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Aug 06

Ray Terry – About Your House Radio discussing crawl space science, air quality and mold issues. 8-5-17

By Michael | Crawl Space

Published on August 6, 2017

I wanted to thank Ray personally for having us on his show on Saturday! We were lucky to have some of the top minds in the industry all sitting down at the same table together to discuss the intricacies of crawl space science and the effects of moisture, condensation, drainage problems, poor air quality, and mold issues inside and under homes here in Charlotte, NC, and the South Eastern U.S. in general. Any opportunity to sit down with John and Linda Eicher at Environmental Services Group Carolinas, LLC is a special treat! Linda knows her stuff and I can think of know one else in the mold and air quality industry that I trust more.

It was also a great opportunity to visit with Billy Mitchell the owner at Intellivent. He is the preferred installer of the Atmox Controlled Ventilation System here in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding counties. Billy and and I (Masserang Consulting  /  Specialty Foundation Repair) work together on a regular basis to develop and resolve condensation and structural wood challenges that effect homes here in the Charlotte area. It has been a busy summer so far, and I look forward to working with Ray, Billy, John, Linda, and all of the engineers at Intelligent Design Engineering as well as Steve Michael and Miriam Breedlove at Atmox Systems to educate the public on developing cost effective science based solutions for customers without breaking the budget. We appreciate Ray’s hospitality and look forward to the next opportunity to get on the air. And always remember, Don’t Encapsulate, Ventilate! Have a great summer! Visit the attached link to hear the show!

Best Regards,

Michael P. Masserang/Billy Mitchell

Listen to the audio 8/5/17:

About Your House Radio

Every Saturday morning Host Ray Terry helps steer you in the right direction with information About Your House. This isn’t just any info. Every week Host Ray Terry and his guest give you information that you can count on and trust to get the job done right, the first time.

Aug 05

Coupon – Grab it Now! Expires August 31

By Michael | Crawlspace Encapsulation

$200 off your crawl space or basement project …
Click on the image and sign up.


Sep 02

Encapsulated Crawl Space Odors

By Michael | Crawlspace Encapsulation

Encapsulation - CAT URINE 2Odors and smells in encapsulated crawlspaces

We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls lately from clients that are frustrated with their sealed crawl spaces. In the Charlotte, North Carolina market, and the surrounding counties, 90% of residential construction is crawl space construction. Since crawlspace construction is problematic especially during the hot humid summer months, the Charlotte market has had an explosion of companies claiming to be experts offering a sealed crawl space solution. The solution is 10 to 15 years old, and has some inherent challenges. Most of these companies are jumping in on the feeding frenzy as a way to sell more things to their customers. The challenge with this scenario is most of these companies have very little to no education on why the problem happens. Franchisees send out commission based sales people to the customer’s home claiming to be experts with a basic crash course of 2 to 3 days from the manufacturer, a laptop, glossy brochure, and a go get em tiger approach towards the public that they pretend to serve. Since the salespeople are commission based they tend to over design and embellish the problem in an attempt to make a big sale. I am finding customers are being overcharged two to three times what the actual repair value was worth. High-pressure sales techniques such as fear, intimidation, and flat-out lies about potential health threats have been reported. This is a very disingenuous tactic and gives the industry a black eye. Here are the facts about the challenges with encapsulated crawlspaces:

1. When you encapsulate a crawl space, you encapsulate all of the odors and smells inside the space
2. Construction materials such as wood members, insulation, plastic, the acidity in the soil, etc. all off gas odors, and these odors can percolate up into the living areas.
3. HVAC systems that are installed inside the crawlspace using natural gas can also be a challenge inside a sealed crawlspace especially if it is not properly vented at the time of construction.
4. The heavy mil plastic that some of these companies use to encapsulate the crawlspace often off gas terrible odors that are often reported right after the install.
5. If there are currently any biofilm contaminants infesting the floor joists, insulation, or subflooring, these fungal or mold colonies also off gas odors that can now percolate up into the living spaces.
6. If the crawlspace was encapsulated with a drainage problem, moisture can build up under the liner and cause the development of mold which off gases odor that smells like cat urine. This is a huge problem as most companies do not install foundation drains when they encapsulate.
7. Without the induction of fresh air, there is no way for these odors and smells to escape, so they grow in intensity and often get worse during the summer months.
8. Encapsulated crawlspaces require an expensive dehumidifier to reduce moisture. Dehumidifiers are humidistat controlled devices and are extremely inefficient in crawl spaces especially in cooler temperatures and require 800 Watts of power to operate. This can increase your power Bill $15-$20 a month in certain cases.
9. Because dehumidifiers are humidistat control devices, they do not turn off at the right time and could potentially overheat around the compressor. This is a challenge with store-bought dehumidifiers or the big commercial jobs. Dehumidifiers often need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years, and this can run the customer $1500 at each replacement.

The good news is, if you are having challenges with your sealed crawlspace, the crawl space can be retrofitted with a dewpoint controlled fan system. This system uses state-of-the-art technology with a series of interior, exterior, and wood moisture sensors that gather atmospheric data and efficiently control the introduction of outside air into the crawlspace when it is conducive for exchange. Basically, if it’s drier outside that it is under the house we utilize the outside air. When it is too cold to hot or too moist outside we block that outside air and utilize the internal dead corner fans, and if necessary a backup dehumidifier that is tied into the controls for peak efficiency.

If you have a sealed crawlspace that is giving you challenges, or are considering encapsulating the crawlspace, please give us a call first to get educated on the science before making that decision. We are here to help.

Don’t encapsulate! Ventilate!