Crawl space moisture problems present 4 types of issues:
Like all other living organisms, pests need and are drawn to water. The more moisture you have in your crawl space, the higher the likelihood pests will make themselves at home. Termite treatments are usually placed in the ground because that’s where termites come from. However, if the moisture content in the wood your home is built with exceeds 20%, termites can thrive in spite of a treatment, because they can obtain enough moisture from the wood that they don’t have to retreat to the soil and can avoid the treatment. Most termite service agreements become null and void if moisture conditions are not corrected.
It is not unusual for homes in our area to have a moisture level in the crawl space in excess of 20% or much higher. This degree of dampness encourages growth of mold, fungus, and mildew. When wood moisture levels exceed 28%, wood rot is inevitable.
Obviously, rotting wood will weaken the structural integrity of your home. The NC Cooperative Extension Service estimates that moisture causes more than $1 billion in damages to homes each year. This can range from minor damage like paint peeling up to major damage, such as rotting and crumbling floor systems.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found sufficient evidence to link exposure to mold and damp indoor environments to upper respiratory problems in otherwise healthy people. That effect is multiplied with people that may suffer from asthma or other respiratory issues as well as those that may have weaker immune systems. Sometimes chronic health issues can be traced back to high moisture in the home, and usually, that starts from the crawl space.
This article by the US Dept of Energy shows research on the difference in energy consumption of un-vented crawlspace vs conditioned crawl spaces. Part of this study was actually done in North Carolina through the US Department of Energy Building Technologies Program.
B&T Pest Control offers a FREE crawl space moisture evaluation. After evaluation, our inspector can advise you of the wood moisture content as well as the relative humidity in your crawl space. If there are any problems, he can advise a course of action which may include: