If your crawlspace is unsealed (has a dirt floor with no vapor barrier) then winter weather can bring a host of problems that you must be aware of. Today we are discussing what a crawlspace is and the effects of winter weather and an unsealed crawlspace.
The Role of a Crawlspace in Your Home
A crawlspace is the narrow under your home that separates the first floor from the ground. It is just large enough to crawl under hence its name. Roughly 15% of all homes in the United States are built on crawlspace foundations. Crawlspaces with a dirt floor are known as unsealed crawlspaces.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Crawlspace Foundation
A home with a crawlspace has some advantages over a home on a slab foundation or a basement such as:
- If the soil under your home is prone to movement, crawlspace foundations are more stable.
- Crawlspaces also allow easy access to HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems under the home for repairs.
- Crawlspaces require less maintenance than homes with basements.
Crawlspaces are unique in that they require special care to keep the environment under your home in the best condition. If you have ever entered a building or home that has been unoccupied for a long period of time, you understand that the air can be stale, musty, and may smell bad. Insects and rodents can also take over. The same is true for crawlspaces that are neglected.
Winter Weather and an Unsealed Crawlspace
The Role of Vents
To keep a crawlspace environment as healthy as possible, the traditional method was to vent outside air into the crawlspace to allow airflow. This is known as an unsealed crawlspace. Years ago, this method made sense but now industry professionals realize this is not the best way.
Venting allows outside air into the unsealed crawlspace environment. As the seasons change the outside air temperature conflicts with the air temperature inside the crawlspace. Just as different air temperatures and humidity levels in our weather affect whether it rains on us or not, the dueling temperatures of the air and humidity in the crawlspace can cause moisture to form inside the crawlspace. Moisture and ground temperature also add to this problem.
Moisture in your crawlspace brings a host of problems including condensation, mold, mildew, fungus, insect and rodent infestation, wood rot, increased energy bills, and can affect the air quality you breathe in your home above.
Winter Weather Temperature Effects
The extreme temperature changes of winter weather and an unsealed crawlspace can wreak havoc on your home.
Your Home is Colder
As the cold air from the vents enters your crawlspace, it will also rise up to the first floor of your home through tiny gaps in your floor. This makes your home colder and increases your energy bills. The warmer air you are paying for also seeps into your crawlspace adding to the decreased energy efficiency.
Humidity Increases and Spurs Mold Growth
Melting snow and icy rain bring moisture to the soil around and under your home. This brings an excess of moisture into your crawlspace environment. The vents allow the cool humid air from outside to flow into the crawlspace as well. The humid air sets the stage for mold, mildew, and fungi growth. These spores can make their way into your home and cause health problems, especially during the winter months.
Condensation in Your Crawlspace
When the warmer air from the floor above seeps into the crawlspace area and meets the cold air from the vents, the temperatures conflict and cause the water vapor in the air to condense. This condensation will settle on your floor joists, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. Wood rot, rust, and damage can happen over time.
Perfect Environment for Pests
The humidity and dampness also create a home for pests and rodents. During the winter months, these creatures are looking for a safe warm spot to settle. Your unsealed crawlspace makes the perfect home!
The Solution to Winter Weather and an Unsealed Crawlspace
To stop all the negative effects of winter weather and an unsealed crawlspace, crawlspace encapsulation is the best way. Crawlspace encapsulation creates a closed and controlled crawlspace environment. This solves all the problems associated with winter weather and an unsealed crawlspace by:
- Improving air quality
- Sealing out insects and pests
- Reducing mold, mildew, and fungi growth
- Eliminating musty crawlspace odors
- Increasing energy efficiency
In addition to closing off all outside vents and sealing the crawlspace door as tight as possible, Aqua-Guard Waterproofing’s crawlspace encapsulation system uses a high-strength floor and wall liner called “Flex Seal” to completely close off the crawlspace. This ensures that outside air is not able to enter the crawlspace.
Aqua-Guard’s Crawlspace Encapsulation
Our waterproofing professionals at Aqua-Guard can protect your unsealed crawlspace from all the problems of winter weather. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn all about crawlspace encapsulation. We offer a single point of contact to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible and a “Life of the Structure” guarantee. This guarantee means that we stand by our work for the life of the structure- not just the current owners. Let us help you stop the negative effects of winter weather and an unsealed crawlspace through crawlspace encapsulation.