Many people have dirt crawlspaces not realizing the problems that it engenders. In a previous blog I discussed the issues of inviting moisture into a crawlspace through venting where it attracts creatures from microscopic all the way to snakes rodents and larger…. taking advantage of the riparian ecosphere created down there. 40% of that nasty air from droppings, dead animals and spores is exchanged with the air above… the air you breathe!
Leaving all of that aside, there is a whole other set of problems that are presented with this problem beside the health issues. Your energy bill and your comfort.
When the crawlspace is vented, it invites in moist air and is colder than the air above in the livable space. This is especially is true during the night when the air is colder and damper. This cold damp air since 40% of it is shared with the livable space above now makes the air in your home colder and damper. Now you in vain must turn up the heat to keep warm, running your heating bill up. And guess what? Damp air is harder to warm up, so it is even harder to get comfortable. Even if you turn up the heat a lot.
Even when turning up the heat, the cold air still continually comes up from below making almost impossible to be comfortable. But guess what? The opposite is true also.
Moist air is harder to cool down in the summer. Air Conditioners work best cooling dry air, so even though you may have difficulty keeping warm in the winter, you may equally have a difficult time keeping cool in the summer as that same warm moist air comes up from below into the living space.
Many people mistakenly believe that the problem is best managed by having vents that let wet air into the crawlspace and then try to put fiberglass insulation on the ceiling of the crawlspace. As the insulation gets wet it loses its ability to perform. And essentially the air goes right around it anyway right up into the livable space.
The solution that works is to encapsulate the crawlspace. Remove vents, seal it up and dehumidify it. It is being done all over America with astounding results. A properly sealed crawlspace has dry air that only exchanges with the livable space making everyone happier…. Including your wallet!