You home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) may not be invisible to the human eye, but it’s something that affects you and your family on a daily basis. When the air in your home contains pollutants like dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria, you’re more likely to experience allergy and asthma like symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, watery eyes, and skin irritation.
Many homeowners chalk poor indoor air quality up to things like excess dust and incoming pollen from the outdoors, but the truth is that your IAQ woes could stem from inside your own home. Here in South Central PA, one of the leading causes of poor IAQ is an unhealthy crawlspace.
Crawlspaces, Comfort & IAQ: What You Should Know
Many crawlspaces in Pennsylvania are unsealed, allowing outside air, humidity, and contaminants to travel freely in and out. This can lead to all kinds of undesirable conditions that affect your indoor air quality, comfort, and more.
Things become especially problematic when you consider the stack effect, where hot air naturally rises in the home and outside air seeps in at lower areas to take its place. Because of this stack effect, any moisture and contaminants from your crawlspace are going to travel throughout your entire home. In addition, you can expect cold outside air to seep in through air leaks in the crawlspace all winter, undermining your indoor comfort.
Here are just a few unwanted substances that can travel from your crawlspace into your living space:
Due to Pennsylvania’s humid climate, excess moisture has a tendency to accumulate in crawlspaces. This leads to musty odors and mold growth, plus structural issues such as rotting wood and crumbling drywall — not just in the crawlspace but throughout the home.
Dust, mold, pollen, and other allergens are known to accumulate in crawlspaces, and that means they can seep into your home, harming your indoor air quality.
Crawlspaces are a favorite nesting site for insects and critters, which means you may soon find unwanted pests from the crawlspace elsewhere in your home.
Cold floors in the winter? That’s likely because the crawlspace is poorly sealed and under-insulated. Cold floors mean not only decreased comfort but also lower energy efficiency and higher heating costs.
The Solution: Seal Your Crawlspace
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution for crawlspaces that invite excess humidity, contaminants, and pests into the home: crawlspace encapsulation.
Crawlspace encapsulation is the process of insulating the crawlspace and sealing it against the outside elements. The encapsulation process starts with the installation of an ultra thick vapor barrier to keep out moisture, radon, pests, and more. This vapor barrier is then sealed at all seams and edges using high performance spray foam insulation. Then, your home performance expert will apply spray foam to the wood framing just above the foundation for even greater protection against the outside elements.
The result? A clean and dry crawlspace that supports your home’s efficiency, IAQ, and comfort.