Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 by Andy Hudgins
Breaking the Ecological Chain
“Chain chain chain…” Aretha Franklin, 1967
There are lots of reading materials available on the topic of crawl space shortcomings relative to the overall health and energy efficiency of homes. There's empirical data accumulated over years of scrutiny which strongly suggest that home builders are doing it wrong.
It's a strange topic to find one's self interested in but, I am interested and, I freely admit it. But the authors can't help the fact that the material naturally requires a bit of effort on the part of even an enthusiastic reader to slog through. I've done this slogging. I've paid some dues.
For example, a must-read is
Joseph Lstiburek's article, New Light in Crawl Spaces
where the disadvantages of floor joist batt insulation as it pertains to psychrometric performance and the resulting wood moisture content in crawl space building materials are discussed in detail.
Were you slogging some just then? Feel my pain. Then, after lots of reading, most of the points are similar and key words are the same; vapor permeance, impermeable groundcover, ventilation air change rate, mold.
So, imagine dear reader an impressionable, malleable brain such as mine as it stumbles upon a new and exciting literary flourish; a veritable literary lily in a fallow field of crawl space encapsulation data. Wait for it...
‘It breaks the ecological chain’.
“Was blind but now I see...” Amazing Grace, 1773
This catchy phrase is a polite way of saying that your home over a crawl space is part and parcel of the old primordial soup of decomposition; it is walking hand in hand up to the alter in the church of decay, married to one of nature’s most dependable suitors, Rot, which unfortunately can sometimes start a musty family right under your feet or rather, under possibly the biggest investment you might ever make. Here is the eco chain language I have stumbled across while perusing crawl space encapsulation material:
".... membrane can help insulate the crawl space and at the same time discourage the
occupation of insects and vermin in the crawl space. This is because the protective
membrane breaks the ecological chain involving insects feeding off mold and vermin
feeding on insects. Furthermore, such membranes provide a physical inorganic barrier
that prevents the entrance of these organisms into the crawl space."
“Welcome to the Jungle....” Guns N' Roses, 1987
Believe me, there is a battle being waged for survival down there. Both microscopic and macroscopic warriors require energy in the form of food.
Quite often that food source is the building materials of your home.
An encapsulation system installed by an experienced crew eliminates the ingredients required for this jungle to swing from the vines (roll the jungle sound audio). We combine rugged materials and equipment with substantial warranties to accomplish your goals.
We drop the humidity levels from the current 70-100% range to hovering around an ideal 50% year round which in turn reduces the wood moisture content of all wood material in the crawl to the ideal 10-15% range. Once these two percentages are established, the first link in the old ecological chain will be broken and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.