Horne’s Pest Control Reminds Homeowners of Moisture Effects

Share Article

Moisture and Humidity affect a home’s crawl space in many ways. Horne's Pest Control has some tips for homeowners on how to avoid moisture control issues.

When God created the Universe He designed it so that moisture evaporates out of the soil and into the clouds. This moisture later comes down as rain. This has continued since the beginning and water today is the same water that the dinosaurs drank.

In a crawl space, this moisture evaporates up also. The purpose of the foundation vents is to allow this moisture to exit the crawl space. If a home does not have enough vents, or if it has a high soil moisture content, this moisture can evaporate up and into a home’s substructure. This will cause the wood moisture content to rise.

In the Augusta, Georgia area, the normal wood moisture content range for wood that is not in a climate-controlled setting is usually around 13 to 15 percent. When the wood moisture content gets to 18 percent for a sustained period of time (a couple of months), the wood is able to support fungus growth (mold, mildew, etc;) and corrective measures should be considered. When the wood moisture content exceeds 22 percent, corrective measures should be performed. At a 28 percent wood moisture content, the wood is considered to have active, wood-decaying fungus. This fungus causes damage. It is considered a wood-destroying organism, like termites, and therefore corrective measures are considered necessary. It is inevitable that this fungus will appear. Fungus spores are ubiquitous in the air and there are also dormant microscopic fungus spores on all non-sterile surfaces. When the surface of an organic object sustains enough moisture to support growth, fungus spores become non-dormant and grow.

Moisture problems can occur gradually. It is not uncommon for a house that was built in 1975 to be fine for 30 years and then start to develop some minor issues. There are a couple of reasons for this. If a house built 30 years ago had a wood moisture content of 13 percent at the time of construction, there would be no issues. During the course of a year the wood moisture content rises ¼ percent to 13 ¼ percent. There is still no problem. Now suppose this went on for several years. In four years the wood moisture content is 14 percent, in eight it’s 15 percent, in 12 years 16 percent, and so on. Eventually the wood moisture content elevates to a point when corrective measures should be considered.

There are multiple corrective measures that can be performed:

  •     Vapor Barriers - A vapor barrier is a thin sheet of plastic placed on top of the crawl space soil. This plastic holds the moisture in the soil and keeps it from evaporating up and into the substructure.
  •     Increased Ventilation. Ventilation can be increased by either adding more vents or adding vents that allow more free air to pass through. The standard ventilator is 8-by-16 inches, but the amount of free air varies from 28 square inches to 72 square inches.
  •     Fans. Moving air holds more moisture than stagnant air. By circulating the air, moisture can be absorbed and exhausted out of the crawl space.

Sometimes the above corrective measures are insufficient, and a crawl space just remains damp. There are a few reasons for this, but typically it is a product of humidity. Air molecules hold moisture. When the air is moving it can hold more moisture and when it is warm it can hold more moisture. During the day when it is 95 degrees and the humidity is 95 percent, the air is almost saturated with moisture. At night when the air cools to 75 degrees, it is no longer able to hold this moisture and dew or condensation forms on the grass etc. Then the next morning when it warms up, the dew or condensation is absorbed. Crawl spaces are generally cool and therefore often damp. When the warm outside air enters a crawl space, it can warm the crawl space slightly and therefore make it able to absorb the moisture. But often times it causes another problem. When the warm humid air enters the crawl space it cools and therefore extra humidity is created. This is becoming more of a problem because today’s air conditioners blow cooler air and people keep their homes cooler than they did 25 years ago. In these cases, different control measures may need to be performed:

  •     Treat the substructure with a wood preservative that inhibits fungus growth.
  •     Install a dehumidification system that allows the home to vent naturally but during extreme conditions the dehumidifier will aid in removing humidity.
  •     Encapsulate the crawl space. This is sometimes necessary but as a general rule Horne’s doesn’t recommend it. Crawl space homes are designed by architects and their construction was overseen by county building code enforcement agents. Changing them to a sealed basement may not be the best answer. In addition, sometimes effluent gasses escape out of the soil – these gasses need to exit the crawl space, not go up the foundation wall and potentially enter the living area.

It is best to have a home inspected a couple of times during the year, perhaps in the middle of spring and again in late summer. This will give a more accurate measure as to what the home’s wood moisture content is and thus the best control method to use. Please feel free to call Horne’s office and have a technician come out and advise of any potential issues.

About the company:
Horne’s Pest Control offers pest control solutions that combine the most advanced chemistry and targeted treatments in three protective layers. It takes the pest control battle directly to a home’s four defensive zones: exterior, attic, crawl space and interior. This pest control method stops a pest invasion at all possible entry points. Horne’s Pest Control also uses a comprehensive approach to termite control. Horne’s Pest Control has the most comprehensive damage repair warranty in Augusta, Ga. and Aiken, S.C. so homeowners can rest assured that their home is protected. Visit the website for more information, http://hornespestcontrol.com.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print