Prior to installation, there are a few things you can do to set your dehumidifier up for success. If you want your dehumidifier to run as effectively as possible, just follow these simple steps:
Don't worry, you don't have to scrub your crawl space until it's sparkling clean but you do need to clear out any junk or trash that's in there. Doing so will make sure that there are no hidden issues such as cracks in the foundation or standing water, that could become serious problems later. Cleaning up the crawl space will also help to make sure that the vapor barrier (step # 4) is installed correctly.
At this point, you need to check that there are no issues in the crawl space ranging from leaks, to mold, to pests. You will also want to verify that there aren't any signs of excess water like dripping pipes or puddles on the ground. Another potential issue is structural damage to the home. This could be something like a sagging floor or a cracked foundation wall.
If you do find any of these issues, don't panic. Now is a great time to call the necessary specialist and have the problem fixed.
Once the problems are repaired, it's now time to seal the crawl space. For your dehumidifier to be able to function properly, the entire crawl space from the foundation vents to the bottom plate must be sealed. To verify that your crawl space is sealed, shut the access door, turn off all of the lights and make sure that there's no light coming into.
Now it's time to install a vapor barrier in the crawl space. A vapor barrier is made of heavy duty plastic like polyurethane (at least 6 to 10 mil. thick is recommended) that covers the ground completely. For it to be effective, the seams of the vapor barrier should overlap by at least 12 inches. Furthermore, any joints in the area should be sealed with adhesive.
And that's it- now you're ready for your dehumidifier. It may seem a little lengthy but completing these steps will make sure that your dehumidifier can do its job properly!