• May 29, 2022

Pests: Your Crawl Space’s Dirty Little Secret

Pest. Even the sound of the word is annoying. What home owner wants pests in their home? Regardless of their significance in the food chain it is bad enough that pests pester us every where else: at the ball field, walking in the yard, even in the grocery store. The last place you want a pest to show up is in your home. Ok, let me define ‘pest’. Very simply, pests are unwanted insects and rodents. Homeowners are woefully unaware of the insects and rodents that reside in their crawl space. And whether you like it or not there is a high probability that a cornucopia of pests make their into your home. Is that what you want? I didn’t think so. Well there are a number of reasons why pests like to live so close to you and I assure you it has nothing to do with your good looks. And by the way, there are ways to get rid of them too.

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The first reason pests may reside in your crawl space is because of poor insulation. If your HVAC duct is poorly insulated or your sub-floor is non-insulated then you are releasing warm air into your crawl space creating a cozy space for a rodent to reside best pedestal sumps. Possums, raccoons, rats, mice, and other rodents will make their way in your home likely during the winter months. Don’t think that you get a break in the summer! In the warmer months snakes and other cold blooded vermin will likely look to move in under your home looking for a break from the heat. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I know, you have always been a social person, but I think this over does it a bit. In addition most areas under the home have general gaps and openings that allow for rodents to ‘come and go’ at will and even raid your pantry and other food sources when you are not around. Did you intent to implement an open door policy for every Tom, Dick, and Harry rodent when you moved into your house?
 
Another reason insects and rodents may come into your crawl space is in search of water. Yes, the kind one would drink…yes, the kind necessary to sustain life. Even pests need a drink every now and then, but they don’t have to have it at your house. Most spaces under the home are damp and moist and some of the worst kinds, God forbid, have standing water. This creates the perfect invitation for insects and rodents of all types to ‘check in’….and when they realize how good the accommodations are they very well may never leave and many often choose to raise a family there as well. This is one of life’s homeowner tragedies. Increased humidity in the space underneath your home along with moist and damp wood can also bring in some of the worst kinds of pests, the cold blooded killers of the crawl: Termites and Carpenter Ants. In addition, water beetles, spiders, ants, and many other types of insects will happily circle around the watering holes underneath your home at your expense.
 
So, ‘What do I do?’ you may ask? In very simple words the absolute best thing you can do is completely dry out your crawl space. It is not difficult to do but you will likely want to bring a professional in to evaluate that space’s unique environment and design a specific solution for your home. In short I recommend every homeowner to do a few things: 1. Insure that the external below-grade portion of your home’s foundation walls has been waterproofed. This will keep water from penetrating from the sides into the soil underneath your house. 2. Insure there is no standing water under your home. If there is standing water, this may be addressed by following step 1 above and then possibly installing a French drain and sump pump, if needed. 3. I advise every crawl space owning homeowner to seriously consider having installed either a sealed, encapsulation, or a conditioned crawl space. This will completely seal off the space from the outside allowing you to control the environment. There are tons of articles on this so please read up to understand more about them. 4. If you decide not to seal your crawl there are some intermediate, yet not perfect solutions, that can help. For example, correctly and completely installing a high quality thick plastic vapor barrier and anchor to the interior of the crawl wall. A French drain with sump pump will also get you moving the right direction to dry out the ground under the house.

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