When it comes to taking care of our homes, most of us focus on the usual maintenance that is easy to spot; making sure appliances are working, floors and roof are in good condition, weather stripping on doors, windows are sealed tight etc.. Most homeowners understand that keeping their house in good shape is important to preserving what is usually their largest asset in life. One area that is frequently overlooked however, is what lies just beneath our feet; the crawlspace. Whether your home is 100 years old, or relatively new, it's important to incorporate an annual inspection of your crawlspace into your home maintenance routine to avoid possible long term damage.
Common Crawl Space Issues
There are numerous issues that can be found under your home and like many other maintenance problems, time is of the essence. The crawlspace can be a common area to find moisture issues. Whether it came from rain, flooding, or a plumbing issue, water leaking under the home is something that should be dealt with quickly. Moisture, especially in humid climates, can lead to harmful biological growth such as mold which will need to be properly dealt with. You'll also want to keep an eye out for insect infestations; mosquitos thrive in damp, warm environments. A recurring water issue under the home is important to note and might be cause for installing a sump pump to keep things dry.
Detect Foundation Issues
It's also important to check for any foundation issues during a crawl space inspection. Structural shifting or cracks in the perimeter can sometimes occur over time and are important to fix to keep your home safe. Aside from ground settling, foundation issues are also possible due to root penetration from trees or vegetation. When inspecting any wooden structural support under your home, keep an eye out for signs of termites or carpenter ants which can create colonies and cause silent damage over time.
Checking the insulation and HVAC duct connections under your home is also important. Look for any insulation that is hanging down and out of place. Be sure to note any visible issues with plumbing or electrical wiring that runs underneath the home. Check to see that all HVAC ductwork is in good condition. Insulation and HVAC ductwork are particularly susceptible to rodents if they have settled under your home. Damage from rodents can require repair, cleaning and possible replacement of HVAC system parts if they go undetected for long periods of time.
Checking your crawl space regularly will help you keep track of any possible issues with structural support or hidden pest infestations such as termites or rodents. During your inspection pay extra attention to any gaps in the perimeter that should be sealed to keep out pests. As you finish inspecting your crawlspace, be sure to remove any debris you've discovered under your home to help this area remain dry, secure and pest free. Making this an annual routine will help your home stay in good shape for many years to come.