Serving Mid, Western and Northern Michigan,
Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Monday, October 21st, 2019 by Amanda Waldmann
If you own a house with a crawl space, there’s a good chance you have (or had) crawl space vents. Building code mandated vents for a while due to the belief that air circulation is what stopped mold from growing. This was...wrong, and the result was a lot of homes built with what basically amounts to open windows year-round. You might think this would only be a problem in the cold winter months, but you’re wrong - open crawl space vents affect your home year-round.
This one is pretty obvious - with winter comes lower temperatures. Given that you have the equivalent of open windows in your crawl space, that cold air will get in, swirl around, and make your floors freezing cold. Your HVAC system has to work harder to combat the constant influx of cold air, and even though that hard work may show up in your energy bill, it might not actually make your home much warmer.
As the snow melts and Michigan enters that weird three week period where temperatures range from 17 to 55 degrees that we call “spring,” your crawl space vents make for a really convenient drainage system. Melting snow and falling rain can just flow right in, making a muddy mess of your crawl space and leading to mold growth as temperatures rise.
Remember the headaches the vents brought you in winter? Reverse them. Hot air flows in through crawl space vents and then rises up through your home - this is known as the Stack Effect. Not only does this cause your HVAC to once again work overtime for little benefit, but as the air rises it also brings smells, allergens and mold up with it from the wet crawl space.
As temperatures drop, bugs and critters of all types start looking for shelter. Your crawl space is more protected from the elements than the ground outside, so it’s a great place to shack up for the winter.
While it was once thought that airflow was vital to maintaining the health of a home, it’s now understood that total encapsulation is the only way to protect the house from the outside elements. Encapsulating with CleanSpace vapor barrier - and installing vent covers on those pesky vents - protects your crawl space from everything outside, and protects your home from your crawl space. Call today to ask how encapsulation can help your home and schedule your free inspection.