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Homeowner Nightmares

Want a good a health-scare? Check your crawlspace.

Beware… an invisible, unhealthy area of your home may be making you sick.

Where is the nastiest place in your home? Behind the refrigerator? Under the washing machine? Around the toilet? Nope. The nastiest place in your home is a place you may not even be aware of… and it’s right under your feet.

Under your floor is the crawlspace, an area rife with dust, disease and crawly creatures. This small dark world may be out of sight, but its toxic environment permeates your every breath, and affects the health of the entire structure…even in the most beautiful and expensive homes.

Crawlspaces are shallow, uninhabitable areas located between the soil and the first floor of the home. They are typically excavated below grade and are meant to provide ventilation and access to the foundation, framing, and utility systems running below the floor. This area is avoided by everyone except brave plumbers and termite inspectors. Who can blame them? They are at best poorly designed, and barely accessible.

Image of the crawlspace area of your home
Crawlspace (uninsulated)

After just a few years of neglect, crawl areas can become universally unhealthy and dangerous places for humans. Even for pros equipped with protective gear, descending into a crawlspace abyss is no picnic. Inspectors are regularly confronted with abandoned construction debris, mold, termites, spiders, wood rot, plumbing leaks, mud, standing water, raw sewage, sharp nails, empty beer cans, reptiles and both living and deceased rodents. Homeowners would be appalled if they could see the conditions just inches under their feet.

Why does my house smell musty?

Even though you don’t see it, the crawlspace is affecting you. The reason for this is that air from the crawlspace permeates into your home and mixes with the air you breathe. It gets in through leaky heating ducts, around holes cut for plumbing and electrical lines and through minute cracks or other openings in the subfloor.

If you want a healthier home, inspecting and cleaning up any mess in your crawl space is the best place to start. Maintaining the crawl area in a fresh, dry condition, protected from rodent and insect intrusion is a necessity to better air quality and health in your home. One fairly quick fix that will greatly improve your indoor air quality is to check around all of your floor mounted heat registers. Seal any gaps you find with a heavy duty duct tape and patch any gaps you find in duct joints. This will help your heating bill also.

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HomePreservationManual.com is the place to visit if you want information on

  • maintaining your home
  • how to improve air quality
  • ways to improve the real value of your home
  • what are the best housekeeping services
  • the problems with handymen services
  • how to plan and execute home renovation and home improvement projects
  • tips for spring cleaning; tidying up a messy house
  • and generally how to be a better homeowner.

Make sure you download your monthly maintenance checklist for this month.

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Copyright and permission to use information.

If you have questions or just want to say hi, please send me a note. If you are looking for help performing the work described and you are in the San Francisco area, go to HPS Palo Alto Inc.and request a free evaluation.

As a reminder, it is unlawful to make copies including cut and paste or especially in the form of making printouts for reuse. If you wish to make a print for personal use, I will happily grant you one-time permission if you will kindly send me a request in writing.

Thanks again!