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As experts in mold remediation in the East Central Alabama area, we are committed to protecting your family’s health by identifying and removing mold sources from around your home. That’s why we’re thrilled to also offer crawl space encapsulation; an additional service that will offer another level of protection from mold and moisture in your home.
What is Crawl Space Encapsulation?
Crawl space encapsulation is the process of turning a damp, dirty, moldy crawl space into a clean, dry space where mold can’t grow. The process will look something like this:
- Assessment/plan development
- Cleaning out the crawl space, removing mold. This is a very important step.
- Installation of drain lines to transport any bulk water intrusion to a sump pump.
- Installation a heavy duty vinyl wall liner on the foundation wall and wrapping the piers.
- Installation of a sump pump to remove bulk water.
- Installation of a heavy duty vinyl floor liner.
- All seams are taped.
- Installation of a dehumidifier rated for the space. This removes excess humidity. Below 60% RH is ideal.
- Sealing crawl space vents and other air intrusion points.
This is what is called a full encapsulation.
These common issues can be avoided when crawl space is encapsulated:
- Mildew/musty smell in the home
- Soft or separating floors
- High cooling costs
- Wet insulation
- Condensation on windows
- Insect problems
Why Do You Need a Crawl Space Encapsulation?
One of the most common reasons we get called out to a house is because mold was found in the crawl space. In our area, it is common for the ductwork and mechanicals to be located in the crawl space, and frequently inadequate airflow allows humidity and condensation to collect in the unconditioned, dark crawl space. This is the perfect condition for mold to grow.
Besides condensation from ductwork, water can find its way into a home through the foundation from hydrostatic pressure, flooding, or poor drainage around a home. And of course, there’s that plumbing leak that you never find out about because it’s in the crawl space.
While moisture and subsequent mold growth is one of our biggest concerns for your home, insects, rodents, and other animals can also find their way down into your crawl space. Termites especially love water in a crawl space, and while they’re down there, they’ll take the opportunity to snack on your floor joists. An encapsulation removes the moisture they crave.
A damp crawl space also provides the best conditions for dry rot or brown rot. Not precisely mold, dry rot or brown rot grows in the same conditions, and it can rot out floor joists as well. Replacing or repairing the floor joists is incredibly costly, and a crawl space encapsulation can help prevent this expensive home repair.
What Are the Signs of Crawl Space Problems?
You can find the signs of crawl space problems both below ground and above ground. Here are some of the common signs of crawl space problems:
- Condensation on the ductwork
- Corrosion on the ductwork
- Wet insulation
- Wooden floors swelling or “cupping”
- Bad odor throughout the house
- Water in the crawl space
- Rotting floors or joists
- Insect infestation, including ants or termites
What Are the Benefits of Encapsulation?
The plumbing and electrical holes in your floors help to transfer air all around your home, and up to 50% of the air on the first floor circulates through the crawl space at some point. Because the moisture level of the crawl space can affect the rest of the home, investing in crawl space encapsulation can improve more than just your crawl space.
If you’ve ever walked into an old home and immediately smelled that “old home” smell, you know that air quality is important. No amount of candles or air fresheners can cover up that musty smell. That’s why at BIOSWEEP® we focus on solving the problem at its source. The air quality in your home depends in large part on the health of your crawl space, and both small critters and mold in a crawl space can contribute to poor air quality in the home.
The amount of moisture that can rise up from the crawl space into the home can be gallons a day. Without a good vapor barrier, that amount of water transfer can cause problems in the rest of the home. Inadequate ventilation, insulation, or circulation can all contribute to moisture that originates in the crawl space becoming trapped in a home. If that moisture doesn’t get carried off through the roof, you can get issues with mold throughout the house.
How Can Crawl Space Encapsulation Improve a Home?
According to EnergyStar.gov, in addition to improving air quality, crawl space encapsulation can increase the energy efficiency of a home from 20-30%, as well as increase the durability of a home. HVAC systems last longer when they don’t have to work as hard to balance the disparity in temperatures between an unfinished crawl space and a home. Over time, the work we do for you can pay for itself as you enjoy lower utility bills.
As more homes turn to crawl space encapsulation to protect their homes’ long term integrity, homes that have a proper encapsulation could increase in value. Investing in encapsulation could improve the resale value of your home. It is also possible that home insurance premiums could be lower if your home has had this work done. You should check with your homeowner’s insurance policy for this additional incentive.
The BIOSWEEP® Crawl Space Encapsulation Process
One of the points that sets us apart from our competitors is that we address the root causes of mold. As moisture experts, we don’t believe that mold will simply die if a crawl space is encapsulated. We’ve seen the damage that unchecked mold can have on a home’s environment, so we always insist on removing mold first.
Our process for remediating mold in a crawl space:
- Using our extensive mold experience, we will go into the crawl space and diagnose your specific problem.
- We then develop a plan that will address the underlying source of your mold and moisture problems.
- Once we agree on a plan and price, we’ll get started improving the health of your home.
Not every crawl space needs to be entirely encapsulated, so we also have a “crawl space sealing” process that we offer our clients. This has been a popular process for many customers because it solves many of their problems with a less expensive solution. We know that cost can be a factor for many homeowners, and we want to help you find a solution that fits your home and your budget.
We want you to feel confident about the process of encapsulating your crawl space, and that’s why we warranty your crawl space up to a year without new water intrusions. We also provide a free re-inspection at 6 months or a year after the work has been completed.
For extended peace of mind, we also offer an annual inspection after the first year for $150/year.
Please contact BIOSWEEP® for your mold and moisture problems. For many years, we have happily served the needs of the East Central Alabama area.