A crawl space (also called a cellar) is an unfinished, unenclosed, usually lower level area within an apartment or house, somewhere between the first floor and the ground. The word ‘crawl’ was first used in 1855, referring to the drawers and boxes used by workers in the then-new elevator systems. Today, it refers to any unoccupied space that is below ground level. In architectural terms, a crawl space might also be called a shaft.
One of the most important characteristics of a crawl space, other than its typically uninviting and often damp conditions, is that it is below the earth’s surface. Because it is below the earth’s surface, it is at the same time above and exposed to rain, snow, and general soil erosion. When water seeps into a basement, for example, it expands to the point that it overgrows – and can start to cause structural problems for the foundation. By nature, all soils are acidic; therefore, anything that adds an acid base to a basement will increase its propensity to erode, causing subsidence.
Ground water, rain, ice, etc…Have the combined effect of gradually raising the level of soil along the base of the foundation. In a crawl space, this means that moisture from these natural processes can percolate into the structure through gaps and cracks in the concrete and stone walls. If the walls are not reinforced sufficiently to keep water out, then the water can percolate to the floor and throughout the house. In addition, standing water can cause structural damage to the foundation, leading to leaks and a range of other problems, including settling of the house and structural weakening. Therefore, waterproofing your crawl space basement really is a very serious matter.
A vapor barrier is the key to protecting crawl spaces from water vapor. It works by creating an airtight seal over the area of the space, both above and below the foundation. There are several types of vapor barriers available, and there are several different approaches to installing them. The most common method is to install a vertical line of vapor barrier – this is referred to as a trench drain system. Other approaches include installing channels along the base of the foundation or a sheeting membrane across the entire perimeter.
Moisture is another issue with crawl spaces. Not only does it increase the risk of mold growth, it also increases the risk of electrical and/or thermal problems. Indoor air contamination of a basement is a major health issue that often results in allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and other health problems. By sealing off the space from outside air, you can effectively prevent this contamination from occurring. In addition, by providing ventilation to a basement, you can eliminate the need for a vapor barrier. Ventilating a crawl space will eliminate the need for mold removal or repair as well as provide the necessary air circulation to eliminate moisture buildup.
If you’re looking to seal off crawl spaces, moisture, mold, and air, you need an HVAC professional. There are many benefits to having an HVAC contractor seal your crawl spaces, such as insulation, ventilation, and vapor barrier. This will help ensure that your home or business remains safe and secure. By sealing and insulating your crawl spaces, you’ll be reducing the amount of energy that is used in the home as well as lowering your heating and cooling costs. Your heating and cooling bills will be much lower if you seal and insulate your crawl spaces properly, instead of just hoping that they stay warm.