Vents Add To Crawlspace Moisture Problem
For many years, a series of louvered vents were added to a home’s foundation in the belief they would help to maintain a dry crawlspace. The idea was that during warm weather, the open louvers would allow air to circulate and prevent a buildup of moisture. Homeowners would close the louvers during wet or inclement weather. This belief was so firmly entrenched that FHA and HUD-backed home loans required that crawlspaces have vents in order for the home to qualify for a loan.
In recent years, however, crawlspace vents have been found to increase the amount of moist air present in the crawlspace and throughout the home. Rather than moving horizontally through a series of crawlspace vents, air tends to move upward through the home. This means that during the summer, warm and humid air enters the crawlspace vents and is sucked upward into the house, creating uncomfortable levels of humidity and challenging the air conditioning system. In cooler weather, this same moist air tends to condense on the cool surfaces inside the crawlspace. Moisture and cold air stayed below floor level, keeping the lower floors chilly and contributing to wood rot and mold growth. During severely cold weather, crawlspace vents leaked in enough cold air that the water pipes were likely to freeze. Although there is some advantage to using crawlspace venting to draw cold air into the home during the winter, the energy costs and general discomfort created by doing so created outweigh any benefits.
Homeowners who have vents installed in their foundation should consider installing a high quality vapor barrier and having the vents closed permanently. According to the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, much of the moisture that is found in the crawlspace comes from the evaporation of soil moisture. Covering the crawlspace floor with a vapor barrier in Omaha successfully inhibits water vapor from entering the crawlspace. Furthermore, crawlspace encapsulation in Omaha NE with a breathable barrier and adding an additional vapor barriers in Omaha to the ceiling not only keeps moisture out but also adds a layer of insulation that keeps cold air out during the winter months. Further, a sealed crawlspace tends to be “grounded” to the earth. This takes advantage of the fact that the earth’s temperature is warmer than that of the outside air during the winter and cooler than the ambient temperature during the summer. A sealed crawlspace works with the home comfort system.
Homes built during the 1950s and 1960s are the ones most likely to contain crawlspace vents. Contact us for a quote on installing a more effective crawlspace encapsulation system.