Are you considering an encapsulation dehumidifier to control moisture for your crawl space repair project? Perhaps you were told the dehumidifier is not needed for your wet crawl space. There are many myths floating around about crawl space encapsulation dehumidifiers.
Do I Need a Dehumidifier?
This is our #1 asked question on our YouTube channel. High humidity in the crawl space is normal when controlled by nature and circumstance, but is having high moisture the best for your home even if it is normal?
If you live in a low humidity climate, it may keep you from having a dehumidifier as long as humidity is low all year round. The dry air outside may not be affecting the crawl space in a negative way, but the heat may.
Low Humidity Climate and Encapsulation Dehumidifier
If you live in a hot climate like San Diego, CA and you have a crawl space with duct-work. You run your air conditioner to cool your home and also cool the ducts. Even though the humidity is low in that part of California, the hot air inside the crawl space hitting the cold ducts can create condensation.
Sweating ducts can lead to high humidity. High humidity can lead to wet wood. When the joists and sub-floor get wet, that can lead to dangerous mold and wood rot fungus. The point is, even if you live in a low humidity climate, you could still need a dehumidifier in your crawl space.
High Humidity Climate and Encapsulation Dehumidifier
Living in hot, humid regions like East Tennessee can magnify the condensation process dramatically. In that part of the country hot humid air is hitting cold ducts. Creating even more condensation. The encapsulation dehumidifier in both cases can lower the dew point and prevent condensation.
Are Dehumidifiers Expensive to Run?
Keep in mind that dehumidifiers today are very efficient and run on humidistats. The Aprilaire E-Series dehumidifiers are EnergyStar certified and turn on and off as needed. This helps them to keep your home at an optimal humidity level all year.
The purpose of the encapsulation dehumidifier is to control high humidity in your crawl space. Humidity levels between 45 and 55 percent are considered best by many experts. Make sure you perform regular dehumidifier maintenance and check the Aprilaire error codes for more assistance.
Isn't the Crawl Space Vapor Barrier All I Need?
Many crawl space contractors tell homeowners the non-taped, loose-laid vapor barrier is all you need in a damp crawl space. The crawl space vapor barrier is essential to control high humidity. It is just as vital in removing standing water in the crawl space.
But addressing high humidity requires the vapor barrier and crawl space dehumidifier, just like your flooded crawl space needs a sump pump, french drain, and vapor barrier to remove standing water. The vapor barrier is essential and even part of building code but is not the be-all-end-all to crawl space repair problems. Another tip is to stay away from thin 6-mil vapor barriers.
Does My Dehumidifier Kill Mold?
The short answer is no. Many professionals feel the lower humidity created by the dehumidifier can make the mold go dormant. If that is true, and I am not convinced it is, the state of being dormant is not dead. The mold is alive in dormancy.
Mold dead or alive is still an allergen. Like dust mites, the worst parts can be their carcasses and fecal matter for causing allergies. I am not saying mold poops, but some molds create mycotoxins which can be worse than the molds themselves.
Imagine a groundhog is hibernating or dormant. You happen to dig down to where the groundhog is and disturb it. I am sure dealing with it will be a chore. Mold can operate in the same way. If mold is "dormant" in your crawl space, then you experience a plumbing leak, you just woke up the mold and created a huge problem. For this reason, all molds, dead or alive, should be removed and disinfected properly. The low humidity should help keep it from returning but we see no evidence it will kill it.
Where to Buy a Crawl Space Dehumidifier
Do you need help installing a crawl space dehumidifier? If so, we can help. Please contact us to schedule your assessment. Also, let us know in the comments below if you'd like to suggest a future blog post.
Visit our DIY Store if you'd like to install the dehumidifier yourself.
Be your own boss and learn about the Crawl Space Ninja Franchise opportunity.