Dealing with cold winter weather outside is bad enough; when the cold temperatures start creeping into your home it’s even worse. Heating systems work hard enough in the winter time to keep our homes warm and comfortable. Additional cold air seeping into your house leaves us with cold feet and higher energy bills.
Up to 50% of household air flows in from your crawlspace. An unenclosed crawlspace lets your heated or cooled air out and lets outdoor air in. This causes your heating and cooling systems to work overtime to compensate for this fluctuation in temperatures, causing you to still feel cold floors and inconsistent temps throughout the house. These units burn more energy leading to increased utility bills. This also puts more strain on the system leading to repairs and replacements sooner and more often.
Crawlspace enclosure is similar to adding a liner to your pool to avoid leaks. Water vapor enters your crawlspace from the ground and can even seep through cement. Increased moisture can cause a host of problems in your crawlspace and your home. Moisture attracts pests; degrades indoor air quality; provides the ideal condition for mold and mildew growth which leads to rot, warped floors, and structural damage. Adding a moisture barrier and dehumidifier is a great way to help keep the moisture out of your crawlspace.
Some common reasons people enclose their crawlspace include:
- Presence of mold
- Presence of mildew
- Musty smell
- Soft or separating floors
- Increased heating and cooling costs
- Wet insulation
- Condensation on windows
- Pest problems
- Improved air quality in the home
- Keeps pests and wood destroying insects out
- Creates more comfortable living conditions
- Eliminates moisture which decreases fungus and mold and prevents structural damage
- Increases energy efficiency
- More consistent temperatures
- Less wear and tear on heating and cooling systems
There are two main disadvantages to crawlspace enclosure. The first is the initial cost of installation. While there is a somewhat pricey initial fee for installation, the savings in energy bills and pest control costs over the long term offset these costs. The second disadvantage is improper installation. Whether doing it yourself or using a professional, improper installation or faulty materials do occur. The most common signs of improper installation include:
- Odors. When the liner is not properly taped or inadequate materials are used, moisture can get into the crawlspace leading to mold and mildew.
- Moisture. This can also be caused by improper taping. Common signs of moisture in the crawlspace after installation include damp or musty odors, constant running of the dehumidifier, and flooding.
Once you have your crawlspace enclosed, it is important to continually inspect it to make sure tears or other damage have occurred. It is recommended that the crawlspace be inspected at least once per year but preferably twice per year. Many homeowners time their crawlspace enclosure inspection to coincide with their annual termite inspection. It is important to check the crawlspace for moisture levels (there should be no humidity, condensation, or standing water); signs of mold or rot (including loose joists, damage to support beams and air ducts, or visible mold present); and signs of rodents or pest activity (including droppings and chew marks).
While crawlspace enclosure can be a DIY project, it is recommended that installation be done by a professional. This not only helps ensure quality materials and appropriate techniques are used but also guarantees repairs and replacement in the event there are issues. Contact your local pest control company for a crawlspace enclosure quote.