How to Dry Out a Crawlspace

Having a clean and dry crawlspace is the backbone of having a healthy home.
A damp crawlspace can act as a catalyst for health problems such as ear, nose and throat congestion and irritation or lung illnesses or infections. Having a wet, moldy crawlspace can undermine the solidity of your home: vermin are living beneath the floors, wooden floors are becoming warped, and a foul, musty smell pervades. You can, however, take steps to dry out your crawlspace yourself.

Step 1

Determine where the moisture is coming from and take steps to prevent it. You may have a leaky roof, crack in the foundation or runoff from rain that is not directed away from the house. Find the problem and repair it calling in professionals as necessary.

Step 2

Remove all debris from the crawlspace, such as cardboard boxes and especially fiber-glass insulation as these things encourage mold growth and vermin habitation.

Step 3

Lay a moisture barrier on the clean floor and extend it upwards to the walls, but not covering any windowsills or frames.

Step 4

Install a dehumidification system within the crawlspace. Set the dehumidifier at 45% RH or lower as that will give the crawlspace an all-around balanced level of decreased humidity. It will also give the room some heat which will help it dry out.

Things You Will Need

  • Garbage bags
  • Gloves
  • Moisture barrier
  • Dehumidifier

Tip

  • A moisture barrier is an enormous plastic sheet, often with anti-fungal properties that prevents moisture from entering a space from the outside. However, if the proper precautions are not taken in step 1, this measure will become ineffective.

Warnings

  • Call a professional if your crawlspace contains asbestos or large amounts of mold.
  • Never attempt to remove mold or asbestos without using protective gear.

About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."