Crawlspaces are not typically areas that you frequent. You probably can't even stand up straight in your crawlspace, so it's not like you would use the space as an office or playroom. As such, if your crawlspace becomes a little moist, you might not be too worried. But even though crawlspaces are not living areas, you do need to be concerned about moisture. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Crawlspace moisture can permeate into your home.
The moisture in the air in your crawlspace will end up circulating through the rest of your home. As a result, your home will have an overall higher humidity level. This can lead to several issues, such as mold growth throughout the home, unpleasant odors, and damaged building materials. High humidity can cause floorboards and other wooden items to warp, which could render them unattractive and useless over the years. In short, moisture issues in the crawlspace will soon move beyond the crawlspace because of the way air moves throughout a home.
2. Crawlspace moisture can attract pests.
Most pests need moisture to thrive. They will seek out wet spaces, like your crawlspace, to take up residence. Earwigs, cockroaches, and ants will all be attracted to your crawlspace. More dangerous insects, like termites and carpenter ants, may also come around. These insects feed on moist wood -- perhaps the moist wood in your crawlspace -- and can make your home structurally unsound. They're very hard to get rid of, and you can't typically eradicate them unless you get rid of the conditions that attracted them in the first place.
Other insects that thrive in moist crawlspaces, like cockroaches, can spread diseases. If a cockroach comes up into your home and walks across your food, you could end up with salmonella. Many people are also allergic to cockroaches.
3. Moist crawlspaces beget mold.
Many people do not realize their moist crawlspaces are moldy because the mold may be hidden behind walls, within insulation, or in the ceiling of the crawlspace. But nonetheless, the mold growth can lead to allergies. Some people with mold allergies experience sneezing, itching, and wheezing. Others have nausea or rashes. If you have been struggling with cold symptoms that you just cannot shake, they may actually be due to mold allergies, which could be related to moisture in your crawlspace. Drying out your crawlspace to put an end to mold growth could reduce your reliance on allergy medications.
4. Moist crawlspaces could lead to a lack of structural integrity.
A little moisture may not cause serious rotting of wooden structures within a week or two, but over time, moisture damage builds until eventually, wood that has been affected by the moisture is rotten and brittle. Since your crawlspace is located under the home and is important for supporting the home, you really don't want the wood down there to grow moldy and weak. Replacing wooden beams in the crawlspace can be very costly and, in some cases, nearly impossible.
5. Moist crawlspaces don't allow for safe storage.
You have a crawlspace -- so you might as well put it to good use! If the space is moist and damp, items that you place inside will suffer mold growth and damage. You may be forced to rent a storage unit for extra storage space, which is a waste of money when you have your very own crawlspace for storage!
To learn more, talk to a basement and crawlspace waterproofing company, such as Central Penn Waterproofing. They can help you devise a plan to get rid of the moisture and turn your crawlspace into a safer, more usable area.