always help you identify the problem in question. That’s where the professionals serving Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, come into play. Professionals can inspect the symptoms you’re dealing with and let you know where that damage may be coming from. This way, you can determine whether you’re dealing with just a crack, or something more severe like foundation damage.
Get a Professional Inspection
These professionals typically break a crawl space inspection down into three stages. They’ll kick your inspection off by looking over your entrance and making sure that it’s up to code. From there, they’ll identify any obvious problems. If nothing looks immediately wrong, they’ll look for your crawl space’s weaker elements and recommend any repairs or solutions that might prevent worse damage later down the line.
It’s never a bad idea to set up annual crawl space inspections with the professionals in your area. If you’d rather leave the details of your crawl space to a professional, let the experts in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, do the hard work for you.
Work With Area Professionals to Lower Your High Energy Bills
Don’t let crawl space damage take control of your monthly budget. If you’ve noticed that your energy bill’s been rising, reach out to the professionals serving Columbus and Cincinnati, OH. With a little bit of help, you can figure out what kind of crawl space damage has been costing you money and how best you can go about repairing it.