Crawl spaces and unfinished basements can be strange places. Some we’ve seen over the years are as mysterious (and creepy) as the average ghost tour this time of year.
You can hear scary scuttling sounds but you can’t see what’s making them. An ominous “drip, drip, drip” in a corner causes your heart to beat a little faster. And that green fungus slowly spreading over the back wall… well, you don’t want to get any closer than you have to.
But eventually you know you are going to have to venture in there – all the way in there. After all, this is part of your home.
We have some timely tips to help make fall basement maintenance and safety inspections easier this year (and far less spooky in the future).
4 Urgent Reasons Your Basement or Crawl Space Needs Maintenance
Besides the fact that there may be undesirables in your subterranean space, you’ll want to do some timely fall maintenance so you can spot small problems before they become big ones.
1. Water and damp
The number one reason to head down into your crawl space or unfinished basement before winter arrives is to check for the presence of damp, humidity, moisture or efflorescence (mineral salts left behind after moisture evaporates). And you definitely want to know if your space has accumulated standing water from a persistent leak!
Whether the damp is coming from an old-school ventilation system gone bust, a rusted out plumbing pipe or some other reason, it will eventually lead to mould, mildew and a host of thirsty insects and critters unless you do something to stop it.
2. Pests and critters
Speaking of insects and critters, to them your basement doesn’t look scary at all – it looks like a safe haven from their daily adventures in the food chain of life.
The dustier, dirtier, stinkier, danker and darker your space becomes, the more denizens of the great outdoors will be drawn to it for refuge, food, water, nesting materials and, eventually, access into your home above.
3. Insulation issues
Critters love insulation and water degrades it. Either way, if your subterranean space is outfitted with older insulation it is just a matter of time before it becomes damaged due to one or both influences.
As well, insulation does break down over time and it is quite likely that the insulation that was originally installed in your space was not moisture-resistant. If your upstairs seasonal heating and cooling bills are escalating, this might also be the real culprit.
4. HVAC and electrical issues
Another thing that critters adore is cozy, comfy, sheltering HVAC units and (don’t ask us why) electrical wiring. Rodents like rats and mice, possums and raccoons can’t seem to resist chewing on it, which can trigger a home fire in short order.
For a band of ants or family of mice who have nothing but time on their hands and all the motivation in the world to keep trying, they will eventually find a way inside your HVAC system and wall insulation and over to your electrical wires and utility lines, and then nature will take its course.
What to Do to Inspect & Maintain Your Crawl Space
Take these steps to inspect your crawl space or basement and determine what fall maintenance it needs.
1. Do a visual inspection
Take a good look around in your basement or crawl space. In particular, look to see if you can identify any of the four major safety issues we just reviewed here. Write down your concerns.
2. Get out your dustpan and broom
If all looks basically in order, all you need to do is give your space a good cleaning. This will ensure you haven’t missed any mould or mildew, wasps nests, ant hives, roach motels, mouse nests or other fall concerns that could become winter hazards.
3. Weatherstrip, caulk, seal and insulate as needed
Time itself can cause damage to weatherstripping, caulking, sealant and insulation that is designed to prevent air from leaking out of your home into your crawl space and vice versa. By sealing up any gaps or cracks, you protect your budget as well as your space from winter’s chill.
4. Check your sump pump and backup sump pump system
If you have a sump pump in your space, it is vital to check and make sure it is functioning properly.
If you don’t have a backup for your existing sump pump, installing a battery or generator-powered backup system is critical to protect your home.
Get in Touch
Are you still reluctant to brave the dark, damp and dirty to tackle fall basement maintenance on your own?
We have good news – you don’t have to! Give us a call and we will go in there for you, clean out your space, encapsulate it, insulate it and give it back to you as good as new!
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.