Crawl spaces are convenient ways to physically reach areas of your home that normally would require significant excavation. While these neat spaces are handy and helpful when trouble strikes above your ceiling or under the home, crawl spaces can also unfortunately attract moisture, mold, contaminants, leaks, and even animals.
These are three quick facts about crawlspaces, and the potential problems that might arise with them.
1. Animals love crawl spaces. Sometimes in a desperate attempt to find shelter, an animal might work its way into a homes and take up residence in the crawl space. This can lead to damages in and around the crawl space, constant noise around the clock, terrible smells, and even aggression from the animal when attempts are made to remove it.
As a rule of thumb, you should never attempt to poison an animal in order to remedy the problem. Not only is it inhumane, but the animal could perish and putrefy, possibly creating an even bigger problem.
For small animals, removal should consist of using glue boards in the crawl space daily until the animal is trapped. Check the area multiple times throughout the day to see if the trap has worked, and if it has, remove the animal and release it into the wild.
For large animals, something as simple as a rag soaked in ammonia is enough to do the trick. Because animals strongly dislike the smell emitted by ammonia, it’s a good idea to leave this various rags in the crawl space for an extended period of time. Moth balls are also particularly good at repelling animals.
Additionally, you can illuminate the crawl space with a lamp or floodlight, and consider playing noisy music as well. Animals prefer quiet, dark areas, so this will likely increase the odds of the intruder vacating the area to find a better shelter.
2. Your crawl space is a breeding ground for mold and contaminants. Due to the nature of the confined space and its unique location, it is often unfortunately susceptible to problems with mold and moisture. Specifically, your crawl space can accumulate lots of standing water, moisture that has been evaporated from the ground and into your home, and heightened humidity from improper ventilation. This can translate to costly repairs if the problem is not fixed early enough.
This is why regular crawl space maintenance is so imperative. If you haven’t done so yet, it might be time for an inspection.
3. Crawl space maintenance and repair does not file under the “DIY” category. Because this type of maintenance/repair requires extensive knowledge and experience in crawl space care and dangers, it’s generally not a good idea for the average homeowner to attempt any projects associated with it. Instead, contact an experienced, licensed professional to diagnose and recommend the necessary repairs.