The source of odors in your home is very hard to identify, musty smells inside the home may be caused by moisture in the crawl space or may be unrelated. Many people notice these odors when their home has been closed up for an extended period like returning from vacation or after periods of heavy rainfall. Sometimes these odors are simply a seasonal or passing issue and may simply go away. Sometimes they may be related to a crawl space issue and can be solved by controlling moisture and other factors in the crawl space.
For most homes we do not initially recommend an exhaust fan, it is added expense that may be unnecessary. In a very small percentage of homes we find that an exhaust fan is required after installation due to pervasive odors reaching into the home but these cases are very rare and we address them when they occur rather than starting with an item that may not be necessary.
Odors are one of the hardest things to predict or identify causes for. In a small percentage (less than 5%) of homes, we encounter a very strong smell (often described as cat urine) after installation of a vapor barrier. It is impossible to predict which homes this may affect but the smell is caused by microbes and that live in the soil. When the crawlspace is sealed these microbes die and begin to decay under the vapor barrier and in some homes this odor can enter the crawl space. In some cases this odor may be temporary but in others it can be more persistent. The solution is to install a exhaust fan under the vapor barrier to create a negative pressure and pull these odors outside of the home.
Odd smells are one of the most challenging things we encounter in this business. Customers often report a wide range of smells described as; musty, rotting, urine, antique smelling to just plain funky. Oftentimes these smells are nearly impossible to trace and causes may not be not immediately apparent as conditions in your home and crawl space frequently change.
Working to mitigate moisture in your crawl space can help decrease odors stemming from organic materials or mold but these may not be the causes of specific smells.
Your dehumidifier requires a dedicated GCFI protected outlet for proper installation. Many homes have a GCFI outlet already installed in the crawl space and we may be able to use the existing outlet.
If there is no outlet we can have one installed (or have an existing outlet converted to GCFI) by a licensed electrical contractor as part of our quote.
Anytime we use an existing outlet there is a chance that there is not enough available current for the requirements of your dehumidifier. In these cases, your dehumidifier may cause the GCFI to "trip" and you may need to have a dedicated outlet installed after our installation.
Our best practices are that the old vapor barrier is left in place and the new one is placed over it. The old barrier even if it does not cover the entire crawl space serves to provide some additional moisture blocking and also help protect your new vapor barrier from any rocks or debris on your crawl space floor. Additionally an old barrier helps keep the new one from getting dirty during installation.
If you prefer we can remove the old vapor barrier for an additional cost.
Triangle Crawl Space Solutions is happy to provide a free assessment for homeowners and make recommendations about solving any moisture issues.
If a more formal written report is requested for real estate transaction purposes we can provide one for a small fee.
Your pest inspector or HVAC provider may offer to install a vapor barrier, just be cautious of what you are getting. These companies do not specialize in crawl spaces and may not correctly identify moisture issues or potential damage. Depending on your specific needs a vapor barrier may only be a first step in solving your moisture problems.
Triangle Crawl Space Solutions focuses solely on solving moisture issues and correctly protecting your home. Other companies offer these services as an add-on.
Additionally Triangle Crawl Space Solutions is fully insured and dedicated to paying our employees a Living Wage. Crawl spaces are what we do and we take pride in doing a through assessment for all of our customers and answering any questions or concerns.
Common molds are present in almost every crawl space. Minor spots of mold on floor joists may not be an issue but it is important to fully inspect your crawl space for hidden areas of more extensive mold (Which can develop into dry-rot), standing water, hidden plumbing leaks or other problems under your home.
A full inspection of your crawl space is the best way to determine if your have any moisture problems. Many issues may not be visible from a quick peek inside your crawl space door.
This depends on whether the insulation has become wet or moldy. If the insulation is dry it can often be rehung or a damaged portion can be replaced. If your insulation is wet, moldy or a low R-value, it should be replaced. Current NC code specifies R19 insulation. If your home is older it may have R11 between floor joists and we recommend upgrading to R19 for maximum efficiency.
We encourage homeowners to give us a call for a free assessment BEFORE they schedule any home inspections, etc.
It is better to know and identify any moisture issues before they become a red flag to potential buyers. Standing water or excessive mold in your crawl space send up an immediate red flag and fallen or hanging insulation is often listed on a home inspection report.
Triangle Crawl Space Solutions can assess your crawl space and make recommendations to have your crawl space in tip-top condition before these issues become a problem for potential buyers.
Vapor barriers should be at least 6mm in thickness to effectively cover the area and create a moisture barrier. Triangle Crawl Space Solutions uses both a 6mm material for simple vapor barrier installation and a thicker more durable 12mm vapor barrier material depending on the budget and needs of the home.
More common that an issue with the thickness of the vapor barrier is making sure that the vapor barrier is properly installed and is covering the entire area under your home. If the vapor barrier doesn't extend all the way to foundation walls or has gaps in the coverage then moisture simply moves around the barrier and impacts the uncovered area.
One of the concerns about installing a sealed vapor barrier or encapsulating a crawl space is what do do to allow access for termite and other pest inspections or treatments. Pest control companies need to be able to both inspect and treat areas under your home so must have clear access to areas where floor joists and wooden sill boards meet the concrete or block structures.
This is the reason that all of our vapor barriers and foamboard insulation panels always stop at least three inches from any wooden structure. This allows pest companies to both inspect and treat any possible problems. In general encapsulating or sealing your crawl space reduces the number of pests (both insect and rodents) under your home by removing moisture and eliminating habitat.
Mold remediation is recommended when your home is showing signs of mold causing potential dry rot to the structure of your home or if it is causing health and/or indoor air quality issues that are impacting your family or health.
Our technicians can evaluate any mold under your home and make recommendations that will determine if you need actual remediation procedures or if you simply need to control any moisture underneath the home.
Mold requires a damp or wet environment to grow so controlling moisture will naturally reduce mold in your crawl space. Depending on the severity of mold under your home it may be simply a matter of stopping the moisture that allows mold to continue to grow and develop.
If there is extensive mold under your home or it has begun to dry rot the wood structures then remediation may be required.
Absolutely! Standing water creates the highest risk conditions for a home to develop mold, dry rot or other issues and time is often of the essence. Call us for a free estimate and one of our Certified Water Restoration technicians will evaluate and provide options to eliminate standing water in your crawl space.
Solutions may include:
- Installation or replacement of a vapor barrier
- Installing a dehumidifier to control moisture
- Trenching moisture away and installing a sump pump
- Encapsulating or sealing the crawl space
- Landscaping or other moisture control methods on the exterior of the home
- Waterproofing or repairing foundations and access doors