At Crawlspace Medic, we often find homeowners asking the same questions about their crawl spaces in the field, over the phone, and online. Check out the answers to 6 commonly asked questions about crawl spaces below!
1. Crawl Space Vents: Open or Closed?
This is a common question asked by homeowners when talking about their crawl spaces. The answer, however, depends on the climate conditions of the home’s location and the specifics of its crawl space. Crawl space vents exist to create air flow, which is important in keeping moisture from accumulating. Accumulated moisture in your crawl space can lead to rot, mold, insect infestation, and other problems which can damage your home’s joists, beams, and flooring while also negatively affecting your health.
So, should you keep your crawl space vents open or closed? In homes that do not have an encapsulated crawl space, we recommend that your crawl space vents stay open so that there is some air flow under your home. In homes with a crawl space that is encapsulated, it is important to seal the crawl space vents, as the encapsulation system will do the job of preventing moisture from accumulating. Ideally, your crawl space should be encapsulated, with closed and sealed vents. If you are unsure about whether or not your crawl space should be encapsulated, or what to do with your crawl space vents, reach out to us today!
Check out our other blog post about this topic for even more in-depth information about crawl space vents. “Crawl Space Ventilation: When to Open and Close Vents”
2. Are my Gutters Causing Water to Enter my Crawl Space?
If your gutter is not properly draining away from your house, this can lead to standing water around your house and soil erosion around your foundation. If you think about the square footage of your roof divided by the number of downspouts in your gutter systems, that’s a lot of water building up around your foundation. Depending on the house, properly draining gutter downspouts away from your home can help solve a lot of water issues in your crawl space or basement.
3. What is the Difference Between a Vapor Barrier and Encapsulation?
A moisture or vapor barrier (also called crawl space plastic) is the plastic sheeting that is rolled out and sealed to your crawl space walls. It prevents moisture and humid air from entering your home via the crawl space that would have come from the ground beneath your home.
Encapsulation is the full process of sealing the walls, floor, posts and piers of your crawl space which INCLUDES installing a vapor barrier. It is an important process that keeps moisture and mold out of your crawl space and prevents structural damage and health issues that may arise from problems underneath your home. It also includes cleaning out any debris in your crawl space, making sure your crawl space is properly insulated around the ceiling and walls, and installing a dehumidifier to regulate humidity levels in your newly-sealed crawl space.
We Encapsulate Crawl Spaces!
At Crawlspace Medic, we offer full encapsulation systems for your home’s crawl space which include a thorough inspection, cleaning, and installation of insulation, a dehumidifier, and a vapor barrier in your crawl space. Unsure if you need encapsulation in your crawl space? Schedule your free inspection with us today, and we’ll inspect your crawl space and let you know!
4. What is the Cost of Encapsulation?
$12k-$15k is the industry average figure for crawl space encapsulation. However, this depends on many factors including the size of your crawl space, the company you pick, labor costs, material costs, cleanouts, and more. A large factor that contributes to the cost of encapsulation is damage that exists in the crawl space that must be repaired before your crawl space can be encapsulated. This can be water or pest-related damage, structural damage, hanging and damaged insulation, flooding, etc. Crawl space encapsulation does increase the energy efficiency of your home, which could save you money in the long run on heating and cooling costs.
5. How Does My Crawl Space Impact the Energy Efficiency of my Home?
If your crawl space or basement lacks the proper insulation and sealing, you could be losing up to 20% of your home’s heat through basement and subfloor walls. If you have an unfinished basement or a crawl space, this is even more likely. A properly insulated and sealed crawl space or basement will help with energy conservation in your home, and save you in the long run on your electricity bills.
As far as your crawl space is concerned, insulation below your home’s floor and around the crawl space access door is important to keep your home energy efficient. Making sure your crawl space door seals properly will help with temperature regulation. You also want to make sure your air ducts are properly insulated and sealed, as there is often access to these systems in your crawl space. Installing a crawl space dehumidifier will also help regulate humidity that could be affecting your home’s temperature and energy use.
6. Do I Really Need a Sump Pump?
Sump pumps are important backup systems that can keep your crawl space or basement from flooding. If you have problems with water in these spaces, either due to weather or the location of your home, it is important that you have a sump pump to prevent water from building up and creating damage under your home. Even if you don’t currently have water underneath your home, sump pumps are important to have in case of an emergency like extreme weather or a flood (the same way you would have backups for electricity or sprinkler systems in case of a fire). Sump pumps should sit at the lowest point under your house, and they pump water out of your house when the water in the pit hits a certain level, triggering the system to turn on. Sump pumps should not be constantly running, and this is often a sign you have water intrusion issues underneath your home.
We Install Sump Pumps!
As part of our drainage systems, we direct water in your crawl space or basement to a sump pump at the lowest point under your home, which is then pumped outside and away from your home’s foundation via a discharge pipe.
Need a Professional?
Do you have issues in your crawl space that are addressed in these questions or you’re unsure what’s going on under your home? No worries! Schedule your free inspection with us today and we’ll come out to your home and take a look! Our honest inspectors will provide you with a full report with photos detailing what is going on under your home. If solutions are necessary, we’ll provide them at a reasonable cost!