Educate Yourself About Crawl Spaces Middle Tennessee
Educate Yourself About Crawl Spaces Middle Tennessee! Let’s begin with something everyone knows…Your home costs money to operate – to heat and cool, and to maintain. 85% of the homes in Middle Tennessee and South Central Kentucky are built on crawl spaces. A vented, dirt crawl space raises your heating and cooling cost 15% to 25% every month, and makes it very likely you’ll have a big expense for mold removal and/or rotted wood replacement. And if it’s worth owning a home with a dirt crawl space, it is certainly worth making sure it stays dry and protected.
The Problem: A Dirt Crawl Space
Crawl Space moisture comes from two sources; the ground and the outdoor air. The problem is set in motion from moisture inside of a building – particularly because a building is made from organic materials, filled with objects made from organic materials, and lived in by people. Exposed earth supplies a great deal of water vapor into the crawl space air. The earth is soggy, and as that soggy soil dries into the house, the water vapor moves higher into the house. This is known as the “stack effect.” In most climates where there are dirt crawl spaces, you can never dehydrate the earth, and this invisible stream of water vapor from the exposed earth in a crawl space is permanent.
What are some other ways water gets into a house or crawl space? Educate Yourself About Crawl Spaces Middle Tennessee! Groundwater seeps, leaks and even rushes into many crawl spaces. It enters under the footing, between the footing and the walls, through block walls, and through cracks in poured walls. After it seeps in, it just lays there in puddles, slowly evaporating upward into the house (stack effect). Block walls are porous and have lots of defective mortar joints in them. They draw water from the ground, making a saturated surface on the inside of the crawl space walls to evaporate into the house. Soggy air from the ground passes right through the block walls.
The Problem: New Construction
Crawl spaces often have poor or non-existent exterior footing drains and waterproof exterior wall coatings. In Tennessee, and other places, builders fit their dirt crawl spaces with a drain inside the crawl space in a low spot – obviously knowing and planning on the crawl spaces leaking, and making a way for the water to flow out. This is called a positive drain and does not help the water vapor issue one bit. In fact, water does very little space to ruin a home with a dirt crawl space. The water seldom (if ever) touches any of the parts of a house that get ruined, like floor joists and sill plates. It’s the water vapor, also called relative humidity, that kills the house.
Educate Yourself About Crawl Spaces Middle Tennessee! Understanding where high relative humidity comes from and how to control it, is what almost everyone has missed; water from the air. Air is a very efficient way to move water. Air, including humid air, moves easily in and out of spaces. It’s all around us and moves in vast quantities through the largest and smallest of paces. Air brings its moisture content with it wherever it goes. When air is heated or cooled, its relative humidity changes. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. The relative humidity of air goes down by 2.2% for every degree we heat it and up by 2.2% for every degree we cool it. Crawl spaces are naturally cool because the earth is around 55 degrees year round (ground surface temperatures vary based on season and geography). So when we bring warm humid air into a crawl space, the air is cooled, and the relative humidity goes up. High relative humidity causes rot, mold, energy loss, and attracts pests. So here’s the problem. Many years ago when some guys were writing the building code, they rationalized that since we have a lot of moisture from the ground in our dirt crawl spaces, we need to do something about it. They figured that if they vented a crawl space, the moisture would flow out through the vents. Maybe it was too obvious. Maybe they didn’t notice how it rains twice a week or so, and didn’t stop to think about what causes it to rain. Maybe it didn’t occur to the authors of the building code that when it was a damp day, that they’d be venting the crawl space with cold air. And when it was a hot day, they’d be venting the crawl space with hot air. And they certainly didn’t know about or consider that air flows upward in a house (stack effect).
The TFS Solution: Encapsulate It, Dehumidify It and Pump It