Introducing a two part series on saving on heating and cooling your home by fixing your crawl space. Our last house had a crawl space under the living room that was a headache for me. My solution was to have my son-in-law crawl in to replace the dead sump pump. I also added a crawl space exhaust fan to move air to the outdoors. The exhaust fan did dry up the crawl space but cost more on the electric and heating bills.
If your crawl space looks something like this photograph then you can save energy and your money. These two articles explain there is a better way that does save energy.
Both of these two posts are guest written by Cynthia Freeney, who is a content developer at Basement Systems Inc the world’s leading developer and provider of basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair and basement finishing solutions.
Would you like to save some real money on heating and cooling your home? Worried about your electricity bill and the rising costs of fuel? How does 15% to 35% savings on energy sound?
Well, if you have dirt and/or vented crawl space, this is also the amount of money you are wasting. Money that I am sure you’d like to keep in your pocket or find a better use for.
Dirt floor and vented crawl spaces are the source of so many problems, that they’ve been called a true “housing epidemic”. They trap in moisture from the ground and from the air, and allow mold to grow, wooden structures and insulation to rot, moisture loving pests to move in and remain virtually undetected until some serious damage is done.
They are also the source of many allergy related illnesses, because, thanks to the laws of physics, your family is breathing that damp, filthy (sometimes even toxic) crawl space air with all its airborne mold spores and dust mite pellets (the two main indoor allergens).
The heated air inside the house tends to rise (remember why hot air balloons fly?) and escape through the upper levels of the house. As it happens, this air must be replenished with “new” or “makeup” air from the outside that is sucked in at the lower levels of the house, meaning your crawl space or basement. It is called a “stack effect”.
How does the crawl space air get into your home? As it turns out, air is a very small thing and will get in through just about any opening, and will bring with it all the allergens and contaminants currently lurking in the crawl space.
So if you have a dirt and/or vented crawl space, 1/3 of the air you breathe in your home, is coming from there.
But, what does it have to do with your
Well, crawl space air is humid, damp air and that moisture is brought indoors by the stack effect. And, humid air costs a lot more to heat and cool - 15% to 35% more, depending on how big your crawl space is, how big and how many levels your home has.
If you have ducts running through the crawl space, the energy loss can be even more significant, (up to 50%), due to duct leakage and condensation.
In conclusion, dirt and/or vented crawl spaces are bad news: for your pocket, your home and your health.
Vented vs. Closed Crawl Spaces: the truth once and for all.
Before we get to the proper techniques to close and encapsulate a crawl space, we will need to talk a bit about building science and the logic behind some regional building codes because, when trying to fix your crawl space, you might find out that your local building code either allows it only under specific conditions or strictly forbids it.
Building codes are, in most part, the reason why
today’s buildings are safer than ever. But, when it comes to crawl spaces, many
local building codes across the
Why some building codes still think it is a good idea to treat a crawl space differently from a basement, is something hard to understand. If it doesn’t make sense for you to keep your basement windows open during the winter, why do they think it is a good idea to leave the crawl space open? The laws of physics that regulate air and moisture flow remain the same, whether your home stands over a basement or a crawl space.
Fortunately, more and more building codes around the country are adhering to the new technologies and hopefully, vented and dirt floor crawl spaces will soon become a thing of the past.
So, now you’ve checked your local building codes, hopefully you’ve got their OK, and you want to go ahead and have your crawl space encapsulated.
Our next post will show you the proper techniques and technologies to do it.
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