For many decades, building codes and conventional wisdom have prescribed ventilation with outside air as the primary method of moisture control in crawl spaces. In the humid Southeast, however, ventilation with outside air only makes moisture problems worse. Recent research by Advanced Energy and others indicates that a new type of sealed crawl space system, with NO vents to the outside, and appropriate conditioning measures can provide greatly improved moisture control and significant energy savings when properly installed.
There are lots of differing opinions on the pros and cons of sealed crawl spaces. Don’t take our word for it, read the extensive research conducted by Advanced Energy in Raleigh, NC http://www.crawlspaces.org/
Contact Conservation Pros Today For A Free Crawlspace Assessment
How We Can Help
Conservation Pros will conduct a free inspection of your crawlspace. In this inspection we will diagnose your moisture issues and determine what measures need to be taken to remove moisture and mold. Here are the steps to encapsulating the right way.
Step 1: Mold Remediation & Prevention
If you have mold growth we may recommend removing mold from joists and floors and treat the basement with the mold prevention agent Concrobium. Concrobium is a breakthrough technology that cleans and prevents mold without using any harmful chemicals. We may also recommend air sealing the floors above the crawlspace to prevent air infiltration between crawlspace and interior, this will keep you from spending money on conditioning your crawlspace and ensure you are not breathing crawlspace air.
Step 2: Air Sealing
Unhealthy crawlspace air enters the home through electrical, plumbing, and HVAC penetrations. It is recommended to air seal all of these penetrations to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and reduce humidity in the crawlspace. This is usually done using a professional grade expanding foam, however, we may recommend installing additional air barriers to the floor joists. We also air seal the crawlspace wall vents, penetrations, and the crawlspace entry.
Step 3: Installing Reinforced Plastic Membrane
The membrane is the vapor barrier in the crawlspace, that prevent moisture from entering the crawlspace from the ground and walls. We cover the whole floor and wall area, leaving a small view strip to allow for termite inspections. Encapsulation material is installed on all walls using a double air sealing method on all seams. At the joint of two encapsulation materials is a heavy duty tar tape air seal, as well as heavy duty encapsulation tape to create a second air seal. At any place where encapsulation material meets another material such as cinderblock or plumbing lines, an air seal is made using a thick layer of duct mastic. We have found mastic to be the only way to ensure a rugged air tight seal between the encapsulation membrane and other materials. To ensure that the material is strongly supported against walls and supports we use special concrete nails designed to hold encapsulation materials to concrete for a lifetime, and seal the holes with tape or mastic.
Step 4: Installing A Dehumidifier And Drain To Outdoors
The final step is to install the necessary methods of controlling the environment of the basement. A dehumidifier will be installed to remove the moisture that existed in the wood of your crawlspace, and a drain line will be installed for the dehumidifier to direct the moisture outdoors. In some cases, a sump pump will be installed to remove groundwater and runoff in the crawlspace. In many cases you will simply need to use a dehumidifier to condition the crawlspace. Encapsulation will enable the occupant to condition the crawlspace with a dehumidifier, without having to run the dehumidifier 24/7.
It is most important to ensure that we do the right thing for your crawlspace, and do not take measures to fix moisture issues that are not at all needed in your home. Every home has different conditions and needs a custom solution. We develop every solution custom to ensure the best fit for every customer.
As much as 60% of the air you breathe in your home comes from your crawl space, Contact Conservation Pros today to ensure that the air in your crawl is as clean and healthy as possible with a shiny new sealed crawl space. Your other contractors will love us for it!