Crawl spaces are areas in the house where people often keep their old photographs, old documents, and old books and magazines. Since there is no outside air entering these areas, they are quite susceptible to moisture accumulation which can lead to the growth of molds and mildews. These microorganisms can destroy your possessions and also enter other parts of your house causing health problems for you and your family. This is why it is important that you dry out these crawl spaces using a crawl space dehumidifier.
A step-by-step guide to drying out your crawl space
Before you install a crawl space dehumidifier, remove any debris and junk from the area.. Any boxes or items that have mold growth should be taken outside the house for inspection where they can be cleaned and if possible salvaged. If you find any other hazardous materials such as damaged asbestos pipe or HVAC duct insulation, ensure that it is removed and the area cleaned properly.
If the area has any puddles of water, the first thing you will need to do is fix the problem from where the water is coming or else the crawl space dehumidifier will not work.
You will also need to clean the area if there is mold growth before putting in a crawl space dehumidifier since as the place begins to dry out, the mold will begin to release more spores into the air and your new dehumidifier will also get contaminated with mold spores.
Install a moisture barrier before installing a crawl space dehumidifier. The moisture barrier should be placed over the floors and should extend up the foundation walls. However, make sure that they do not come into contact with any wooden frames or sills. Choose the moisture barrier carefully since some plastic vapor barriers can give off a strong odor which may take time to disappear from the crawl space. While installing them also check that the moisture barriers are sloping down to a drain or any low spots in the crawl space will lead to water retention.
Once the area has been cleaned and a moisture barrier installed, it is time to install a crawl space dehumidifier so that the area keeps dry. The unit should be preferably placed in the center of the crawl space.
If the area is quite large, a couple of fans blowing towards the unit from remote areas can help in maintaining low humidity levels.
Set your unit to below 45% RH (relative humidity) to dry out the whole area since this ensures that the humidity levels are reduced in the distant areas in the crawl space.
Drying out these moisture-prone areas using a crawl space dehumidifier is not that difficult. All you need is to clean up the area thoroughly, make sure that the electrical wiring is safe, and the crawl space dehumidifier is efficient enough to dry out the whole area.