Save energy with the bonus of controlling excess humidity and improving home air quality!
Like it or not, your crawl space and living space are joined at the hip. Holes for wiring and pipes, plumbing chases, leaky heating ducts, gaps in subflooring, ensure that your living space and your crawl space communicate freely! It is no surprise that the U.S. Department of Energy recommends you insulate your crawl space. Insulation in the floor joists is typically inadequate to offer much of a barrier. To make matters worse, the laws of physics actually cause the air in your crawl space to be pulled up into your living areas. As warm air rises in the upper levels of your home, it creates a draw on the lower areas. As much as 40 percent of the air in your crawl space eventually mixes with the air inside your home.
This creates a whole series of problems, ranging from energy loss to breathing unhealthy air. In summer, cool air is lost to the crawl space. In addition, excess humidity from the crawl space causes your air conditioner to work harder and use more electricity than it should. In winter, cold air entering through the crawl space makes your floors cold and first level rooms drafty. Heating bills climb. Winter and summer, you’re apt to be breathing unhealthy air laden with allergens and soil gases.
There are five steps you can take to turn a crawl space into a clean, healthy, energy-efficient part of your home. Here they are roughly in the order you should tackle them: