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Dehumidifiers vs. Air Conditioners for Crawlspaces

By: Jasna Aleksandrova

Making a decision about how to take care of moisture in your crawlspace is never easy. It’s a decision that almost every homeowner will have to face at one point or another. The reason why it’s not easy to decide on a solution is that there are many different options to choose from. But which is the right one for you? One solution is to take care of insulation problems. Another solution is to find a way to maintain constant control of the humidity level, which is important, but is usually easier said than done. Depending on the current condition of your crawlspace it can be difficult to feel that you are making the right choice.

When installing proper insulation it is important to start with a drainage system. This can either be done by installing a system, if you don’t have one, or repairing your current system.  If you already have a system in place, it is important to do periodic inspections on it to make sure that it is working properly. After that, as stated in previous blogs, you’ll need to take the time to seal the space properly by sealing the walls and laying down a non-porous moisture barrier on the ground. The last decision that you need to make is to decide on the best way to control the humidity in your crawlspace. Some people say to leave the venting open on the side walls of the crawlspace so that air can circulate letting moisture escape but if it’s humid outside then it will be humid in your crawlspace. Others say that dehumidifiers and air conditioners are good solutions but which one would be better for you? In this blog we will talk about two solutions, dehumidification and air conditioning. Some people say to use one or the other and some people say to use both together.

Crawlspace Dehumidification

When the dew point equals the outside temperature moisture can start building up in your crawlspace. One solution, as we mentioned above, is a dehumidifier. These do a great job but can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars and can be expensive to run.  Also, you will have to remember to turn it on and off depending on the weather and humidity level in order to save money. This solution is good but it’s far from perfect. Some people say that using your air conditioner is better than installing a dehumidifier.

Air Conditioned Crawlspaces

An advantage of having an air conditioned crawlspace is that you, more than likely, already have an air conditioner in your home. Because of this, the only thing that you have to pay for is the additional electricity that it costs to run the air conditioner in the additional space. Using this method will help keep your home cool in the summer and warmer in the winter when you are running heat into the crawlspace, however the air conditioning/heat will be running through your crawlspace every time it is running inside your house.

When researching these two options it is easy to see why different people have different preferences. The problem with either of these solutions is that you will have a higher electricity bill no matter which one you choose. However, many people don’t mind having a higher electricity bill in order to prevent having moisture in their crawlspace which prevents moisture build-up, mold and the possibility of insect infestations. No matter what solution you choose, it’s important to maintain a dry crawlspace to prevent having to fix problems which could potentially be very expensive. As John F. Kennedy said “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” The same goes for your crawlspace.

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