Despite its smaller size, your crawl space has a significant say over the health of your home. Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or you’ve been in the same house for years, you’ll want to keep an eye on this space. A damaged crawl space can raise your bills, destabilize your home, and lower the value of your property.
What kind of problems should you watch for?
Common First-Year Problems
Over your years as a homeowner, you’ll find yourself dealing with a litany of different crawl space problems. A first-year homeowner in a home that’s relatively new, however, may not have to deal with problems that threaten a home’s overall stability. Instead, new homeowners inspecting their crawl spaces may find themselves contending with some of the following problems:
Mold and Wood Rot
Mold and wood rot are not the same thing. Both forces, however, can have an immediate and dangerous impact on your home.
Wood rot does not spread with the ease of mold. Instead, as its name suggests, this fungus targets wood. However, it can tear through wood at a mind-boggling rate. If you allow wood rot spores to access moisture, warmth, and darkness, then any unprotected wooden supports in your crawl space may quickly give way.
Mold doesn’t have as much of a structural impact on your crawl space. If you allow mold clusters to grow, members of your family may start to show signs of respiratory problems where they didn’t before.
Most crawl space damage takes the form of moisture. Hydrostatic pressure allows the humidity in your crawl space to rise. Over time, that humidity can become a leak. Within your first year of homeownership, you’re likely to see your hygrometer tick upward.
While this may not seem like a big issue, it’s more of a problem than you think. If moisture can get into your home, so can animals and insects. Some of the most common creatures to make themselves at home in your crawl space include:
- Carpenter ants
- Squirrels and chipmunks
Higher Electric and Water Bills
As mentioned, the humidity in your home is likely to rise if your crawl space is damaged. This does more than make your home less comfortable to stay in. It can also force your HVAC system to work harder. As a result, your energy bill may be unusually high.
Similarly, unchecked moisture in your crawl space can cause your pipes to leak. If you find yourself dealing with a leak, water pressure throughout your home will drop even as your monthly water bill rises. In short, crawl space damage, even on a minor scale, can cost you a lot of money.
Common Fifth-Year Problems
The problems you deal with as a fifth-year homeowner will vary based on the work you’ve done to your home in the past. If you’ve diligently kept up with home inspections, your problems may be no more significant than those you saw in your first year of homeownership. If you’ve let the care and keeping of your crawl space fall to the wayside, you may find yourself dealing with:
You may not initially choose to install insulation in your crawl space. This material pulls double-duty as a tool to keep your home comfortable and a waterproofing measure. If you install a cheaper form of insulation, however, this material can rapidly become an incubator for mold and invading animals. If you do not replace damaged insulation, it can rapidly exacerbate any problems with moisture you find yourself dealing with.
The cracks and seepage that plagued you during your first year of homeownership may not seem significant at the time. Let them grow, though, and they’ll transform into floodgates. Before long, you may find yourself bailing your crawl space out while trying to keep standing water from damaging any utilities you’ve stored beneath your home.
Common Tenth-Year Problems
Ten years into owning a home, it’s easy to get complacent. After all, you know every nook and cranny of your property—what surprises can your crawl space throw at you?
If you haven’t made a point of taking care of your crawl space, these problems may not even initially appear to originate there. However, your crawl space controls a significant percentage of your home’s health. Some of the most common problems to see if you fail to care for your space include:
- Damaged structural supports
- Warping floors
- A sinking foundation
- Sagging floors
Repairing Crawl Space Damage
Are you contending with crawl space damage? Do you need someone to come and look through your crawl space with you? It doesn’t matter whether you’ve owned your home for one year or for 10—it’s always a good idea to reach out to the professionals in your area. Whether you think there’s something wrong with your crawl space or if you want to get ahead of potential damage, professionals in Greenville, SC, can help. During a consultation, you can look over a free services quote detailing what kind of work your crawl space may benefit from. From there, you can work with these professionals from Mount Valley Foundation Services to keep not just your crawl space but the whole of your home damage-free.