Guest Blog Contributor: Crawlspace Medic
How did hurricane Florence affect your crawl space? Here’s what to look out for in your crawl space…
Even though Hurricane Florence passed through our area several months ago, many homeowners are still feeling its lingering effects without knowing it. We are Crawlspace Medic, experts when it comes to the area underneath your home. We exist because 60% of the air you breathe in your home comes from your crawl space. Here are 7 important factors we inspect for daily that can affect the health of your home.
High Wood Moisture Content
Wood moisture content is one way for you to know if there is an issue with the structural components of your home. Wood moisture content is the percentage of water in the wood framing supporting your house. Proper wood moisture content should be 5%-15%. Anything outside of this range can potentially cause issues, sometimes major. Once your moisture reading reaches over 15% it is likely you have fungus, mold, or mildew. When the moisture readings get to 20% or higher, you can almost guarantee fungus or mold is forming in your crawl space. You can get a wood moisture reader from your local home improvement store for around $50 or call your local crawl space repair company.
Signs of Fungus and Mold
Fungus and mold are easy to spot even though they come in all different shapes and sizes. Fungus and mold grow on the wood under your home slowly eating away at the structure of the wood. They can often look like black spots, white spots, or discoloration of the wood. Two of the major things that cause a large amount of the structural repairs we perform are wood rot and wood decay, both created by fungus. The only consistent solution to fungus and mold is to fix the problem of high moisture with a crawl space dehumidifier.
Streaming insulation is exactly what it sounds like, long strips of insulation falling from the space between your floor joists. Streaming insulation can happen in several different ways: animals, moisture accumulation, or simply age. If left untreated, insulation will often fall to the floor of your crawl space, rot from excess moisture, and leave you no choice but to replace it. If you have noticed your heating and cooling bills are a bit higher than usual, you may want to call a professional to check your insulation.
Often we like to tell people to trust their nose. If your crawl space smells stale, rotten, musty, or damp, you likely have a problem. Several things can put off a strong smell; standing water, mold and fungus, dead animals, or even a broken pipe. It can often be hard to locate the source of the scent, so we always recommend calling your local crawl space professional.
Weak and Damaged Wood
Weak and damaged wood is something you have to get under your house and actually check for. You can visually inspect the structural timber for discoloration and cracks, but the absolute best process checking for wood rot is to poke a piece of wood with a screwdriver. If it sounds hollow or the screwdriver can punch a hole you likely have a problem. Structural problems can often be hard to diagnose. If you think you have a problem, we highly recommend talking with a crawl space professional.
Water in Ductwork
During the recent hurricane and also in times of heavy rain, you may get flooding in your crawl space. If your ductwork hangs low, then it is very likely you have water in your duct lines. You need to physically check all lines for water. Water in lines will make them heavy, and you may even be able to hear it sloshing. If left unattended, water in your ductwork will cause rot and mold. You could unknowingly be releasing fungus and mold into your house every time you use your heat or AC.
Standing water in a crawl space is often a sign that there is a bigger problem, usually: flooding, improper grading, plumbing leak, high water table, or water intrusion from a foundation wall. Many of these can be solved with some version of a drain system, but leaving standing water is never a good idea. Standing water will raise the humidity level in your crawl space, leading to higher wood moisture content and many other things that can harm your home’s health. When you see an area under or near your house with standing water, call a professional to explore the best way to remove the standing water.
We see all of these problems on an almost daily basis, and we understand it can be scary and confusing to find the right solution. That being said, if you see the start of a problem, please reach out to a professional who can offer a proper solution and ensure you have a healthy crawl space and home. In almost every case, prevention (in the form of early treatment) is more cost-effective than repairing a problem that has been ignored. Please feel free to call us any time with questions or to schedule a checkup.
Crawlspace Medic – (910) 726-9424 – Crawlspacemedic.com – Licensed Contractors
Disclaimer: The content, views, and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and are to be used for informational purposes only. Intracoastal Realty makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information in this blog.