Monday, June 27, 2022

Indoor air quality – It starts below your feet [Free Read]

The Drying Co./ThermalTec is a Home Performance Company specializing in Attics, Basements, and Crawl Spaces. They help homeowners make their homes more comfortable, durable, energy efficient, and healthy.

One key concern they have identified is the air quality in the home. Indoor air quality is greatly affected by what’s going on underneath your floors. The crawl space and basement are huge contributors to indoor allergens, high energy bills, and discomfort in your home, and it begins at the home’s construction.

In traditional home construction, builders thought installing vents in the crawl space and leaving them open in the summer would allow air to move through the space, and keep it dry, and closing them in the winter, would keep floors warms. This isn’t the case.

Instead, in the summer, open vents allow hot humid air to enter your crawl space which is typically cooler than outside. As the warm air cools down, it releases its moisture and condensation occurs. Cinderblock walls, ductwork, insulation and joists, collect moisture and become saturated. As the insulation becomes saturated it holds moisture against the joists and with added weight, begins to fall away. Since fiberglass insulation is only effective in an airtight cavity, and certainly not effective when it isn’t directly against the surface it is insulating (your floors), it is ineffective, and your feet are freezing in the winter.

Crawl space mold

The paper backing of fiberglass and the wood joists are the perfect surfaces for mold to grow. Mold only needs three things to grow, and your vented crawlspace is the ideal environment.
1. Organic Material
2. High relative humidity (70%)
3. Warm temperatures

Not only is the crawl space the perfect environment for mold to grow, but fungus, rot, and critters too! Your damp, dirt crawl space creates a haven for pests who like cool, dark, damp spaces and the spiders that like to eat them. Moisture draws in termites, and Snakes and Rodents like to live, die, and decompose in there too.

The stack effect

So why should you worry about this? Approximately 40-50% of the air you breathe in your home comes from your crawl space. This occurs through a process called the stack effect. Air you pay to heat and cool escapes out of the upper levels of your home, typically the attic, and is drawn back in through the lower levels, your crawl space or basement. This cycle is always occurring, your heating and cooling system is always trying to keep up, and you can hear every time it cuts on and off, all day long. It’s costing you money every minute you lose conditioned air and take on unconditioned air in the fight to make your home comfortable. In the winter, when mold goes dormant and dries it can become airborne and is pulled up into the air in your home. And if your leaky ducts are down there, you are likely just adding to the problem.

This means that air is being pulled up into your living space from your crawl space. Air from a space riddled with mold/mildew, fungus, moisture, and critters. You might notice that your home is damp, there is a musty odor, or windows or doors are sticking. All these things are signs that something is going on down there.

The air pulled in from the crawl space also creates an ideal environment for Dust Mites to live in your home. Dust Mite Droppings are the number one allergen individuals with asthma and allergies react to. They only need 50% relative humidity to live.

Encapsulating the crawl space controls the amount of air carrying moisture that can enter the space and dries the crawl space. A controlled, sealed, crawl space environment means less mold mildew odors and allergens upstairs, and a healthier space for you. You can also reduce your energy bills, protect your home’s joists from wood rot, protect hardwood floors from warping and cupping, and live more comfortably.

The Drying Co./ThermalTec has been helping homeowners make their homes healthier, more comfortable, durable, and energy efficient since 2002. They have helped tens of thousands of customers in the Williamsburg and Greater Richmond area improve the performance of their home.

Click here for more information on how The Drying Co. can help you. You can also call 757-204-5961 to schedule a free inspection and find out what’s going on in your crawl space.

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