Crawl space encapsulation is taking the cleaning and restoration industry by storm. There is a major need for moisture control in crawl spaces and not enough companies are providing quality solutions.
Most of the contractors currently in the crawl space encapsulation field are not experienced in moisture control, and it shows. This places moisture control specialists, like restorers, in a prime position to help their customers. Additionally, the average project is well in excess of $5,000. This, plus high profit margins, make this a great diversification for restoration professionals.
For these reasons, industry experts believe in just a few years most restorers in the U.S. will be offering crawl space encapsulation alongside mold remediation and water and fire cleanup services.
Crawl space encapsulation is a moisture control system that uses engineering controls to both block and remove humidity and water from a crawl space. This is a critically important system for the more than 26 million crawl spaces in the United States.
The traditional crawl space has vents that are presumed to allow excess humidity to flow out of the crawl space. The problem is these vents are a two-way access. High humidity also flows into crawl spaces. Here’s why high humidity outside is a problem for a ventilated crawl space.
Let’s say the outside conditions are 85 degrees Fahrenheit with 55 percent relative humidity and a dew point of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. This could be a typical summer day for much of the U.S. With the vents to the crawl space open, the dew point of the air in the crawl space and the outside air will equalize.
The issue is the crawl space is much cooler than the outside air, and this will send the relative humidity in the crawl space soaring. If the air temperature in the crawl space is 72 degree Fahrenheit, the relative humidity will be 85 percent! This is well above the 60 percent threshold for mold growth. This is the reason crawl spaces are so often covered in mold.
What is the solution? Humidity management. Block the humidity from entering the crawl space as much as possible; then use dehumidification to remove what makes it into the crawl space. Do not follow the internet myth that opening an HVAC duct in the crawl space will control humidity. This can cause massive moisture damage in a crawl space.
Crawl space encapsulation is so effective that some states are in the process of requiring that all new crawl spaces be encapsulated.
To date there has been a lot of misinformation presented regarding crawl space encapsulation. There have also been no training courses for encapsulation. If you wanted to get into the business, you really had to guess what to do. Not anymore. Classes are starting to become available.
Here are three reason restorers should start offering crawl space encapsulation immediately:
#1 You are already an expert in humidity management
Restoration contractors know more about humidity management than any other contractor industry. While drying and humidity control is somewhat different, managing humidity is what we do. Applying that experience to crawl space encapsulation makes obvious sense. You just need to learn the process of crawl space encapsulation.
#2 You are already remediating mold and water damage in crawl spaces
Crawl space encapsulation is desperately needed wherever there are crawl spaces. If you are remediating mold in crawl spaces, how do you prevent it from returning? The fact is, without appropriate moisture control, the mold will return in a quickly.
Proper encapsulation can permanently end mold growth in crawl spaces. Additionally, crawl space encapsulation can be scheduled around emergency work. That means instead of paying techs to wash the trucks again and scrub the air movers one more time, you can put them into a revenue-generating project between emergency projects.
#3 There’s now a two-day, hands-on crawl space encapsulation specialist course
Quit watching the hilariously inaccurate internet videos. You can learn processes you can trust in one of the new crawl space encapsulation courses. These have been developed through a collaborative effort between restoration experts, building science gurus, the largest crawl space research organization in the world and the number one manufacturer of humidity control for crawl spaces.
The window of opportunity to take advantage of this new service in your area is open. Other contractors are jumping into crawl space encapsulation. Google crawl space encapsulation and see there are contractors already doing this in your area. Unfortunately, all too often they aren’t doing it correctly. Take a course in crawl space encapsulation and fill the need for a trained specialist in your area.
Jeremy Reets operates Sharpsburg, GA-based Reets Drying Academy, www.ReetsDryingAcademy.com, where he hosts and instructs IICRC WRT, ASD and Restoration Estimating Courses. He produces ReetsTV, a 130-module online water damage restoration training series. Reets is the innovator behind the Reets Evaporation Method, the Evaporation Potential Formula and the TES drying system. He can be reached at Support@ReetsDryingAcademy.com.
Matt Light is a crawl space encapsulation specialist. He brings more than 20 years of training experience to the classroom at Reets Drying Academy.