We don’t get caught up in the mold hysteria. We get to the source of the problem.
We view the crawlspace as the home’s first floor. Since mold requires dead organic material to survive, we cut off its food source – wet wood. Most homes built on crawlspace foundations in South Carolina suffer from poor moisture management, which poses health risks to building inhabitants since forty to sixty percent of the air one breathes is generated from a crawlspace. Some of the common symptoms of a crawlspace moisture problem are:
- Mold or moisture damage in the crawlspace or living area
- Musty odors in the living area
- Condensation (“sweating”) on air conditioning ductwork or equipment
- Condensation on insulation, water pipes, or truss plates in the crawlspace
- Buckled hardwood floors
- Moldy carpeting
- High humidity in the living area
- Insect infestations
- Rot in wooden framing members
These symptoms are most often noticed in the humid spring and summer seasons but can occur at any time of the year. Often, the heating and air conditioning contractor is the first person the residents call to deal with the problem. Typically, the problem is not due to a failure of the air conditioning system; it results from poor moisture control in the crawlspace.
For many decades, building codes and conventional wisdom have prescribed ventilation with outside air as the primary method of moisture control in crawlspaces. However, in the humid Southeast, ventilation with outside air only makes moisture problems worse.
Recent research indicates that a new type of crawlspace system, with no vents to the outside, can provide greatly improved moisture control and significant energy savings when properly installed.
In fact, the energy loss is so substantial in a home with a vented dirt crawlspace that you might as well ignore all other ways to save energy until you fix the crawlspace problem. Caulking around a window or weather-stripping a door would be like patching a tiny hole in a rowboat and ignoring the foot-wide hole on the other side.