Whether your crawl space is a pull-down stairs access in the ceiling or a short door that leads under your home, a crawl space is more often than not a place that is avoided. But maintenance needs to be done at least on a bi-annual basis, especially if heating, air conditioning or other ventilation equipment is exposed in a crawl space. Besides being a little creepy, crawl spaces can also be energy-eating spaces if they are not properly maintained. Try these crawl space maintenance tips for a safe and energy-efficient home crawl space.
Before a cave explorer enters a cave, they’ve got to get their gear ready first. The same goes for entering the home cave-the crawl space. Flashlight in hand is not enough; proper dress is required to enter this exclusive club. Long pants, shirt, gloves and a respirator are mandatory for safety before you go poking around with your flashlight.
Use your Senses
As you explore your subterranean crawl space or your unfathomable attic area, you need to be vigilant in looking for problems. Starting with your eyes and flashlight, look for colorization or changing patterns. Mold, water damage and animal infestation all look random in the pattern filled world of the crawl space. If it doesn’t look right; investigate.
Besides the eyes, your olfactory glands can give you a heads up to problems in the crawl space. Whiffs of rotten animal, mildew and mold or chemical smells are all signs of problems in the crawl space.
Listening to the sounds of your home can also alert you to maintenance problems. Does the HVAC whistle? It may be the sign of an air-leak. How about a tapping or dripping sound? It might be a leaky pipe or electrical problem. Have your better half turn on the lights, HVAC and water as you traverse through the crawl space so you can hear problems as they occur.
If you haven’t had to call in the professionals for any major problems, maintenance issues can still be plaguing your crawl space. Insulation levels are a key concern. If your home was built in the last ten years, your blown insulation level is probably just fine. If it’s covering the joists, it’s at an acceptable level. You can add reflective foil pieces on top of the existing insulation for added energy-efficiency.
For under home crawl spaces, look for any uncovered, loose or falling batt type insulation. Use a staple gun to repair falling or damaged insulation with new batt and plastic covers. Replace any water damaged, animal infested or mold/mildewed insulation immediately.
All in all, if your crawl space smells right, looks good and sounds as if it’s running like a top, you shouldn’t have to visit this void for another six months to a year.