Should You Install a Dehumidifier in Your Crawl Space?

When considering a dehumidifier for your crawl space, the cost of the unit is not the cost that must be considered.

Vapor Barrier

A damp crawl space that is improperly insulated can lead to rot and mold growth.A damp crawl space that is improperly insulated can lead to rot and mold growth.
Dehumidifiers are essentially self-contained air conditioners and use the equivalent electricity. A crawl space dehumidifier can be an effective way to reduce the moisture in your crawl space, but it can also rapidly become an expensive proposition.

A good vapor barrier can go a long way toward keeping any moisture in your crawl space from entering your home. Vapor barriers are installed on the floor joists, or ceiling of the crawl space, and work to insulate the house. This traps moisture in the crawl space, where it can be more easily dealt with through ventilation and, if need be, a dehumidifier.

Ground Cover

There are many commercial materials available that can be rolled out on the ground in your crawl space to prevent moisture from rising up from the ground. The ground cover can then be covered with gravel to weigh it down and further prevent moisture accumulation and any pooling on the cover.

Sump Pumps

If standing water is a problem in your crawl space, a dehumidifier is not the most cost-effective way to go about removing the water. A sump pump installation can work to prevent the water from rising into your crawl space, in a similar fashion to how a sump pump will keep a basement from flooding.

Dehumidifier

If all else fails and a dehumidifier is necessary, you cannot use a household dehumidifier. Crawl space dehumidifiers are designed to operate at temperatures lower than standard units. A crawl space dehumidifier will need a drain line, as you will not want to have to climb down to the unit every few hours to change the condensation catch. Make sure the unit you purchase is rated for your crawl space's square footage.

About the Author

Andrew Leahey has been a writer since 1999, covering topics as varied as technology how-to guides and the politics of genetically modified organisms to African food supplies. He is pursuing his J.D. while renovating an 1887 farmhouse located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.