Simply putting vapor barrier down is not enough to solve all the issues that will ever arise in your crawl space. Maintenance of the vapor barrier and of the crawl space in general is the other important side of the equation, and it is often overlooked. Without putting any effort into maintaining your crawl space, you’re simply postponing the problem. The problems may not come immediately, but they will still come. Regular maintenance is low cost, and prevents expensive problems in the
Let’s talk about a few of the problems that could happen if you neglect your crawl space.
If the seal of your old vapor barrier is compromised, it lets large amounts of water vapor to enter your crawl space from the earth under your home. If this condition continues over a long period of time, the materials in your crawl space will start to absorb moisture. Mold forms when mold spores are carried into your crawl space and land on a moist piece of wood or insulation. Once mold has taken hold, it can be a very expensive problem. Why not give yourself peace of mind by taking measures to ensure that mold cannot grow in the first place?
With holes in your vapor barrier, it can be easy for small creatures such as ants, termites, mice, moles, and crickets to enter your crawl space. Of course, larger creatures with claws and teeth are capable of ripping or tearing up through the vapor barrier. While it is still a major problem, having an intact vapor barrier will turn most of them away.
However, vapor barrier is only one line of defense. It’s counterproductive if your crawl space vents are wide open providing entry points for all types of creatures. Once creatures check into a warm crawl space, they often don’t check out. They prefer the shelter of the crawl space to the scary world outside. Crawl space creatures can cause a lot of damage. Insulation under your floor joists often becomes used as warm and fluffy nesting material for raising rats and mice. You can avoid most of these things by having your crawl space encapsulated properly.
While not directly a problem related to vapor barrier itself, wasted energy is nonetheless a significant problem that can happen in any crawl space that is not encapsulated properly.
Did you know that on average about 25% of your conditioned air is lost in the crawl space through gaps in the duct system? If your AC costs are $100 one month, that means that $25 of the $100 is from wasted air. This means that not only are you losing 25% of the air from your home, but that air gets replaced by air from your crawl space, which is often dirty and dusty.
To remedy this and start saving your money and improving your indoor air quality, we once again fully encapsulated your crawl space.
Simply having vapor barrier is not a final solution. You should always consider encapsulating. Encapsulating seals the crawl space and drastically reduces the number of pests that are able to enter.
Hopefully this article has convinced you to at least stick your head into your crawl space and take a look at the condition of your vapor barrier. If you’re too afraid to stick your head in – give us a call!