It can be relatively easy to gauge whether your basement has a moisture problem. You might see puddles, wet marks, mineral deposits, or streaks down the walls. However, when your moisture issue stems from your crawlspace, the problem can be much more difficult to detect.
Left unchecked, however, dampness in your crawlspace can be an open invitation for moisture-loving insects like termites that can compromise the integrity of your entire structure. Moisture in your crawlspace can also lead to mold and mildew and exacerbate chronic breathing issues, such as COPD and asthma. Excess humidity will also cause your insulation to be less effective, costing you more on your utility bills, and cause your structural beams to rot. Fortunately, there are a few tell-tale signs of moisture in your crawlspace, if you know where to look.
1. A musty smell. Although most crawlspaces are sealed off from the rest of the house by a panel or a trap door, it's a good idea to peek inside the crawl space every month or so and take a sniff. Mold and mildew can form quickly and leave a tell-tale stale odor.
2. Loose stones or mortar in your foundation. Another sign that you could have moisture in your crawl space is if your foundation has mortar or stone with gaps that is allowing rain and melted snow to enter your crawl space.
3. Warping floor boards. Excess moisture in the crawl space below your home can also cause your floor boards to warp and be uneven or to split.
4. Higher than normal water bills. Moisture in your crawl space doesn't always come from the exterior of your home. A leaking, dripping, or cracked pipe can also cause excess moisture to accumulate in your crawl space. A cracked pipe is especially likely during the cold winter months or if you have an older home with clay sewer pipes leading away from your home. If your water bill is quite a bit higher than normal, a broken pipe in your crawl space could be the cause.
Moisture left unchecked in your crawlspace can be a disaster for your home and family. Prevent a moisture issue from becoming a major problem by checking your crawl space for that tell-tale smell of mildew and mold every month or so, examining your foundation for any loose mortar or crumbling stone, and quickly investigating the source of any uneven floor boards. For more tips, contact a crawlspace waterproofing company.