Crawl spaces are not everyone’s favorite space to investigate. They are difficult to access and you might not know what to look for during an inspection. Here are four signs that you should consider investigating your crawl space and what you should look for during the inspection.
High Heating or Cooling Bills
Crawl spaces aren’t simply areas full or wires or HVAC tubes. They are also spaces that can suck heat out of your home or, during the summer months, allow hot air to seep inside. These spaces need to be insulated. Insulation should be checked periodically for damage, drafts or poor sealants. Investigate in the early fall and spring to ensure that your home won’t lose energy during high-use months.
Odd odors are typically caused by decay. This could be pest decay, wood or insulation decay or even insect damage. If you notice an odd smell and you are certain that it isn’t natural gas, then check your crawl space. Try to isolate the area where the odor is strongest and search for the cause. If you are lucky, the odor might be caused by animal or pest droppings. If this is the case, then you will have to contact an exterminator and seal any openings that have allowed pests to enter your home.
High Humidity, Marks on Walls and Ceilings
If you periodically check your crawlspaces then mold should not be an issue. However, if you have not checked your crawlspaces and you have noticed discoloration along walls or ceilings, then it is possible that moisture and mold have found a home in your walls’ interiors.
Another indicator of trapped moisture occurs when your home has higher humidity levels than normal. This can indicate a problem with your HVAC system or a problem with water vapor retarders. If you’ve waited too long then it is possible that damage can be quite severe.
Make a habit of checking your crawl spaces for water leaks and pooling at least twice a year and after any severe storms or thaws. If you have yet to install water vapor retarders along your crawlspaces, then you might want to consider installing them before the next downpour.
Shared Walls and Spaces
If you live in a condo, a duplex or other home with shared walls then investigating your crawl space is a must. Not only can neighbor’s odors penetrate your living room, but shared crawlspaces can make your home less physically secure. Mapp out your crawlspaces’ and entry and exit points to determine if you are heating your neighbor’s living room or if they have access to other areas of your home.
It’s easy to forget that crawlspaces exist throughout your home. Keep maintenance records and plan on inspecting your crawlspaces twice a year. If you do, then you won’t need to depend on warning signs at all.