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Ask Mr. Crawlspace

Is It Safe To Climb Into My Home’s Crawlspace?

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Underneath many homes, between the ground and the first floor of the home, there is a hollow and narrow space called a crawlspace. The name comes from the fact that in order to get inside of this space, one must basically crawl into and crawl around in it. This space is usually between one and three feet high with a concrete floor. Some have ducts, electrical wires, and exposed pipes going through them. Like a basement or attic, the crawl space must be inspected periodically in order to fix potential problems. It can be a dangerous place to enter depending on the condition of it, but it is possible. There is a safe way to crawl into a home’s crawl space.

Reasons for Inspecting a Crawl Space:

To look for water drainage problems which would be indicated by pooling or standing water. The source of the water may or may not be easily visible at first.

To see if rodents or other pests are there. Rodent droppings or pin like holes in wood supports are not a good sign. Termites, spiders, and roaches are known for residing in crawl spaces.

To check for damaged or missing insulation. If insulation is hanging from the sub-flooring or lying on the cement floor, it needs to be replaced.

To see if any pipes are leaking. These can be patched or replaced depending on the leak. Also, some exposed pipes may need insulation.

To see if the foundation is damaged. This is one of the most important reasons to inspect a crawl space.

Protective Gear Needed for Inspecting a Crawl Space:

Flashlight to make it easier to see the space. This is necessary in a crawl space even in the daytime.

Goggles to prevent debris and dust from getting into your eyes. Without this protection, the eyes may get irritated or damaged.

Respirator with a filter, which is a device worn over the face and nose to prevent the inhalation of any substance harmful to the lungs.

Gloves to protect the hands from harsh surfaces, moisture, or toxic materials. These not only protect the hands from damage but also from simply touching something gross.

Knee pads because the knees can become bruised from repeatedly hitting the concrete floor while crawling.

Tyvek suit or jumpsuit, both of which are designed to protect the entire body against hazardous materials. They are made of a special kind of plastic that is both durable and easy to move in.

Helmet or padded hat to protect the head which may bump into the ceiling or floor of the crawlspace. A padded hat is an option here since it may be easier to get into the space than a helmet, but a helmet is preferred.

Final Note:

Crawl space inspections are best done in the spring, since it will be easier to carry out this task when the weather is not too hot or too cold. Safely entering and exiting a crawlspace is possible with protective gear and it is recommended that this activity is done with a partner or two in case help is needed. Fixing any problems that are found in the crawlspace is essential to preventing water damage, pest problems, or other issues from spreading to other places in the home.

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