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Is Your Home Colder than Usual?

An open crawl space can make your home colder during fall and winter.

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While we all love the occasional snowball fight and ice skating in winter, we don’t love the idea of walking over cold floors. But that’s likely to happen if you have a vented crawl space that is exposed to the elements and poorly maintained. You can turn up the thermostat and resign yourself to paying higher utility bills or find the cause and apply the appropriate fix. 

Cold air entering your Cleveland, OH, home from the crawl space is going to affect you in many ways. As well as forcing you to dress warm, it’s also going to force you to run your heater for long hours. Read on to find out why your home is cold and the secret to having warm floors over the crawl space in autumn and winter. 

crawl space open vent

How Does Cold Air Get In? 

A lot of air from the crawl space gets into your home through small gaps in the framing on your foundation walls, vents, and ill-fitting hatchways. The cold air moves around the home through the stack effect. This effect causes cold outside air to move upward and cause a myriad of problems. 

What does this mean for you? Floors, walls, and other surfaces will become noticeably colder. The cold air will create a cold environment in your home, forcing you to use your heating system more heavily. And this translates into higher utility costs. 

The stack effect may also transfer mold spores, mildew, dust mite feces, and nasty smells into your home. If the insulation is out of place, torn, or damaged, you’re likely to experience higher humidity levels. As moisture-laden air gets in, condensation may also occur on your walls and ceilings. Insects may squeeze in through small cracks or crevices and invade your home. 

Beating the Autumn or Winter Cold 

Cold winter air is more than an inconvenience. Luckily for you, there are a number of proven solutions that can help you create a dry and comfortable interior. These solutions can also lower your utility costs by up to 30% during the cold season. Within a year or so, some of these solutions would pay for themselves through your energy savings. Here are the solutions we’d like to recommend. 

Crawl Space Encapsulation—The Better Way 

While it requires a little more material and effort, sealing your crawl space is much better than just insulating the subfloor. Your contractor will install a tough and durable 20-mil polyethylene vapor barrier over the crawl space floor and walls, then tape it down at the seams. They will seal gaps around rim joists and existing vents, then seal the vents with airtight vent covers.  

Additional measures include insulating the walls with thermal insulation. Your best bet is rigid expanded polystyrene foam board panels that are waterproof and termite resistant. These panels are much better alternatives to typical insulation like fiberglass that tends to absorb moisture and lose its effectiveness over time. Where necessary, spray foam also can be applied to rim joists to further seal the crawl space from outside air. 

Other helpful tips and tricks include: 

  • Insulate Heating Ducts. Air seal and insulate the supply ducts and the return ducts in your crawl space. This may seem time-consuming and costly, but it saves you from unnecessary agony in winter. 
  • Prevent Freezing or Bursting Plumbing. Insulate the water pipes as well as the drain pipes that run through the crawl space to prevent freezing and thawing in winter. Leaking, broken, or burst pipes can wreak havoc on your crawl space and home. 
  • Install a Dehumidifier. This appliance helps keep the crawl space air dry. A low-profile, energy-efficient dehumidifier does a great job. It can fit into tight areas and clean and filter the air beneath your home at the same time. 

When the cold season arrives, no one wants their living space to get cold. Do yourself a favor and schedule a free crawl space repair inspection and quote. The experts at Ohio Basement Systems will assess the condition of your crawl space, seal the vents, install a plastic vapor barrier, and insulate your foundation walls. This way, we create a conditioned space that stays dry and warm during the cold season.

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