Crawl Space Drying >> How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace

The principal perceived advantage of a vented crawl space over an unvented one is that venting may limit radon and moisture-related decay hazards by diluting the crawl space air. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace Additionally, providing a vented crawlspace may make sense in flood-prone areas such as coastal zones subject to hurricanes. 

Venting can complement other moisture and  radon control measures such as ground cover and proper drainage. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace However, although increased air flow in the crawl space may offer some dilution potential for ground source moisture and radon, it will not necessarily solve a serious problem. 

Vented crawl spaces are often provided with operable vents that can be closed to reduce winter heat losses, but also potentially increase  radon infiltration. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace Although not their original purpose, the vents can also be closed in summer to keep out moist exterior air that can have a dew point above the crawl space temperature. 

This approach, however, requires a high level of informed occupant participation to be successful. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace Unvented (conditioned) crawlspaces are generally preferred in most cases, except where flood risks are exceptionally high, as in coastal zones subject to hurricane flooding. 

The principal disadvantages of a vented crawl space over an unvented one are that (1) pipes and ducts must be sealed and insulated against heat loss (cooling loss in the summer) and freezing,  How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace a larger area (the crawlspace ceiling typically is larger than the area of the crawlspace walls) usually must be insulated, which may increase the cost. 

Under hot humid conditions warm humid air circulated into the cool crawl space can cause excessive moisture levels in structural wood components (especially floor joists) that can cause mold and decay, and  How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace an airtight, continuous thermal envelope at the crawlspace ceiling is very difficult to achieve in practice. 

It is not necessary to vent a crawl space for moisture control if it is open to an adjacent basement, and venting is clearly incompatible with crawl spaces used as heat distribution plenums. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace In fact, there are several advantages to designing crawl spaces as semi-heated zones. 

Duct and pipe insulation can be reduced, and the foundation is insulated at the crawl space perimeter instead of its ceiling. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace This usually requires less insulation, simplifies installation difficulties in some cases, and can be detailed to minimize condensation hazards.

Although unvented crawl spaces have been recommended, "except under severe moisture conditions,” by the University of Illinois's Small Homes Council (Jones 1980), How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace moisture problems in crawl spaces are common enough that many agencies are unwilling to endorse closing the vents year-round. 

Soil type and the groundwater level are key factors influencing moisture conditions. It should be recognized that a crawl space can be designed as a short basement (with slurry slab floor), and How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace having a higher floor level, is subject to less moisture hazard than a basement in most cases. 

Viewed in this way, the main distinction between unvented crawl spaces and basements is in the owner's accessibility and likelihood of noticing moisture problems. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace The major structural components of a crawl space are the wall and the footing (see Figure 3-2). 

Crawl space walls are typically constructed of cast-in-place concrete, concrete masonry units, or alternative systems like insulated concrete forms (ICFs). How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace Crawl space walls must resist any lateral loads from the soil and vertical loads from the structure above. 

Because of the large number of variables involved in foundation structural design, final determination of wall thickness, concrete strength, footing dimensions, and How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace reinforcing should be made after consultation of locally-enforced building codes or design by a licensed structural engineer. 

The lateral loads on the wall depend on the height of the fill, the soil type and moisture content, and whether the building is located in an area of low or high seismic activity. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace In place of a structural foundation wall and continuous spread footing, the structure can be supported on piers or piles with beams in between. 

These beams between piers support the structure above and transfer the load back to the piers. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace Concrete spread footings provide support beneath concrete and masonry crawl space walls and/or columns. Footings must be designed with adequate size to distribute the load to the soil. Freezing water beneath footings can heave, causing cracking and other structural problems. 

For this reason, footings must be placed beneath the maximum frost penetration depth unless founded on bedrock or proven non-frost­ susceptible soil or insulated to prevent frost penetration. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace Since the interior temperature of a vented crawl space may be below freezing in very cold climates.

Footings must be below the frost depth with respect to both interior and exterior grade unless otherwise protected. Where expansive soils are present or in areas of high seismic activity, special foundation construction techniques may be necessary. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace In these cases, consultation with local building officials and a structural engineer is recommended. 

WATER / MOISTURE MANAGEMENT While the crawl space is not meant to be living space (such as a basement), it is still very important to control the amount of moisture that can build up in that space. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace High levels of humidity at relatively low temperatures can cause condensation on different surfaces within the crawl space. 

This condensation can cause wooden support structures to rot, decreasing their structural integrity. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace Condensation and high levels of moisture also create an environment that is conducive to mold growth, which can have adverse effects on the health of the home's inhabitants. In general, moisture management schemes must control water in two states. 

First, since the soil in contact with the foundation wall is always at 100% relative humidity, foundation walls must deal with water vapor that will tend to migrate toward the interior under most conditions. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace Second, liquid water entry must be prevented. 

Liquid water can enter from sources such as: Uncontrolled flows of surface water High water table. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace Capillary flow through subsurface foundation assemblies There are two main configurations for crawl spaces: vented and unvented. 

The vented crawl space has historically been the most widely employed design. How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace It works by allowing outside air to flow through the crawl space, thereby, in theory, removing the excess moisture and allowing it to dry (Davis et al. 2005). 

Unvented crawl spaces (also known as closed or conditioned) do not have vents to the outside and rely on limiting moisture intrusion from the soil, along with mechanical drying mechanisms such as air conditioning or a dehumidifier to prevent moisture build-up and  How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace. 

For both vented and unvented designs, there are common techniques that are used to limit the moisture content in the crawl space. These techniques include methods for blocking moisture sources by providing proper  drainage and vapor/air barriers. Additional How To Keep A Mold Smell Out Of The Crawlspace methods for removing moisture build up in the crawl space are also employed.

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