If you know anything about your crawl space, you probably know that it has vents. Pretty much all crawl spaces do! However, you may not know that crawl space experts are advising against vented crawl spaces and instead advocating for homeowners and home builders to encapsulate the crawl space and sealing crawl space vents.
Sealing and conditioning the crawl space with professional encapsulation is the best way to protect your foundation. Using vents to try to prevent moisture in the crawl space is an outdated practice that has little benefit for your home and can even cause damage in the long term. Yet many new homes are built with vents in the crawl space even to this day!
Why Does Your Crawl Space Have Vents?
Before we had the technology to condition and seal up crawl spaces the way we do now the best way to keep the most amount of moisture out of the crawl space was by venting it. This explains why most older homes have vented crawl spaces but you may notice even a lot of newer homes are vented as well. There are a couple of reasons for this and they can vary widely based on the area and the contractor building the home.
Many building codes and recommendations for building homes with crawl spaces are outdated, still advising venting crawl spaces as it has been the standard practice for decades. It is also much cheaper and easier for builders to stick to the traditional way of building crawl spaces with vents rather than encapsulating at the time of building. They would much rather put that cost onto the homeowner, especially when the building codes only require a vented crawl space.
Well if the builder is still building homes with vented crawl spaces and the codes for homes with crawl spaces don’t require more than a vented crawl space, why should you seal up your vents permanently and encapsulate them? If it worked before it should still work now right?
Why Sealing Crawl Space Vents Is A Must!
The Problem With Open Crawl Space Vents
Even though the standard practice has been to vent crawl spaces for decades now to allow air to flow, experts, today will recommend sealing vents instead. Even though we’ve been using vented crawl spaces for so long, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.
Encapsulation and sealing up crawl spaces can extend the life of a home far beyond what it would have been otherwise. It can also prevent a multitude of problems that can arise and do serious damage to your home’s foundation and can cost thousands of dollars to repair.
During the hot, humid summer months, if your vents are open, that humid, warm air flows into your crawl space, directly affecting the air quality of your home. It also allows moisture to build up from condensation forming on the cold water pipes and air ducts under your home and encourages mold and mildew growth and pests. In the wintertime, open vents can lead to freezing pipes and cold, drafty floors as the air intrudes on your home from below.
Venting the crawl space doesn’t prevent or remove humidity and moisture from the crawl space, and such has little benefit to your home. Closing the crawl space vents alone is not enough. Suppose you simply seal the crawl space vents without also encapsulating in order to manage the humidity and moisture levels. In that case, you’re going to end up with more problems than you solve. If you want to protect your home year-round, the best solution is to have your crawl space encapsulated, and the vents sealed!
The Benefits To Sealing Crawl Space Vents Alongside Encapsulation.
As mentioned above, sealing vents alone does nothing to solve the problems in your crawl space. If you only seal your crawl space vents, it would trap any moisture inside the crawl space. Without proper conditioning of the space, this will promote more mold growth and damage to your foundation. However, there are many benefits to your home that come with sealing the vents and encapsulating the crawl space correctly.
Conditioning your crawl space when sealing your crawl space vents includes installing a vapor barrier, a dehumidifier, preventing water intrusion, and completely sealing your crawl space off from the outside air. With these protections, your crawl space will be dry and safe, and you will never have to worry about mold or moisture in your crawl space again. When your crawl space vents are sealed, you can prevent pests from invading that can damage your home, keep out water that can lead to mold and wood rot, and maintain the integrity of your home’s foundation.
Having your crawl space sealed also can improve the air quality throughout your home. Upwards of 40% of the air that flows through the first floor of your home comes from your crawl space. That means if your crawl space is vented, all the pollutants and humidity from the outside are coming into your home. Having a sealed and conditioned crawl space can improve your home’s energy efficiency and keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Sealing your crawl space can prevent freezing pipes that could burst and keeps floors warmer in the winter months as it improves the effectiveness of your under-home insulation.
How We Seal Your Crawl Space Vents and Protect Your Home’s Foundation For Life!
Crawl space encapsulation and sealing can last the lifetime of your home with minimal maintenance if done correctly by the experts. Crawl space encapsulation employs several techniques, including sealing vents, drainage systems, a vapor barrier, and a commercial under-home dehumidifier to completely seal off the crawl space.
If you’re interested in learning more about sealing your crawl space vents and how it may benefit your home, give Crawl Space Brothers a call today! We’re happy to help you find the perfect solution to protect your home and foundation from the ground up!