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Crawl Space Vents and the Spring Thaw

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022 by Amanda Waldmann

Crawl Space Vents and the Spring Thaw - Image 1


If you have vents in your crawl space, you’ve probably heard (probably from us) that they’re basically like having the windows open in your home. They let in air, debris, water, and bugs, except under your home instead of into the living room. When it comes time for the ground to thaw for the spring (again), all of that water needs to go somewhere. Let’s talk about what that means for your crawl space.


Everything in nature is always looking for balance, or stasis, and water will travel wherever it needs to in order to equalize pressure. When the ground thaws, the extra water in the soil usually tries to go somewhere - especially if you’re also dealing with snow melt or rain adding to the amount of water. Water will travel through your crawl space walls and floor, but it’ll also come right in through those easy access vents. Even if new water isn’t coming in, the humidity of early spring will also affect your crawl space if it isn’t protected. 


So what does that mean for your crawl space, and your home? First, it means wet. Wet walls, wet wooden joists, and even mud if you have a dirt floor. And because mold follows moisture, it also means mold. All mold needs to grow is moisture and organic material - like those waterlogged wooden joists. 


So now you have a wet, potentially flooded crawl space and potentially a mold problem. From there, mold will travel up into your home either through the HVAC system or just by nature of the stack effect, which is the path of air through the home as the air warms and rises. Mold in your home can make allergies and asthma worse or even cause respiratory infections. 


Back in your crawl space itself, as water penetrates the joists that support your home, they can degrade and eventually splinter and fail, putting the structural integrity of your home at risk. Mold helps this process along as it consumes the wood.


Basically, the spring thaw can cause plenty of water problems in your home, but if you have crawl space vents you’re making it a hundred times easier for the water to get in. The only happy and safe crawl space is a fully encapsulated one. Full encapsulation involves covering any vents, insulating, and installing a vapor barrier in the entire space. This keeps it protected from the elements, which means only clean air travels up into your home. It also keeps the crawl space warmer, which can lower your energy bills and keep your home more comfortable.


Spring is coming - it’s coming in waves, but it’s coming. Call today to schedule a free inspection and let us help you protect your home for good.


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