Humidity and water vapor are relatively harmless in wide, open areas. When in your crawl space, however, humidity can be detrimental to your home, your health, and your wallet. Unlike standing water, moisture in the air is difficult to remove. A special device is needed in order to keep the air in the crawl space as dry as possible.
A crawl space dehumidifier is an essential part of crawl space waterproofing. Without it, the humidity levels in your foundation are uncontrollable. Crawl space humidity may not seem like a big deal, but long-term moisture problems trigger the development of various foundation issues that will show up all around your home later on. If left unchecked, then these problems will be expensive to fix.
What Is a Crawl Space Dehumidifier?
A crawl space dehumidifier is a device that absorbs the moisture in the air. Crawl space dehumidifiers are specifically designed to take in a lot of moisture, especially since a crawl space is the most humid part of any home.
Crawl space dehumidifiers are different from standard household ones. They are more durable, are able to absorb more moisture, and can connect to your crawl space drainage system in order to remove the water from the space.
Why Your Crawl Space Needs a Dehumidifier
If you live in Charlotte, NC, then a dehumidifier is an essential part of foundation care. This is because Charlotte has a humid subtropical climate. This kind of climate has four distinct seasons. This means that spring and fall are characterized by pleasant, windy weather while summer and winter tend to be on the extreme side.
Summer, in particular, is a tough season for crawl spaces due to all the precipitation. During the summer, North Carolina turns into the fourth rainiest state in the country. Annual average precipitation is 43.60 inches, which is around 15 inches more than the national average. Not to mention, Charlotte is in the path of subtropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
Even though it does rain the most during the summer, rain falls year-round in Charlotte. This means that humidity is not just a seasonal guest in North Carolina crawl spaces. Only a dehumidifier would be able to purify the air and keep the crawl space fresh.
What Are the Advantages of a Dry Pro Dehumidifier?
Getting the right kind of dehumidifier for your crawl space is one of the most crucial aspects of foundation waterproofing. The wrong one will not only fail to protect your crawl space from moisture, but also it will cost you a lot in maintenance and repairs.
Dry Pro offers one of the best dehumidifiers on the market. What makes it the best are the special and convenient features it provides.
With the Dry Pro crawl space dehumidifier, there is no need to empty out the basin yourself. It can be connected to the sump pump drain so that the collected moisture gets drained away automatically.
Many crawl space dehumidifiers are loud and can be heard from your living space. This is because poorly-made fans tend to run loudly due to the cheap materials. The internal fan on our dehumidifier is insulated, which greatly reduces operational noise. Our dehumidifier is also able to absorb more water than standard crawl space dehumidifiers—up to 50 pints more!
You won’t have to worry about hiring the right technician for maintenance either, because with our annual maintenance service, we can guarantee a crawl space dehumidifier that will function like new year after year.
How a Dehumidifier Protects Your Home
Dehumidifiers play a big role in protecting your crawl space from moisture damage. They may not be the only waterproofing solution you need, but they are a crucial part of any foundation waterproofing system. Without a dehumidifier, moisture will freely take over your foundation and cause irreparable damage to your home’s structure.
Besides the structure of your home, the conditions of your crawl space have a direct influence on the air quality in your home. For health purposes, the air you breathe in should be as clean as possible. If the air in your crawl space isn’t clean, then the air in the rest of your home won’t be either. Install a dehumidifier and protect yourself from the following moisture-related problems:
As long as there is moisture in a crawl space, mold will grow. Mold is a microorganism that needs organic matter and moisture to survive. A humid crawl space is the perfect environment for many of these microorganisms to grow and thrive. Crawl space mold can impact your health, largely because of the stack effect.
The stack effect describes how warm air flows into your crawl space from the outside and then rises into your home. Warm air is lighter than cool air, so it easily infiltrates your living area as long as the crawl space air is warmer than the air in your home. Humid air is also warmer than cool air because moisture particles retain heat well. This means that as long as your crawl space stays humid, the warm air inside will rise up into your home.
The stack effect is a problem because it spreads mold spores throughout your home. Mold spores are immature mold cells that wait for the right conditions in order to grow. When we breathe in mold spores, they trigger allergies and cause irritation. When breathing in mold spores long-term, they can permanently damage your respiratory system.
Wood rot is a fungal infection that weakens wooden structures. As the fungus overtakes the wood, it either softens it up or breaks it down to the point where the wood no longer has any strength. This is a problem for the wooden floor joists in your crawl space, since floor joists are what support your floor and keep it even. Without strong floor joists, the floor becomes uneven and sags.
The fungal infections that cause wood rot vary, but they do exist in your crawl space as long as there is moisture. Certain types of wood rot are very persistent because they are able to take in moisture from afar. Such is the case with dry rot, which can survive harsh conditions as long as there is a bit of moisture nearby. This is why a dehumidifier is so important; without it, fungus like dry rot would persist in your foundation.
High Energy Bills
A crawl space dehumidifier can actually help lower your energy bills. Because of the stack effect, the warm, humid air in your crawl space rises into your home. This can interfere with your AC’s ability to keep your home cool. If the warm air is constantly flowing into your home, then you might lower your AC or keep it on longer, causing it to consume more energy.
The more intense the temperature outside is, the more intense the stack effect is. This is why, during the summer, your home feels so hot even though you have your AC on. If it feels like your AC isn’t doing its job, then you might want to hold off on calling a technician and call a foundation expert instead. By keeping the air in your crawl space dry, you can reduce the impact that the stack effect has on your home.
Besides raising your energy bills and spreading spores around your home, the stack effect can increase your indoor humidity levels as well. All of that water vapor in your crawl space will rise into your home and make the environment feel muggy.
You might try to freshen things up with various store-bought products, but the best way to go about it would be to invest in a crawl space dehumidifier. It’s the best way to control the humidity levels in your foundation.
Crawl spaces are filled with various unhygienic materials. Dirt, mold, dirty groundwater, and a lot of dust are common in crawl spaces that don’t have any waterproofing solutions. The combination of these materials in an enclosed, humid space creates foul odors in your foundation. Because of the stack effect, all these foul odors rise into your home along with the warm air from the crawl space.
When dealing with inexplicable strange smells wafting around your home, your first thought might be to get a can of air freshener. However, you won’t be able to truly get rid of the problem unless you eliminate the humidity in your crawl space. A dehumidifier does more than just remove the moisture in a crawl space: it also can purify the air and keep it completely clean. Not only will this eliminate the strange smells that arise in your home every now and then, but also it will improve the air quality around your living space.
Crawl Space Dehumidifier
If your energy bills are high, then you might be worried about getting a crawl space dehumidifier. While it is true that a dehumidifier uses energy to work, if you have the right dehumidifier, it can actually help you reduce your energy bills. Doing your research and choosing the right foundation experts that can provide you with the best dehumidifier is what will lead you to a more energy efficient home.
How a Dehumidifier Works
Dehumidifiers absorb moisture via fans and then guide the humid air to its coils. The coils are significantly cooler than the warm air, and the contrast between temperatures creates a dew point in which the moisture in the air turns into condensation. The water droplets created from the condensation are then collected and drained out.
Dehumidifiers don’t run constantly. They go through cycles in which they absorb the air, so you won’t have to worry about a device in your crawl space constantly taking up energy. There are some dehumidifiers that do require a lot of energy consumption to run, but these tend to be ones that are poorly made. If you have the right dehumidifier, then you won’t have to worry about your energy bills.
The dehumidifier we swear by at Dry Pro is one of the most energy efficient dehumidifiers on the market. It meets and exceeds the ENERGY STAR® efficiency requirements. It also cycles 90% less than conventional dehumidifiers despite absorbing more water on a daily basis.
Our dehumidifier can help lower your energy bills because it purifies and cools down the air in your crawl space. By keeping things in your foundation cool, the air that rises into your home isn’t warm enough to fight against the AC’s air. With a dehumidifier in place, you might find yourself using your AC less and even keep it running at a higher temperature, effectively lowering the energy consumption around your home.
Humidity in a crawl space is all about balance. Too much humidity, and mold and insects will run rampant. Too little humidity, however, and you could suffer from some serious health problems.
Why Extremely Dry Air Is Bad
Extremely dry air is just as bad as humid air. Dry air can cause many of the same health problems as mold spores. Dry air can cause bronchitis, nosebleeds, and trigger eczema flare-ups. Because of how cold it can get in Charlotte, many homeowners suffer these health problems during the winter since the dry air.
You definitely don’t want your crawl space air to be too dry. Certain kinds of bacteria actually thrive in dry environments, so too far on the other end of the spectrum will actually cause other kinds of problems. Because the conditions of your crawl space have such a huge impact on your home, it’s important to be conscious of the humidity levels in your crawl space to keep you home safe.
Setting The Humidity Levels
It’s important that you keep the humidity levels in your home between 30 and 60%. Any lower, and the crawl space air will be way too dry. Any higher than that and you will have moisture problems. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your humidity levels at around 55%. You might have to change the settings on your crawl space dehumidifier depending on the season, since the humidity levels rise and fall throughout the year.
If you really want to make sure that the humidity levels in your crawl space are right, then you can always speak to our experts as they install the dehumidifier. They will be able to explain how the unit is set up, how it works, and how you can adjust the settings. You also can get an annual maintenance checkup to make sure that your humidity levels are adequate.
A dehumidifier is a crucial part of any waterproofing system, especially in Charlotte. However, it is only a part of what is a network of waterproofing devices and solutions that keep your foundation dry and healthy.
Why a Dehumidifier Isn’t Enough
Dehumidifiers absorb the moisture in the air, but they are not drainage systems. They are unable to handle flooding and can do nothing about the groundwater that surrounds your foundation. Humidity in the air isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when you have a crawl space, so handling drainage issues is another thing to consider if you want your crawl space to be structurally sound.
Charlotte’s humid subtropical climate means that summers are rainy and humid. Without the right waterproofing solutions in place, your crawl space will flood. A crawl space with standing water will always have moisture, insect, and mold problems, even with a dehumidifier, which is why other solutions need to be implemented.
Other Waterproofing Solutions
The other waterproofing solutions you may need for your crawl space are a sump pump, an interior drainage system, and a vapor barrier. An interior drainage system will handle the groundwater and any moisture that permeates through the concrete walls. The drain can be connected to the sump pump so that all the water goes out the same way. The sump pump will collect any water that gets inside the crawl space. It converts electricity into hydraulic energy, so it’s able to reliably drain out all the water.
A vapor barrier is a sheet of thick plastic that is used to cover the walls, floor, and support columns of the crawl space. By encapsulating the crawl space, you prevent water from flowing in and out. Not only that, but vapor barriers are impermeable, so by applying them to the walls and floor, water vapor is stopped from entering the foundation and raising the humidity levels.
How Moisture Gets Inside a Crawl Space
Crawl spaces are usually the most humid part of any home. This is because there are many ways in which water and humidity can enter a crawl space, such as:
Vents and Openings
Crawl spaces are built with vents because it was once believed that it would help with air circulation in a foundation. However, crawl spaces are surrounded by wet soil, so no amount of airflow from a vent can alleviate the humidity. A crawl space vent only makes things worse.
Humid summer air and rainwater enter the crawl space through the vent. They also can enter through any holes and openings that may have been a result of incomplete construction or some sort of foundation damage.
While it is true that sealing the crawl space with a vent cover can help with the humidity, a dehumidifier is still needed to keep the crawl space dry. The vent cover can stop moisture from entering the foundation from that one avenue, but it can’t do anything about the existing humidity in the crawl space. Also, it cannot stop water vapor from entering through other parts of the foundation.
Concrete walls may seem solid, but if you look closely, they are very porous. It’s because of this porosity that water vapor is able to seep through the walls of the crawl space and increase the humidity levels in your foundation.
If you have a dirt crawl space, then moisture is able to rise into the foundation through the soil. Like most of the Piedmont region, Charlotte is covered in Cecil soil, the official soil of the state. Cecil contains a lot of clay in its subsoil. Clay allows the soil to retain water incredibly well, meaning that the soil around your foundation is constantly saturated with water.
Depending on how far down the water table under your crawl space is, a substantial amount of moisture is regularly rising into your foundation. Without a dehumidifier, the humidity levels in your crawl space will always stay high.
Struggling with a Humid Crawl Space? Call Dry Pro!
Since 1999, Dry Pro has been the leading experts in foundation waterproofing and repairs in Charlotte, NC. With thousands of homes repaired in the decades we’ve been in business, we’ve developed a reputation for being efficient and reliable.
Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and repair estimate. We have flexible financing options and nationally-backed warranties. Your crawl space is always in safe hands when you call on Dry Pro for the job!