Should You Enclose Your Crawlspace in Winter?

Should You Enclose Your Crawlspace in Winter?

Should you enclose your crawlspace this winter? The resounding answer is yes. There are several benefits to crawlspace enclosure, especially when cold weather sets in and energy costs soar. Most crawlspaces house pipes, ducts, and other appliances. Continuous exposure to cold air and freezing temperatures can lead to frozen and busted pipes and potential water damage. While it is important to keep your crawlspace clean and dry year-round, it is especially important in the winter as it can easily become damp and humid. The excessive moisture and extreme temperatures can also cause significant damage to your home.

While closing your crawlspace vents can help, it is often not enough to keep moisture, insects, and other pests out of your crawlspace. The moisture found in crawlspaces attracts pests like termites, roaches, and millipedes and the crawlspace provides the ideal entry point to your home. The increased humidity also provides the ideal environment for mold and wood rot which can lead to serious health issues for your family and trigger allergies and asthma.

Cold air from your crawlspace can also seep through into your home, keeping your floors cold and causing your heating system to work overtime, greatly increasing your energy costs.

So what can you do this winter to keep the cold and the pests out of your crawlspace? Here are 4 steps to protecting your crawlspace this winter.

1. Clear Those Gutters

Your gutters can’t drain properly when they are clogged with leaves and debris. These clogs cause overflows with the water collecting at the base of the house. This overflow then seeps into the ground and evaporates into your crawlspace. Standing water from clogged gutters also attracts pests like mosquitoes and roaches to your home. Make sure runoff is directed away from the base of your home. If possible, extend your gutters to drain at least 10 feet away from your crawlspace. Make sure your gutters stay clean and free of debris. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs.

2. Close and Seal Air Vents

Although air vents allow air to circulate through your crawlspace, they also provide an entryway for water and moisture. In the winter, close all the air vents to your crawlspace before the temperatures get too cold. Have them sealed properly to prevent rainwater and moisture from getting inside. This also helps ensure your crawlspace stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

3. Seal Your Crawlspace

Your crawlspace walls, corners, and even base can have tiny holes that allow air leaks into the area. Professionally sealing your crawlspace can help prevent air from circulating through these cracks which, in turn, helps reduce humidity and keeps the warm air in.

4. Install A Vapor Barrier

Most crawlspaces have no covering or protection on their floors. A substantial amount of water evaporates from the ground and increases the humidity in the crawlspace. The professional installation of a vapor barrier can help prevent this evaporation and keep water and moisture out.

Whatever the season, crawlspace enclosure is a beneficial addition to your home. It not only helps increase the air quality of your home by preventing mold and wood rot, it also provides a natural pest control barrier. It also helps keep the cold air out, which means your heating unit doesn’t have to work as hard, increasing its efficiency and decreasing your energy costs.

 

You May Also Be Interested In:

How To Deal With Moles This Winter

Keeping Pests Away From Your Holiday Treats

How To Save Money on Your Energy Bills

Why Are There So Many Millipedes in My House?

10 Ways to Make Your Home Healthier

Things That Go Bump in Your Crawlspace

Things That Go Bump in Your Crawlspace

It’s October! Time for all things pumpkin, fall decorations, and staying in to enjoy your home. A potential drawback: the South, unfortunately, does not have instant cooler weather. With temperatures teetering between 85 and 90 degrees, your home might be battling moisture issues and pest invasions in your crawlspace throughout the month. Let’s look at what problems could arise and how investing in crawlspace solutions could help!

Pests

Excessive moisture and warm weather work together to create the perfect environment for pests. In addition, your home’s crawlspace is the ideal entry point for pests to enter and invade your home. (Think termites, cockroaches, ants, earwigs, and millipedes)

Mold Growth/Wood Rot

Along with pests, the high humidity also contributes to conditions suitable for mold growth and wood rot. This can cause severe health issues for members of your home that suffer from asthma and allergies.

Investing in the sealing of your home’s crawlspace won’t just help with cutting down on moisture issues; it can also improve the air quality of your home for you and your family. Acting as a natural pest control barrier, you can get back to enjoying those fall nights indoors and not worrying about what could be taking over your crawlspace.

Interested in crawlspace solutions for your home? Call your local crawlspace care provider to schedule an inspection for your home.

What Can You Do to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer?

What Can You Do to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer?

This unseasonably hot weather has catapulted us straight into summer. If you have found yourself making multiple trips back and forth to your thermostat, it may be time to look into improvements around your home that not only stop the multiple trips but also save you money in the end.

Problem #1

With the sun beating down on the roof of your home with little to no cloud cover, your attic will easily see high temperatures during the summer. Without proper insulation, the heat will absorb through the hard materials that make up your home, leading to unbearable temperatures inside.

Solution

Proper attic insulation will create air pockets which slow the heat attempting to flow through your home. This will help uneven temperatures between the rooms in your home and lessen the need to consistently visit your thermostat.

Problem #2

High heat and humidity have caused your home to become muggy and intolerable. The humidity and moisture can also become a welcoming environment for mold, fungi, and pests.

Solution

Investing in the encapsulation of your crawl space could not only save you money on your energy bills, but also prevent a headache in the long run. Termites thrive in areas of high moisture, putting your home at risk for structural damage. Not only will this method act as pest control, but it can also improve the air quality of your home and create more comfortable living conditions for you and your family.

Still on the fence? Give us a call to schedule your free inspection today, and one of our licensed professionals will answer all of your questions.

Moisture Barriers: What Are The Benefits?

Moisture Barriers: What Are The Benefits?

If you’re like most of us you don’t spend too much time inspecting your crawlspace. But did you know that moisture that makes its way into your crawlspace can cause significant problems not only for your home but for your health, as well? Dampness in your crawlspace is a common problem in homes without a proper moisture barrier system. Without a proper barrier, your crawlspace carries humid air that condenses and settles on the pipes, walls, and even the subflooring. This moisture provides the ideal environment for mold, mildew, and pests. A moisture barrier prevents this moisture from evaporating and seeping into the air beneath your home. Moisture barriers are composed of either foil or plastic material that helps prevent moisture from penetrating your crawlspace air.
So why should you have a moisture barrier installed in your crawlspace? Check out these 7 benefits of moisture barrier installation.

1. TEMPERATURE CONTROL

The moisture that gets into your crawlspace affects the temperature in your home. It can make your home too hot, too cold, too stuffy, or too dry depending on the weather, the season, and other factors. The moisture either absorbs the warmth from your house or keeps it from escaping. In turn, this causes your HVAC unit or furnace to run too long trying to maintain a steady temperature indoors. Installing a moisture barrier seals those spaces and keeps the moisture out of your crawlspace, helping to regulate the temperature inside.

2. ENERGY CONSERVATION

As we mentioned above, the moisture in your crawlspace can affect the temperature inside your home. As your HVAC unit or furnace runs longer to help maintain the temperature inside, it uses more electricity which, in turn, increases your electricity bill. This also puts additional strain on the HVAC unit, causing them to wear out faster and need costly repairs and/or replacement. A moisture barrier acts as a sealant, controlling the moisture levels and easing the strain of your HVAC system, making your home more energy efficient and saving you money on your energy bills.

3. MOLD AND ODOR PREVENTION

High moisture levels in your crawlspace provide the ideal environment for mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew in your air system can be detrimental to your and your family’s health. Mold can also cause significant damage to your home. Installing a moisture barrier greatly reduces these moisture levels, preventing mold and mildew from forming. Mold and mildew are often the cause of foul odors in your home, as well. A moisture barrier can also help eliminate these stale, musty odors from your house.

4. PIPE PROTECTION

Your crawlspace is home to a number of pipes that supply both water and power to your home. When moisture infiltrates your crawlspace, it can cause rotting inside and around these pipes, leading them to burst or break. Moisture barrier installation helps keep your pipes dryer, which increases their lifespan and decreases costly repairs.

5. ELECTRICAL HAZARDS

As we mentioned above, many of the pipes in your crawlspace house electricity that runs to your home. Moisture and electricity don’t mix! Moisture in and around these pipes can lead to electrical shorts, rusted wires, and even fire. Installing a moisture barrier eliminates the moisture that can infiltrate these pipes, keeping your home safer from electrical hazards.

6. STRUCTURAL PROTECTION

The foundation of your home is vital to its structure and soundness. Moisture in your crawlspace can lead to wood rot, especially on joists and beams. Rotting wood can lead to significant structural damage to your home which can, in turn, stick you with a huge repair bill. Moisture barrier installation reduces the amount of moisture in your crawlspace which helps prevent wood rot, protecting the structural integrity of your home.

7. PEST CONTROL

Your unsealed crawlspace is an open invitation to pests and wildlife in search of shelter, food, and water. Once inside, these pests can cause significant damage to your home and your health. Rodents and other wildlife can chew through wood and electrical wires. Roaches and other insects can use the crawlspace to gain access to your home, posing potential health risks to you and your family. Installing a moisture barrier completely closes off your crawlspace, eliminating this entry point for pests into your home.

Be Ahead Of The Energy Cost Surge

Be Ahead Of The Energy Cost Surge

Even though the calendar says September, the thermometer still reads summer! Summer is the time of year when we see a surge in our energy costs and utility bills. As the temperatures increase outside, we spend more time inside. Kids are home from school all day running the air conditioner, using electronics and appliances, and leaving the lights on. There is also a bigger gap between the temperature outside and the temperature inside our homes – causing our air conditioning units to work harder to keep our homes cool. Summer is also a time to utilize swimming pools to have fun and cool off. Electric pool pumps, however, use a lot of energy. In fact, they can add an average of $80-90 per month to your energy bill if they run 24 hours a day. As the demand for energy increases and the supply of energy decreases, the market price of energy will inevitably go up. This helps explain why our energy bills are so high in the summer months.
So what can you do to help stay ahead of this surge in energy costs? Two options available are TAP insulation and Complete Crawlspace Enclosure.

TAP Insulation

TAP or thermal acoustical pest control insulation can help protect your home and your wallet from those increasing summer energy bills. TAP insulation:

  • Is energy start rated and reduces the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home, which can lower your energy bills by 20-38%
  • Is made of 87% recycled newsprint so you can insulate your home while saving landfill space
  • Is treated with borates (a natural pest control product) to help control roaches, ants and other pests
  • Is treated with a fire retardant that limits the spread of fire
  • Allows you to keep more consistent temperatures inside your home year-round

Complete Crawlspace Enclosure

Complete crawlspace is an enclosed crawlspace solution that includes high quality vapor liner, taped seams, sealed foundation vents, and mechanical drying. Complete Crawlspace provides you with:

  • A healthier living environment by preventing mold growth and wood rot
  • Decreased humidity levels
  • Pest control by completely closing off your crawlspace, eliminating an entry point for pests
  • Decreased HVAC repair costs by decreasing the workload of the HVAC unit
  • Decreased utility bills by up to 18% with increased energy efficiency in your home

Northwest wants to make sure your house is running as efficiently as possible. Click for your Free TAP Insulation estimate or your Free Complete Crawlspace estimate or by giving us a call.

Winter Weatherproofing Tips

Winter Weatherproofing Tips

Even though we’re well into the winter season, it’s never too late to weatherproof your home. These easy fixes will not only seal up your home and keep it nice and warm, they will also help save you some money on your energy bills this year. Check out these simple winter weatherproofing tips so you’ll be prepared just in case the groundhog DOES see his shadow this year!

Windows And Doors

Check your doors and windows to make sure they are in good repair. Insulate your doors and windows with weatherstripping. Use transparent weather sealant tape for any areas where the weatherstripping will be applied directly to the door or window. This tape can also be used to temporarily seal any cracked windows until you can permanently replace them. Use door sweeps on the bottoms of exterior doors to keep cold air from coming in. You can install them with nails or with adhesive.

Attics And Crawlspaces

Attics and crawlspaces are notoriously cold areas of your home. Thermal accoustical pest control (TAP) insulation is an energy star rated attic insulation that provides several benefits to your home. TAP eases the burden on your heating and cooling systems, making them more efficient and keeping the temperature in your home more consistent throughout the year. TAP also leads to a 20-38% savings on your energy bills AND protects your home against pests including roaches and ants. Finally, TAP is treated with a fire retardant that limits the spread of fire in your home.

Complete CrawlSpace enclosure is another way to weatherproof your home. Enclosing your crawlspace with Complete CrawlSpace increases energy efficiency, prevents mold growth, and completely closes off your crawlspace to pests. This can also save you up to 18% on your energy bills each year.

Garages

Most garages aren’t insulated which makes them very chilly spaces in the winter. Install weather sealing strips on the bottom of your garage door. These strips not only keep out cold air but also keep out rain and pests as well.

Outlets And Switches

Outlets and switches on the exterior walls of your home can be a big source of cold air. One solution is to install foam outlet and switch sealers. These can be installed by simply turning off the power, removing the outlet or switch cover, applying the foam sealers, and reinstalling the covers.

Floors

Hardwood and tile floors can be especially cold in the winter. Curtains and rugs can make a big difference when it comes to heating your home. if you have drafty windows, hang some heavy curtains to keep the cold air out. Use area rugs on hardwood floors and in bathrooms with tile floors to help keep them warm.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning units in walls and windows give a direct path for cold air into your home. One solution is to install a heavy duty polyethylene and vinyl cover that fits around the outside of the unit. You can also wrap the inside grill with plastic sheeting and double sided tape. Consider installing a programmable thermostat which will automate your interior temperature. This can save you up to $200 per year in heating and cooling costs.

Hot Water Heater

Insulate your hot water heater with a water heater insulating blanket. This saves energy by reducing heat that is lost through the sides of the hot water heater by 25-40%. This reduction in heat loss can also lead to savings on your energy bills.

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