Do I really have to go down there? Why it’s important to keep your crawl space cleaned up

Flooded Basements Portland
Protect the Land Down Under: How Flooded Basements Affect Your Property
August 11, 2017
Toilet Backup
Are sewage backups dangerous or do they just smell bad?
October 24, 2017
Show all
Crawlspace Cleaning Portland

Crawlspace Cleaning Portland

Do I really need to clean my crawl space?

Your crawlspace is a forgettable part of your home. It’s not a place you typically visit; no late night binge-watching or romantic meals take place in the dark, confined space beneath your home. And in truth, a functioning crawl space should be forgettable, because that means there aren’t any concerns that remind you that it’s there. But once there are, it suddenly catapults to the forefront, a problem that needs to be addressed right away. Depending on your home layout and structure, you could have crucial parts of your home down there such as your plumbing, wiring, and your home foundation that holds up everything above. This means that damage down there can be catastrophic to your home. But if you have trouble enough getting there, how can you even begin to clean it?

What is the purpose of a crawlspace?

While it may seem like a little bit of extra space the architect left because they didn’t order enough concrete, it’s a deliberately-designed feature that makes home maintenance substantially easier.

Before worrying about the crawlspace, make sure you have one!

Most modern homes have a dedicated crawl space. But not every home has one. Some builders decided on using a solid concrete slab as a foundation instead. While in theory, this might seem like it provides a more stable foundation, it also cuts off access to important parts of the home. Slab homes do have their advantages such as greater protection from pests and insects and a higher resistance to mold, but general advice is that to choose a house with a crawl space if you have the option. As many important components of your home such as part of your plumbing system are inside that slab, if something goes wrong with it you have to find a way to break it apart to solve the issue. This can offset the initial cost savings because you’ll most likely need a professional to come out with the right tools and experience to carefully break apart just enough to access the component, as well as need to have it repaired afterward.

Crawl Space Benefits

Why have a crawlspace?

Houses are built in a way that’s ideal for critical parts of it to function properly. And this means that some components, such as plumbing and wiring, need to be beneath the floor. Some slab homes compensate for this by including a basement that houses these important systems instead, but often some parts are still inaccessible. With a crawlspace, nothing is hard to reach; once you’re able to squeeze down there, that is.

While being able to get to important parts of your house is one of the main reasons houses are built with crawl spaces, they have other benefits too. Having space beneath the house provides superior ventilation compared to a solid slab, and they work better on sloped lots. They provide a greater opportunity for remodeling by having more flexibility. Along with access to these crucial parts of your property, another benefit of a crawlspace is that you have a little bit of extra storage space; just remember that you decided to keep a few things down there!

What disadvantages do crawl spaces have?

While a crawl space foundation provides more access to important parts of your home structure, this extra space comes with its own set of concerns. A crawlspace needs insulation in order to keep your utility bills down, and it’s important to keep it clean so that everything works properly. And if the soil or wood in that region gets too wet, you could start to get mold growth that can accumulate for quite awhile before you even notice. In the cold winter months, rodents and other pests can find that insulation appealing and try to make their home there. They can rip away the insulation or even important wiring. Occasional check-ups can usually stop most of these problems before they get too severe. But what if you had a major issue like a water damage event? Moisture levels that typically take months to accumulate can happen overnight. So what can you do?

Keeping your crawl space clean keeps your foundation clean

Having your crawl space clean can keep your home in optimal condition. However, it’s one of the most neglected areas of the house, especially when it’s doing its job and you haven’t noticed any problems in your house. Often, residents don’t realize there is a problem until strange odors seem to always be present. If you’ve neglected to clean this part of your house, you could have organic debris to deal with, rodent infestations, mold accumulations, and much more causing these smells. And cleaning up after all of this can be quite a daunting task!

Rodent Crawl SpaceRodents are small but cause big problems

It might not seem like such a big deal if a couple of mice or even rats decide to stay in your crawlspace. After all, it’s better than being in your kitchen! However, these creatures often find things to chew on, such as wires or even your duct system. This can cause them to be less efficient or even stop working entirely. But besides the damage to your insulation and other components, rodent nests have the potential to cause health problems too. Rodent droppings and urine can release chemicals that are toxic to you and your family. And sometimes, these animals don’t survive the winter. Fortunately, there are many property restoration companies that will be happy to clean up after them so you don’t have to.

Even hidden mold could be affecting you

Some studies suggest that up to 60% of homes have mold in their crawl space. But even though many homes deal with it doesn’t mean it’s something that you should ignore. Mold can induce rot in wood, which is usually what the support beams in your crawl space are made out of. And if have a vent or duct system leading into your house from down there, your family could suffer health problems too. However, cleaning it up isn’t always a simple or straightforward task, especially on wood or if you have dangerous black mold. Because of the urgency and associated health risks, crawlspace mold removal is a good time to call the professionals for crawl space cleanup.