Think of your crawl space as the ‘gut’ of your household. Just like our bodies ‘gut’ health is pivotal in maintaining a healthy mind and body, so is the maintenance of a homes crawl space pivotal in maintaining a healthy and safe household. We discuss why homes have a crawl space in another post. Here are 5 reasons why you should keep your crawl space clean.
Nobody likes to hear the word mold. Mold is hazardous to our health if left untreated. People with allergies have an even greater sensitivity to mold making them more susceptible to health problems. When people think of mold they often think of black mold, but did you know that not all mold that is black in color is actually ‘black’ mold and that certain types of mold that seem harmless in appearance are some of the most hazardous? Mold grows where there is moisture and dead matter. Because of this, crawl spaces offer the perfect breeding grounds for mold to grow because moisture, along with dead organic matter, is common in these spaces. The average homeowner today, lives in a home with an open vented crawl space. This means they have vents that lead in and out of the crawl space from the foundation of their home. This design was originally implemented with the intention of drawing fresh, clean air in to circulate throughout the belly of a home. Though the idea was that this freshly circulated air would help reduce moisture, it actually provided a way for it. When the outside air of your home is warm and circulates with the air underneath your home, which is naturally cooler, condensation happens. This condensation rests on piping, wood surfaces and materials that lie within the crawl space providing the breeding ground necessary for mold to grow. Along with dead organic matter like insects, mold has everything it needs to spread and cause a problem. Cleaning and maintaining your crawl space for this reason alone is well worth it!
We talked about moisture and how it can lead to mold issues but that isn’t the only thing it can lead to. Moisture can sit long before it’s detected in a crawl space. Because people don’t often go down into their crawl spaces, water can sit stagnant for lengthy periods of time. This is dangerous as water eats away at wood beams that are the foundational support to your home. Once foundational framework is weakened, major damage can ensue. Outside of stagnant water and moisture causing structural damage, it also invites unwanted guests. Termites are at the top of the list for insects that love to munch on deteriorating wood. These, along with other insects, are attracted to rotting wood because not only do they have a higher water content for them to drink from, they can also easily burrow within the decay and lay eggs. Plus, once insects like termites have infiltrated the wood structure of your home, major damage has already been done. Learn more about crawl space repair and damage.
Insulation is your homes defense against cold and hot weather. In the case of a crawl space, insulation is installed underneath your flooring, (the roofing of your crawl space) to keep your floors from losing heat during the colder months and retain cooler temperatures during the hotter months. If your starting to notice that your floors seem to be cooler than normal and you’ve done everything to make sure you don’t have furnace issues, then insulation may have fallen down from the roofing of your crawl space. This can happen if your crawl space has become home to rodents or other wild animals that will use the insulation for nesting or are simply chewing through it. Once they have inhabited your crawl space, they’re going to look for a place to keep warm and dry as well as nesting materials for their future young. You may even start to notice abnormal smells as rodents and animals living within your insulation will urinate and defecate amidst the material. With insulation being lived in, it will eventually deteriorate and fall down. As with water, fallen insulation isn’t something your likely to notice unless you peer down into your crawl space every so often, making routine checks to keep your crawl space clean a must in order to avoid these issues.
Infestations are a homeowners worst nightmare! It’s hard enough knowing that insects come and go from our comfy abode but knowing that pesky critters can take residence as well can be too much to handle. By the time one takes notice it seems it’s too late. Taking precautions to prevent this from happening is worth the comfort of our home. Rats and mice can squeeze into very small spaces so it’s important that homes are routinely surveyed for small cracks and entry points around the exterior of the home. Vents can wear over time and if the animal wants inside they will do everything they can to get in there. Routine checks around the perimeter will allow you to see if your home has access points that animals can get through. Checking your crawl space allows you to see if you already have activity and may allow you to see entry points from another perspective. It doesn’t take long for rodents to populate and small animals like raccoons and possums can be very territorial once they’ve had their young. Being one step ahead is an advantage to the homeowner and one that should be taken.
Its known that 40-60% of the air you breathe inside your home is circulated air from your crawl space, so you can imagine the importance of making sure your crawl space is clean. Breathing in bad air can have a variety of negative effects on those living within the home, especially if any of those people suffer from allergies. You can imagine that if your crawl space is left unchecked, the possibility of mold spores, bacteria from stagnant water or animal feces and even fecal matter left from dust mites can build up. All these particles can end up in the air you breathe, so keeping it clean through routine checks is worth the time and effort. Laying down a vapor barrier is also worth looking into as this protects the crawl space from moisture coming in; acting as a seal from your crawl space to your home. Keeping your crawl space clean will dramatically affect the quality of air in your home and keep you breathing clean air! Now that you can see the benefits of keeping your crawl space clean it’s going to take the work necessary to do so. Hiring a professional may be the very thing you need to get you started. If your in need of a crawl space check and/or cleaning call Get Smart Rat Solutions to get the job done!