Crawl Space Energy Loss
Energy loss comes from several design flaws in a crawl space. Two of these major flaws rob your home of comfort and energy on a regular year round basis. They also create a endless supply of problems for your home.
The first and most obvious is the foundation vents. This design flaw is single handedly the biggest contributor to the problems associated with crawl spaces. In the winter the foundation vents serve as an unrestricted path from the outside of your home to the inside. Most foundation vents are designed to be opened and closed and the more modern ones do this automatically. These vents, no matter how expensive or how clever the design would never be installed in, say your bedroom where we would want to control the temperature. The cold would pour into the room, even with the vent closed. Take a look at the foundation vents on your home and ask yourself how much cold winter air they would keep out of your bedroom when you close them, if you close them. To go a step further some people improve the heat retention of the crawl space by “stuffing” insulation in the foundation vent. But that creates a whole new problem. Cold air holds less moisture, by closing the foundation vents with insulation you stop the cold air from coming in, raising the temperature of the crawl space. This allows the moisture in the ground to then continue to evaporate into the air, because now the air is warmer it holds more moisture. Essentially allowing the summer moisture problems to continue all winter. But there has to be a way?! And there is, that’s where we come in.
So what is the other major design flaw in a crawl space? It’s the reason you have foundation vents in the first place, the exposed earth floor. It’s not to say your house does not have some kind of plastic laying on the floor, because it might. Having plastic just laying on the dirt will help with keeping your knees out of the mud, but not much else.
Moisture, like water, finds its own level. You will never see water pile up like sugar if it is spilled on the table or have one half of your bedroom really humid and the other half dry. This holds true in the crawl space as well.
While the foundation vents rob heat from your home in the winter, the moisture from the crawl space impacts your air conditioner’s ability to be both efficient to run and provide affordable comfort. The air conditioner already has plenty to do to keep your home cool and comfortable in the hot summer months. The added moisture from the crawl space causes extended run times for your A/C and that means higher electric bills.
If that is not enough, the crawl space moisture attacks your duct work causing it to rust prematurely leading to an even more inefficient system. These problems demand a more complete solution than stuffing insulation in the foundation vents and replacing your duct work every 5 years. The good news is, the money you save stopping this kind of destruction to your home, will almost pay for itself in five to seven years.