A home crawl space may be too small for you to completely stand up, but they are far too important to ignore.
Without proper maintenance, accumulating debris from a loose dryer vent could pose a fire hazard and other things commonly found under a home could affect your indoor air quality.
The "stack effect" is a term used to describe when air flows through a crawl space or basement and up through each floor.
"About 40 percent of the air you breathe comes through the crawl space, up through, and exhausts out the attic," says Sean Gist with AdvantaClean of Charlotte.
This means you are taking a big whiff of whatever is lurking inside that little space, whether it's mold, mildew, animal or insect droppings.
"If you have high humidity and a crawl space, mold can start growing in a day," Gist adds.
The thin plastic liners that most crawl space homes are built over just won't cut it as a moisture barrier.
Instead, Gist recommends completely sealing your crawl space and using a dehumidifier.
This can reduce your air conditioning costs and prevent some allergy and asthma issues.
Inspecting, cleaning and sealing a crawl space is a job best left to the professionals, who say they often have to remove gobs of lint before starting.
If it takes a long time for a load of clothes to dry, that could be a sign you have a clogged dryer vent tube or it may have come undone.
When this occurs, lint can accumulate in your crawl space or basement.
Over time, this will cause these highly combustible fibers to build up inside the walls and beneath your home.
"One spark, that lint is very dry, it can easily go up [in flames]," Gist warns.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, nearly 3,000 dryer fires occur every year in the US and they cause approximately $35 million in damage.
While it may be easy to neglect examining these hard to reach places, maintaining a dry, clean crawl space will not only make your home safer, but it can also help those living inside breathe much easier.
If you have mold in your crawl space, be sure to pay attention the next time it rains to see where the water collected in the gutters winds up when it reaches the ground.
If your gutters are gushing water right next to the house, chances are it's leaking into your crawl space or basement giving mold a warm, wet place to grow.
Run-off from your roof should flush out at least six to eight feet away from your foundation.
Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.
The following information is from News-Record.com in an article entitled "Improve indoor air quality by reducing stack effect" (Source: http://triadhomes.news-record.com/content/2009/09/04/article/improve_indoor_air_quality_by_reducing_stack_effect).
The following information is from the U.S. Fire Administration in an article entitled "Statistical Reports: Residential Structure Fires" (Source: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/reports/residential_structures.shtm).
The following information is from Adrian Environmental LLC in an article entitled "Top 10 Mistakes Homeowners Make" (Source: http://www.adrianenvironmental.com/tenMistakesHomeownersMake.html).
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