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Misconception: Do I need a Dehumidifier in My Encapsulated Crawl Space

Do you need a dehumidifier if you are planning to encapsulate your crawl space? Many believe crawl space encapsulation is enough to control humidity without a dehumidifier. Is that true?

Why Crawl Spaces Need a Dehumidifier

The role of the crawl space dehumidifier is different than the role of the encapsulation. Dehumidifiers operate similar to your HVAC system or refrigerator but for humidity instead of temperature. Their job is to lower the humidity of your crawl space or dirt basement to the level you set it. As the humidity rises above the set point, the dehumidifier turns on. Bringing the humidity down to help lower the risk of mold growth in the crawl space.

Your crawl space is a non-conditioned space and is at the mercy of your climate. Moisture can build-up inside the crawl space from duct-work condensation, ground moisture evaporation, high outdoor humidity, and more. The dehumidifier is needed to condition the crawl space and ensure healthy humidity levels are kept all year.

Encapsulation Alone is Not Enough

The term crawl space encapsulation means applying vapor barrier to all walls, pillars, and floor of the crawl space. The crawl space plastic is designed to slow the evaporation of moisture in the space but is not designed to stop the moisture. A more accurate description of the plastic is crawl space vapor retarder.

Crawl space encapsulation does not address dew point. Even if the crawl space plastic was a barrier to ground moisture, dew point could still be a problem and the dehumidifier is needed to control dew point. When cold objects come in contact with a warm air or vice-versa, condensation can occur.

What Next?

Do you need help with controlling humidity in your home and you live in Alabama, Georgia, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Kentucky? If so, 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.

Perhaps you'd like to tackle your own crawl space repair. Visit our DIY Store.

Contact us if you need help fixing your crawl space or yard drainage by clicking here.

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About Michael Church

Michael Church has been involved with indoor air quality since 2005 and feels the unhealthy crawl space is one of the major problems causing poor indoor air quality.

1 Comment

  1. Jill on October 10, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you for all of your very informative crawl space videos. I live just outside of Chicago and am dealing with white mold in mine. I had no idea what removing it entails and your videos have helped my prepare for the companies who I have called to inspect it. Now I am not as blind going into it and will hopefully understand what they are talking about and hopefully won’t try and rip me off.

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