How to properly encapsulate your crawl space
It is not a secret that crawl spaces are usually wet and dark. Its conditions drive to the existence of pests, mold and even mildew, which creates indoor air quality problems and can affect water heater durability and efficiency and HVAC ductwork.
Moisture usually condenses on framing, plumbing, wiring, and insulation, affecting in a considerable way the comfort of your indoor environment.The moisture in your crawl space also creates the perfect environment for wood destroying organisms, affects the effectiveness of your insulation and promotes wood rot.
That’s why crawl space encapsulation is so important. Encapsulation is the procedure of separating the area below your house from your living area. Sealing all outside vents. Installing a high-performance vapor retarder on all exposed wall and floor surfaces. Insulating the walls and rim joist. Conditioning the air.
Steps to follow when installing Your Crawlspace encapsulation system:
Here are a few steps you should follow if you want to install your crawl space encapsulation system properly:
First, you should attack and stop all drainage and combustion problems. Then, remove all the mold and mildew within the area. If you can detect water beneath your living area, call a drainage company before doing the encapsulation. If you identify a gas furnace or water heater emitting carbon monoxide, attack that problem before encapsulation. Encapsulating a crawl space with leaky gas appliances can allow harmful gases to backdraft into your home. If you have mold growing in your home or on your HVAC, clean it up well before any encapsulation projects begin. If not removed properly, it will trap it inside your crawl space.
Then, proceed to seal the vents, floor, and walls. To do that, you should install and add a vapor barrier, which will help to keep moisture out of your crawl space. This vapor barrier has to be on the floor and also attached to the piers, foundation walls, and equipment.
It is also important that you seal all possible vents to the outdoors, using specialized spray foam. To protect your indoor spaces, attach foam insulation to crawl space walls so outdoor air stays out of it
Finally, you have to keep the crawl space dry with a proper drying mechanism. This generally means adding a dehumidifier or using the existing HVAC system to condition the air. The EPA and the Department of Energy recommend using the existing HVAC system at a rate of one cubic foot per minute of conditioned air per fifty square feet of crawl space area. That’s a small fraction of the conditioned air it takes to condition a typical bedroom. When HVAC ducts are in the attics, the best choice is to add a crawl space dehumidifier.