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How To Get Rid Of Smells In Your Crawl Space

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Combatting Bad Crawl Space Odors

Most homeowners won’t go down to their crawl space the entire time they own their home, as it is seen to be a useless space. As it is usually damp and dark, and often home to unwelcome pests, many homeowners won’t check in on it until something becomes wrong. One of the telltale signs that you’re dealing with problems in your crawl space is musty or foul odors within your home.  

Musty odors are typically a sign that there is an excess of mold or mildew growing within your crawl space, meaning that the humidity levels are far too high. Mold and mildew in your home seriously impacts the quality of air that you and your loved ones breathe and can lead to severe respiratory problems. It is important to call in a mold remediation specialist to correct the problem as soon as possible. 

The Stack Effect  

Since it is located underneath your home, many believe that what happens in the crawl space stays in the crawl space. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The air in your crawl space circulates up through your entire home and out through the roof by way of the Stack Effect. Being that warm, humid air is less dense than cold, dry air, it rises through this phenomenon, spreading mold and other toxins through the air.  

This means that the particles originating in the crawl space end up moving throughout the home, spreading unpleasant odors in the process. 

Eliminating Bad Smells 

To increase the air quality in your home and create a healthier environment, there are things that you can do to eliminate bad smells from happening. Since mold feeds off organic material, such as the wood in your crawl space, it is imperative to have routine inspections done to ensure your wood isn’t decaying. Before it becomes a safety and health concern, an expert can determine if repairs need to be made.  

Here are some of the ways you can ensure that bad smells won’t come from your crawl space again. 

Encapsulating Your Crawl Space  

One of the most important options for managing your crawl space health is to encapsulate your crawl space. Crawl space encapsulation is the process of sealing your crawl space from outside air and moisture and incorporating it into the envelope of the home. This is typically done by adding a high-quality vapor barrier, an interior drainage system, and proper wall insulation. By doing this you will lower your energy bills and ensure that you have fewer allergy and asthma problems because of mold growth in your crawl space. 

Installing a Vapor Barrier 

To prevent moisture from entering your crawl space, it should be encapsulated with a thick and durable vapor barrier. This vapor barrier is attached to the walls and floor of the crawl space and is usually installed within a day. As mentioned, the unfavorable smells in your home mostly come from mold and mildew. Since they thrive in a damp and dark environment, a vapor barrier will make your crawl space unsuitable for mold growth. Unfortunately, when your crawl space is exposed to the elements, unwanted pests are able to find their way in.  

This can lead to deteriorating animal carcasses adding to the bad odors. If a mouse, rat or other animal dies in your crawl space, your home will start to smell bad. Luckily, encapsulation can keep pests at bay. 

The Importance of a Drainage System 

To ensure your crawl space stays dry and clean, installing an interior drainage system can help! With a crawl space drain, it easily directs any excess water away from the foundation and prevents it from causing water-related damage. Since the crawl space will remain dry, there is a lesser chance of mold and mildew forming in it. 

Uses of a Sump Pump 

A sump pump is a crucial factor that makes up a complete crawl space waterproofing solution. As it is part of the drainage system, it becomes activated through a float switch when water reaches a certain level. This activates the pump to start directing water to the drain to then pump it away from your home. If your Chattanooga, TN home experiences a flood, a sump pump could make all the difference. 

Usually, sump pumps sit within a sump pit. This is a dug-out area at the lowest point of the crawl space where the overflow of water falls into. The pit should be big enough for at least one backup pump in case your home experiences power outages during a storm. It also should be periodically inspected to ensure it stays in proper working order. 

Benefits of a Dehumidifier 

By installing a dehumidifier in the crawl space, it reduces the humidity levels which lead to mold and mildew growth. When Chattanooga, TN experiences a heavy rain, the air in your home becomes more humid. Luckily, with a dehumidifier you can keep this under control and prevent mold growth. 

A dehumidifier also reduces energy consumption and helps save money on utility bills. By cutting back on temperature-changing moisture, your HVAC won’t be forced to work harder to regulate the temperature, therefore using less power. 

Killing Mold and Mildew 

Although having a dehumidifier controls the humidity within your crawl space and home, it’s not enough to prevent mold from growing. To completely remedy mold in your home, it’s imperative to call in a mold specialist to remove what’s already present. If you’re looking for a more budget friendly route, an ozone machine can also work but it is best to make sure that all the mold is removed. A mold remediation company will be able to set one up and operate it for you. Ozone can be a dangerous substance and is is important to let the experts use it in accordance with the rules and regulations. 

Let The Team At AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists Rid Your Crawl Space Of Bad Odors

When you notice unpleasant odors coming from your crawl space, schedule a free inspection with the team at AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists and let us look for the source of the problem. Once an expert has inspected your crawl space they’ll come up with a solution that will ensure it stays dry and clean for years to come! 

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