You never know what may be in your crawl space. Dust, dirt, debris, fungi, mold, bugs, and rodents are just a few things you might find down there. And if your crawl space is contaminated, upward-moving air can bring pathogens directly into your home. It should be inspected at least once a year. If you’re not sure how to proceed, here are a few professional tips for crawl space dirt removal.
Measure Your Crawl Space
Knowing its size enables you to know what tools and supplies you’ll need and how long the process might take. Planning can make the job much easier. Assessing the area beforehand also helps determine whether you need a professional.
Check for Infestations
The surface of the crawl space is bare ground. It is also dark and often damp. You may encounter a wide range of insects and pests, including rodents. Dead rodents can cause odors, while rodent urine and droppings can harbor dangerous pathogens. Pests can be dangerous even if they don’t enter your home. If you find a serious infestation, you may need a professional to remediate it before you proceed.
Get Rid of Debris
A crawl space may be littered with wood, cardboard, construction waste, old asbestos insulation, and other items. Remove these to obtain better access so you can more thoroughly clean the area.
Check for Leaks
Inspect plumbing lines that run through the space. Even if there’s just a small leak, it can affect water drainage and turn into a larger problem later. Photograph leaking pipes or fittings, so you can help a professional figure out the problem and what to do about it.
You want to prevent outside air from getting into the crawl space. By sealing the area against air and water, you can more effectively prevent pest issues. And where there’s dirt there’s usually moisture, so you want to keep it as dry as possible. Install a crawl space dehumidifier to remove moisture and eliminate moisture-related odors.
Vacuum the Dirt
Use a vacuum cleaner effective at trapping dust particles and that won’t stir up additional dust. A shop vac is more effective for this project. Do not use water during crawl space dirt removal. It will increase moisture and humidity, allowing mold and fungi to grow.
Remove Contaminated/Excess Soil
Contaminated soil should be completely removed. You may also want to remove the soil to make more room. A heavy-duty shovel can be used to break up and haul out soil, although this can be a time-consuming and physically demanding process.
Remove Damaged Insulation
Many pests find insulation material to be perfect for harborage and nesting. Unless you have the skills and materials, you’ll need a professional to remove and replace torn, shredded, or otherwise damaged insulation materials. When they’re done, your crawl space will be protected.
Disinfect the Crawl Space
Use specialized disinfecting and sanitizing products, especially if there are dried-up sewer leaks, where there can be bacteria and other pathogens. Call a professional to clean and sanitize any sewage spills. Much of the air in your home comes from the crawl space, so cleaning and disinfecting it is very important.
Waterproof the Crawl Space
A plastic vapor barrier separates the crawl space from your living area. Encapsulating the space is a larger, professional job but can protect your crawl space and home for a long time. Also, make sure gutters and downspouts aren’t blocked, and always route water away from your home. Installing a french drain and sump pump in the crawl space can help as well.
When to Call a Crawl Space Dirt Removal Professional
Cleaning and treating a crawl space isn’t for everybody. Whether you’re not up to the task or have a leaky pipe, water accumulating, or musty odors, it’s important to have a professional take a look. At Restorerz, we specialize in crawl space cleanup. Using powerful water extractors, vacuums, industrial-grade dehumidifiers, and other professional-quality equipment, our team can resolve any crawl space issue. Call 323-970-4705 to get started.