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Drying Crawl Spaces After They Are Affected With Water Damage
It is always important to control water entry into buildings – especially crawl spaces. Wet crawl spaces promote the growth of microbes, degrade structural members, attract harmful insects, and cause other types of property damage. If water does enter through a leak, flood, or accident, it should be removed immediately and the affected area completely dried.
As with many situations, an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure. Planning to keep water from entering a crawl space – such as during heavy rains – can save on costly clean-ups later on. Here are some helpful prevention tips:
• Maintain gutters and downspouts to ensure that they are free of leaves and debris
• Direct the flow from downspouts away from the foundation
• The best time to evaluate the flow of the gutter system is while it’s raining
• Use underground drainage pipes to direct water away from structures
• Slope soil downwards from the foundation to allow water to flow away
• Insulate pipes that could freeze and burst
• Inspect crawl spaces on a regular basis to ensure against unsafe or damaging situations
Other things to consider that may help maintain dry crawl spaces:
• Make sure water from air conditioning units drain away from the building
• Check vents to ensure they are open to allow ample airflow through the crawl space
• Ensure that automatic venting systems operate properly if installed
• Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for service and maintenance if using vent fans or dehumidifiers to ensure optimum efficiency
• Insulate air conditioning ducting to prevent condensation on exposed surfaces
If maintenance and prevention procedures do not stop moisture from entering a crawl space, or if humidity levels exceed 60% due to soil conditions or lack of airflow, then the situation needs immediate attention. According to the EPA, commercial remediation firms can save homeowners money in the long run by responding quickly to moisture problems. By thoroughly drying crawl spaces, they can greatly reduce the extent of damage caused by water or humidity.
Airflow is the key factor in drying crawl spaces. By moving just-evaporated moisture away from the surface, additional evaporation (drying) occurs faster.
Temperature also contributes to drying a crawl space effectively. Warmer air has a greater capacity to absorb moisture than cooler air. As temperatures increase, airflow helps warmer/drier air replace cool/damp air – speeding up the drying process.
Dehumidification is another process that assists in drying crawl spaces. It is extremely effective in drying indoor environments because the drying chamber is closed and humid air cannot enter from the outside environment. With crawl spaces, extra precautions are needed to limit outside air from introducing humidity back into the dehumidified area.
In some cases, access to the crawl space is restrictive and may limit the size of the equipment that can be used. In situations like these, mitigation professionals may choose to use only airflow with or without heat to dry a crawl space. The specific procedures to dry a crawl space vary from building to building, depending on the conditions found at the scene. Professional mitigation companies, such as PuroClean, will use their experience and industry training to effectively dry crawl spaces in all situations.
If there is a reoccurring problem, several additional steps may be taken, such as:
• Installing block vents to increase airflow
• Installing exhaust fans to help circulate air and bring in drier outside air (these can include humidity-sensor switches to automatically activate when needed)
• In certain situations, some industry experts recommend fully containing the crawl space, adding insulation, and including it in the air-conditioned space of the building
In the event a crawl space becomes wet, it is important for property owners to know what to do and who to contact.
Los Alamitos Flood USA is a professional mitigation company. It specializes in property remediation after a structure sustains any kind of water damage. PuroClean Franchisees are also highly skilled in the removal of microbial growth caused by humid conditions. If any area of a building becomes wet, it is imperative to seek a professional restoration company such as PuroClean to prevent further damage and to bring the structure back to its original condition.
Regardless of the circumstances – dealing with water damage, fire/smoke damage, mold, or biohazard remediation – call Los Alamitos Flood USA Professional Services, California.
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