Dehumidifier in Crawl Space Without Encapsulation

Using Dehumidifier in Crawl Space Without Encapsulation:Say Goodbye to Moisture


Crawl spaces are notorious for moisture issues, leading to mold growth, wood rot, and structural damage. However, installing a crawlspace dehumidifier can be an effective and affordable solution for controlling moisture levels without the need for expensive encapsulation.

Why Crawl Space Moisture is a Problem

Factors like groundwater seepage, condensation, and poor ventilation can cause excess moisture in crawl spaces. This moisture creates an ideal environment for mold, mildew, and pests to thrive, posing health risks and compromising the home's structural integrity.

Mold and mildew growth can cause respiratory issues and allergic reactions. Excessive moisture also leads to wood rot, compromising the structural integrity of framing and flooring. Additionally, a damp crawl space can attract pests like termites and wood-boring insects, leading to further damage.

Addressing moisture issues in the crawl space is crucial for maintaining a healthy living environment and protecting the longevity and value of your home.

Moisture Control Options for Crawl Spaces

There are several approaches to controlling moisture levels in a crawl space, ranging from basic solutions to comprehensive encapsulation systems. The appropriate method depends on factors like the extent of moisture issues, budget, and accessibility constraints.

Using a Dehumidifier in Crawl Space Alone

One option is to use a dehumidifier in crawl space without encapsulation. This can be a more affordable upfront solution compared to encapsulation.


- Directly targets humidity levels by extracting moisture from the air.

- More cost-effective than full encapsulation.

- Suitable for moderate moisture issues or as a temporary measure.


- Does not prevent outside moisture infiltration from sources like groundwater.

- May struggle to keep up with constant moisture intrusion.

- Less effective and energy-efficient than encapsulation in the long run.

Proper drainage, crawl space cleaning, and maintenance are crucial for optimal performance when used alone.

Using a Dehumidifier in Crawl Space Without Encapsulation

Crawl space encapsulation is a process of sealing the crawl space with a vapor barrier, typically a thick plastic lining. This barrier covers the walls, floor, and any exposed soil, creating an airtight and moisture-resistant environment. Encapsulation is effective in preventing moisture intrusion and controlling humidity levels in the crawl space.

However, encapsulation can be a costly and complex process, often requiring professional installation. It also involves additional steps and costs, such as insulating the crawl space walls and installing a dehumidifier or ventilation system.

Encapsulation is Not Always Feasible

While encapsulating a crawl space is often recommended, there are situations where it may not be viable:

Access and Space Constraints: Some crawl spaces have extremely limited access or very low clearance heights, making encapsulation difficult or impossible.

Historic or Heritage Buildings: For historic buildings or homes with heritage designations, encapsulation may not be permitted due to regulations around modifying the original structure.

Temporary Housing Situations: In cases where the occupancy of a home is temporary, such as a rental property, the investment in encapsulation may not make financial sense.

Choosing the Right Equipment

When selecting a dehumidifier for your crawl space, consider factors such as the size of the area, the desired humidity level, and any specific features you may need. Here are some tips to help you choose the right dehumidifier:

Size and Capacity: Measure the square footage of your crawl space to determine the appropriate dehumidifier capacity. Generally, a unit with a higher pint capacity is recommended for larger crawl spaces.

Energy Efficiency: Look for EnergyStar-certified models, which can save you money on utility bills while still effectively removing moisture.

Drainage Options: Consider a dehumidifier with a built-in pump or gravity drain for easy water removal, especially if the unit will be placed in a hard-to-reach area.

Noise Level: If the crawl space is located near living spaces, opt for a quieter model to minimize disturbance.

Placement and Installation: Position the dehumidifier in a central location within the crawl space for optimal air circulation. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation and maintenance.

Setting  Up a Dehumidifier in Crawl Space Without Encapsulation

Setting up a dehumidifier in your crawl space is a straightforward process that can be accomplished with a few simple steps:

Safety First: Ensure proper ventilation and wear appropriate protective gear, such as a respirator mask and gloves.

Choose the Location: Identify a central location within the crawl space for optimal air circulation. Ensure the dehumidifier has enough clearance around it for proper airflow.

Power Source: Determine the best way to provide power to the equipment. You may need to run an extension cord or have an electrician install a dedicated outlet in the crawl space.

Drainage Setup: Most dehumidifiers require a way to drain the collected water. You can either use the built-in pump to drain the water outside or set up a gravity drain to a nearby floor drain or sump pump.

Installation and Settings: Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation and setup. Set the desired humidity level, typically between 30-50% for crawl spaces.

By following these steps and maintaining your dehumidifier, you can effectively control moisture levels in your crawl space, preventing mold growth, wood rot, and other moisture-related issues. Remember to address any underlying moisture sources, such as leaks or poor drainage, for optimal results.

Tips for Energy-Efficient Use

Properly size the unit: Select a dehumidifier with the appropriate capacity for the size of your crawl space. An oversized unit will consume more energy than necessary.

Use a humidistat: Invest in an advanced model with a built-in humidistat or purchase a separate one. This will allow the unit to cycle on and off as needed to maintain the desired humidity level, saving energy.

Improve air circulation: Ensure proper air circulation in the crawl space by installing vents or fans. Good airflow helps the dehumidifier work more efficiently.

Seal air leaks: Seal any cracks, gaps, or openings in the crawl space to prevent outside air from entering and increasing the dehumidifier's workload.

Clean the coils and filters regularly: Dirty coils and filters can reduce the dehumidifier's efficiency, causing it to work harder and consume more energy.

Consider a model with an ECM motor: Dehumidifiers with energy-efficient Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM) can use up to 30% less energy than traditional motors.

Use a drain hose or pump: Connect a drain hose or install a condensate pump to automatically remove collected water, reducing the need to manually empty the reservoir.

Schedule regular maintenance: Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency.

By implementing these tips, you can maximize the energy efficiency of your dehumidifier in an unencapsulated crawl space, saving money on utility bills while effectively controlling moisture levels.

Using a dehumidifier for crawl space offers an effective and affordable solution for controlling moisture without the need for costly encapsulation. By taking action and investing in a suitable dehumidifier, you can protect your home from mold, wood rot, and other moisture-related issues. Explore dehumidifier options from AlorAir Crawlspace today and take the first step towards a healthier, drier crawl space environment.