We usually don’t think too much about the space below our feet—the crawlspace. But you may want to get these small spaces on your mind. Crawlspace conditions can affect energy costs and moisture levels. Certain conditions are problematic and may cause energy loss, mold, and wood-destroying organisms that can affect the integrity of your home.
My team and I have been inspecting homes in the Dayton, Ohio area for more than two decades. As part of my job, I’ve seen crawlspaces that are fine, as well as those that need repairs. Addressing possible crawlspaces issues now can have a long-lasting impact on your home.
Downsides of traditionally vented crawlspaces
What happens to enclosed, ventilated crawlspaces? I can sum up the answer in one word: moisture.
Moisture in crawlspaces has many causes—moist, warm outdoor air can enter through vents and cause condensation, while moisture-absorbing building materials can help all that water stick around.
Whatever the cause, the end result isn’t pleasant. A list of symptoms from Advanced Energy includes the following:
- Moisture damage and musty odors in living areas
- Buckled hardwood floors
- Insect infestations
- Rot in wooden framing materials
Not great, right? In the southern Ohio area, high humidity and disparities between indoor and outdoor temperatures during the summer and winter can exacerbate moisture problems.
But there is a solution: sealed crawlspaces.
Significant benefits for homeowners with sealed crawlspaces
Homes with sealed crawlspaces benefit in two major ways, according to research done by Building America:
- Energy savings of 15 to 18 percent—saving you a significant chunk on your monthly electricity bill.
- Humidity reduction of over 20 percent—leading to reduced moisture problems, like mold, freezing pipes, and pest invasion.
In fact, unvented, sealed crawlspaces are so effective they were given a place by researchers in Building America’s Top Innovations Hall of Fame.
If you own an older home with a crawlspace, it’s a good possibility you have built-in ventilation. Own a newer home? You may be in luck. Sealed crawlspaces are now recommended for modern buildings.
If your current crawlspace is vented, even that can be fixed. Vented crawlspaces can easily be converted to sealed crawlspace by eliminating sources of moisture, sealing vents, and adding a moisture barrier and insulation.
Sealing up a traditional vented crawlspace can seem like a lot of work. But the benefits are more than worth it.
Have our friendly team evaluate your crawlspace
Wondering where to start? Your first step toward a healthy crawlspace situation is scheduling an inspection with your local HouseMaster home inspection team. We’ve seen more crawlspaces than we can count and can evaluate whether your crawlspace is up to current building standards. Then, we’ll recommend next steps.
We don’t mind crawling around in tight spaces—that’s our job. Schedule your inspection today and we’ll be in touch shortly!