If you're in the process of building a new home and it has a crawl space, your contractor might have talked to you about crawl space encapsulation. This process allows you to seal your crawl space off, which makes your home more energy efficient. Once the crawl space has been encapsulated, however, it can tend to develop a moisture problem. This is particularly true if your new home is located in a humid region of the United States. To prevent moisture buildup, you'll need to provide adequate ventilation for your crawl space. Here are three methods you can use to ventilate your encapsulated crawl space and reduce moisture.
Run the HVAC Unit Through the Crawl Space
If the duct work for your new HVAC system is going to be running through the crawlspace, you can use it to reduce moisture. Your HVAC contractor will need to install several vents inside the crawl space. Once they're in place, air will be circulated through the crawl space each time your heater or air conditioner is running. One of the benefits of using your existing HVAC ducts is that no other construction needs to be performed.
Bring in an Exhaust Fan
If the duct work to your HVAC system won't be traveling through your crawl space, you can still circulate the air to reduce moisture. Simply install an exhaust fan in the crawl space. You don't need a large, industrial-sized exhaust fan either. All you need is one similar to the type used over your kitchen stove or in the bathroom. While the exhaust fan is running, it will circulate the air, drawing the moist air out of the crawl space and bringing in dry air from outside.
Install a Dehumidifier
If the humidity levels can be a problem where you live, you might want to consider having a dehumidifier installed in your crawl space. The humidifier will draw moisture out of the air, leaving your crawl space with the dry air it needs to prevent mold growth. It should be noted that your dehumidifier will need to be properly maintained, or you could end up with excess water build-up in the crawl space, especially if the unit malfunctions during extreme humidity.
If you're going to encapsulate your basement, make sure you're prepared to control the humidity. The tips provided here will reduce moisture buildup, which will help prevent mold growth in your crawl space. For additional information regarding encapsulation and moisture control, be sure to speak to your HVAC contractor.