Monday, June 3rd, 2019 by Amanda Waldmann
Your crawl space is probably the last thing you want to spend money on. It’s too small to be used as living space, and many times too small to even be used as storage space or...for anything at all, really. It’s always more appealing to spend your money on improving the parts of your home you can actually see and use.
But, like it or not, keeping your crawl space in shape is as important as any other part of home maintenance, and can even save you on other home costs in the long run. Let’s talk about how.
The stack effect (basically, cold air is pulled from the crawl space and rises up through the home as it warms, exiting through the attic) means that much of your home’s air enters through the crawl space. If your crawl space is an open dirt floor, has water problems, or has vents, that means that the air circulating in your home carries dirt and water with it.
This can lead to excess dust throughout your home and in your air ducts, not to mention a constant stale and/or musty smell that you can’t get rid of, no matter how many Glade plug-ins you install.
If your crawl space develops a mold problem - which, if you have moisture, it probably will - you risk mold spreading throughout your home in addition to the dirt and dust. Mold remediation can be time consuming, expensive, and doesn’t always work. You also risk ruining possessions.
Down in your crawl space, mold can actually affect the structural integrity of your home. Since mold needs water and organic material in order to grow and thrive, the wood joists that make up the ceiling of the crawl space/floor of your home are a perfect host. Over time, mold and water will actually break down the joists until they’re incapable of supporting the weight of the house.
Imagine the cost of running your A/C all summer with the windows open. It seems silly, because you’d never do that, right? But it’s not very different from having a crawl space that has gaps around the ceiling or even vents installed based on outdated building code. Some of your conditioned (heated or cooled) air will escape via the crawl space instead of remaining in your home, which makes your HVAC system work harder for the same results. This results in more wear on the HVAC and higher energy bills year round.
If you encapsulate and insulate your crawl space, you’re protecting it from dirt and moisture. But you’re also protecting the home above it from the same. This results in cleaner air, lower energy bills, and a healthy, happy home. Above all else, encapsulation gives you the gift of time. You’ll spend less time cleaning, less time worrying, and more time with your family.
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