Crawl spaces often go overlooked when it comes to home maintenance. We don’t see these areas every day, so it’s easy to forget them altogether. However, proper crawl space maintenance is important for the overall safety, value, and comfort of your home.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t notice an issue in their crawl space until it is too late. Proper maintenance can help keep small problems manageable, ensuring they don’t grow to expensive major repairs down the line.
1. Keep Pests Away
There are several types of pests that would just love to make a home out of your crawl space. Mice, squirrels, carpenter ants, termites, roaches, and more can get into your home through the crawl space and cause destruction, mess and foul odors.
The best way to combat this is to eliminate any points of entry where pests may find their way in. Ensure that no cracks are present in the crawl space’s walls and the seams at ceilings and corners, and check a couple of times a year for rodent holes or insect tunnels through the walls.
2. Focus on Moisture Control
As a small, dark, enclosed area at the bottom of the home, your crawl space is already susceptible to moisture damage. Without proper maintenance, you’re really just begging for it to happen.
Moisture can rise directly from the ground beneath your home and collect in the crawlspace, and condensation causes this moisture to collect in the form of water on the surfaces. Unfortunately, the surfaces of your crawlspace are likely made of wood, which swell, warp, and mold with water damage.
Eventually, this water damage can compromise the home’s structure and stability. A good maintenance tip for this is to use drying fans, moisture absorbent materials, and gutters to keep the area as dry as possible.
3. Install Insulation
You may not think to insulate your crawl space. After all, it’s not like you spend very much of your time down there.
The temperature of the crawlspace, however, can greatly affect the temperature of your home overall. Through this tiny space, cold areas can creep up into the home during colder months, and hot air can collect and rise into the home during warmer months.
The best way you can combat this is to install a thick, high-quality insulating material on the ceiling of the crawlspace. This keeps the floor leading into the home itself well insulated.
4. Schedule Regular Clean-Outs
If you’re like most people, then you have probably found yourself guilty of using your crawl space as a storage room. It’s not uncommon for people to store renovating materials and junk below the home.
These materials staying in the crawl space, however, create the perfect welcoming environment for pests and make it less likely that you’ll crawl down there yourself for regular maintenance. Make a habit of cleaning out your crawl space a couple of times a year.
5. Keep the Crawl Space Ventilated
Air needs to be able to easily flow through the crawl space all through the year. Without proper ventilation being installed, mold, mildew, heat, and moisture can too easily start affecting this area.
The trick is to have ventilation vents and barriers that allow air to pass through the crawl space freely without leaving enough room for pests to enter. You will want to check these vents regularly to make sure that the barrier is still intact and that no unwelcome visitors have penetrated their way into the home.