Reduce Moisture in a Crawlspace
LESLIE: Tim in Nebraska, are you in your crawlspace?
TIM: Yes, I am.
LESLIE: (laughing) What’s going on in there?
TOM: I think this may be one of the first calls we’ve ever gotten direct from a crawlspace.
TIM: Direct from a crawlspace.
TOM: Alright, what’s going on, Tim?
TIM: OK. I have a 70s-style ranch house and they did not put a basement under it. When I purchased it, I put a basement under half of it and the other half is still a crawlspace with a sand floor.
TIM: I get a lot of musty smell, moisture. I have a wood floor up on my – right above it – and it has a tendency to buckle during the summer when it’s high humidity.
LESLIE: Ooh, because it’s humid.
TOM: Mmm, right.
TIM: And I want to know if there’s an easy cover to put over this sandy floor.
TOM: Absolutely. Yeah. You want to use viscuine; use plastic sheeting as heavy as you can get and with as few seams as you can get. Because a lot of the moisture that you’re sensing in the air evaporates up from the soil. So you want to get some plastic sheeting and put it down across that surface.
Let me ask you this. Is the crawlspace area open to the finished basement area?
TIM: Yes, it is.
TOM: Alright. And the basement area is finished?
TOM: Alright. Because what I was going to say is if you can isolate the crawlspace and you still have a high humidity issue there, what you could do is you could purchase a crawlspace fan which basically fits inside the standard 8×16 concrete block opening; except that when you wire it up, you wire it to a humidistat; not a thermostat or simply a switch. And what a humidistat will do is it will come on when it gets moist and damp down there and will draw some cooler, drier area from the outside throughout the crawlspace and take that moisture with it away.
TIM: I have a dehumidifier, right now, hooked up and it – it’s just constantly running.
TOM: You know, the other thing that he might want to try, Leslie, is a whole house.
LESLIE: Yeah, a whole house dehumidifier is a great option if you have forced air or central air heating. Do you?
TIM: (inaudible) do.
LESLIE: You do? Well, this is a great opportunity for you. You can get a whole house dehumidifier installed which will remove 90 pints of water from your home per day …
TIM: Oh, wow.
LESLIE: … which is two of those huge buckets of water that you see at the water cooler at the office. And that will really do a great trick. And it works on demand to rooms that need it more. It senses which rooms have more humidity. So it’s constantly measuring levels of humidity and removing the proper amount of moisture per that room as it calls for.
TOM: Yeah, Tim, you might want to go to Aprilaire.com; April-a-i-r-e.com. They make a whole house dehumidifier and there’s a dealer locator on their website. You can find someone local to install it. It has to be installed by a pro. But it really works well at taking the moisture out of a home and it actually is so effective that your air conditioning won’t need to work quite as long and nearly as hard once that moisture is removed from the air.
OK, Tim? Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.