Crawl Space in the Summer – Is There Heat Transfer?
Your crawl space isn’t just another low-lying area in your Cleveland, OH, home. It contains most of your essential home systems like plumbing, ventilation ducts, and electric wires. Other than that, this area creates a buffer zone between your house and the ground.
Come summer, the atmosphere gets hot and humid. Most people think the heat from the outside will get into the crawl space and then up into their homes. We would like to set things straight. Your crawl space doesn’t warm up your home. In fact, it’s cooler than the living space above, and in a way, makes the floors and walls cold. If this space remains unsealed or vented, you may find yourself spending more on temperature control.
As well as being hot, summer months in Cleveland, OH, can be oppressively humid. Humidity levels can go through the roof and linger at 60% or more for many days, even weeks. This moist air encourages condensation, which is another way of saying water droplets will form when the air sweeps across cooler surfaces. Condensation will set the stage for other problems.
Instead of worrying about whether the crawl space can warm up your home, you should be worried about other ways your exposed crawl space can hurt your home in summer. A lot of things can and will go wrong. Hot, humid air will drive up moisture levels in the crawl space, and this will mark the beginning of your problems.
Moisture encourages mold growth, a major health hazard, which can infest your floors, walls, and linen. Most people focus on the toxic black mold and forget that other strains can impact their health as well. When mold takes over your home, it will attract insects. Mold is a fantastic food source for mites and other crawling insects.
Warm, moist air flows into the crawl space during summer than any other time of the year. When this air goes up, it creates a vacuum, and new air rushes in to replace it. Most of this air is filled with dust mites, allergens, dust, and other pollutants that can reduce the quality of indoor air. Your loved ones will cough a lot more, experience allergies including itchy eyes, and have breathing problems.
Besides making breathing and life in general uncomfortable, moisture can also hurt your fiberglass insulation and ruin the chance of keeping your crawl space warm. The material will soak up moisture, get weighed down, and fall off eventually. You will have to replace it with a more reliable material.
When moisture levels surge in summer, the wooden parts like joists and beams will start rotting. It will continue instigating wood rot until you seal the crawl space and dry out the air. Moisture is bad news for your home as it weakens the structural wooden support leading to leaning, settling, or overall structural failure.
Summer is a good time to go outdoors and have fun, but it’s also a time where you can repair your crawl space and seal it. Ignoring moisture issues means you’ll be back at the same place next summer.
Next, encapsulate the crawl space with a heavy-duty, 20-mil plastic vapor barrier. This material goes from wall to wall and across your floor, locking out moisture, pests and termites. You will end up with a clean, moisture-free, temperature-controlled space that doesn’t interfere with your life.
If you have south-facing windows, keep them closed and covered with blinds or curtains. This way, hot air won’t get into your home. You can open windows early in the morning before temperatures rise or in the evening when they’ve dropped.
Get a crawl space dehumidifier and use it to remove moisture from the atmosphere during summer. Aim for 50% moisture or less. At this range, problems such as mold or wood rot won’t arise. If you can get a dehumidifier with an air filter, you will be able to clean up the air as well. Drying out the air in your crawl space is a fantastic way of enhancing your home’s value and the quality of indoor life.
Are you struggling to keep your home comfortable or have problems with runaway moisture levels? Get in touch with Ohio Basement Systems for a free crawl space inspection. Our crawl space experts will assess your home and make solid recommendations that will help keep it dry, healthy, and comfortable.