Crawl spaces are generally only used to access the area under your house when necessary. You might have workers go under the house to check certain things out.
For example, it’s common for plumbers to have to access the crawl space to fix pipes. There may sometimes be other reasons to access the crawl space.
Are crawl spaces safe, though? Or is it dangerous to spend time in one?
Could you use the crawl space as shelter in an emergency situation? Keep reading to get the answers to these questions and more.
Crawl Spaces Are Useful
Crawl spaces are very useful to have. Having a crawl space makes it a lot easier for workers to access your pipes, ducts, and many other things.
It also helps the overall airflow of your home. If you live in a warm area, it’ll be good to have a crawl space.
There are benefits to having a crawl space underneath your home. It’ll make certain types of maintenance work simpler.
Even so, issues sometimes arise when you have a crawl space. You must maintain it properly, or it can harm your home.
Problems with Crawl Spaces
Crawl spaces can get too moist, and this can lead to issues with water. Sometimes this will cause damage to your home.
Standing water might make its way to the crawl space if you have leaks in your pipes. This can also occur when your gutters aren’t properly directing water away from your house.
If you don’t get rid of standing water, it could cause issues with wood rot. The foundation of your home could get damaged.
This might lead to thousands of dollars worth of damage. In some cases, you might even have to replace your flooring.
So do your best to pay attention to potential issues if you have a crawl space. Crawl spaces aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they must be maintained well.
Are Crawl Spaces Safe in a Tornado?
What if there is a tornado outside and you’re trying to stay safe? You likely know that people take shelter in basements when tornadoes are nearby.
If your home doesn’t have a basement, you might be looking for another safe option. The crawl space would be the lowest level of your home, but would it be safe to hide in the crawl space?
It might be safe, but it could be dangerous. This really depends on the construction of your home.
If your home has a concrete foundation, you might be able to hide in the crawl space and feel fairly secure. It’s not a good idea to hide in the crawl space if your home has a wooden foundation or if it’s built on cinder blocks.
When choosing to hide from a storm in the crawl space, it’s important to think about where you’re at. You don’t want to get crushed by heavy appliances or other objects.
It’d be better to hide in a spot where there is nothing but the floor above you. So be mindful of your positioning.
You also can’t guarantee your safety in the event of a strong tornado. A very powerful storm could blow your entire house away and expose the crawl space.
This would leave you open to danger, and you might get flung away with the rest of the debris. So going to the crawl space might not be the best choice.
Crawl Spaces Might Be Moldy
One problem that you can’t ignore is that crawl spaces often have issues with excessive moisture. Crawl spaces need to be ventilated properly to keep moisture buildup from becoming a big problem.
It’s common for mold to grow in crawl spaces. Crawl spaces are often moist and humid places, and the sun can’t dry things out.
So mold thrives in this environment. Being too close to mold is dangerous.
Breathing in mold spores can make you sick. You might have to deal with eye irritation, respiratory issues, and other problems.
Of course, you should get rid of any mold that you see in your crawl space. It isn’t wise to allow mold to remain in the crawl space.
Sadly, people often don’t notice mold in the crawl space for quite some time. This is because you don’t access the crawl space too often.
Dealing with Spiders and Snakes
You need to have vents in your crawl space so that it will have proper airflow. Without good ventilation, your crawl space would be incredibly damp.
This would make the mold issues even worse. Having vents is imperative, but the vents do make it easier for bugs and animals to get in the crawl space.
When you enter the crawl space, you might wind up encountering many bugs. There could be various spiders in the crawl space that you’ll have to deal with.
If you’re afraid of spiders, this might be a bit of an issue. You might not want to access the crawl space unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Small rodents will often take shelter in peoples’ crawl spaces, too. Various types of mice are known to hide in these areas.
Snakes are predators that feed on rodents, and that means that they’re often found in crawl spaces. So you could have to put up with all sorts of issues by choosing to use the crawl space as a shelter during a storm.
Where Should You Hide During a Tornado?
Hiding during a storm is a good idea. If your area has a tornado warning, it’s best to get somewhere safe.
If you have a friend in the area who has a basement, it might be wise to ask if you can hide there. This is a great place to take shelter and gives you the best chances of survival.
Otherwise, it’s good to enter the lowest floor of your home and find a safe spot. Find a room that doesn’t have windows and take cover under something sturdy.
Some options include hiding in a closet or taking shelter in the center hallway of your home. Bathrooms can sometimes be good hiding places during tornadoes, but it depends on whether the room is on the lowest level of the house.
Hiding under a sturdy table or bench can be helpful during situations like this. You might also wish to cover your body with a blanket to protect yourself from glass or other types of debris.
If the tornado isn’t close, it could be best to travel to a local storm shelter. Many towns have storm shelters for residents where they can take refuge.
Now you know that crawl spaces aren’t necessarily dangerous. They’re convenient to have under your home since they allow workers to easily access your vents and pipes.
Hiding in the crawl space area during a storm might not be the best idea, though. It can be an okay choice if the situation is right, but it’s not going to guarantee your safety.
Also, it’d be highly uncomfortable to stay under the house during a storm waiting for a tornado to pass. If possible, go to a storm shelter or see if you can hide in a friend’s basement.
Otherwise, you can try hiding out on the lowest level of your house. Try hiding in the central hall or a closet.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel