When winter arrives, the last thing you want is to go down to the crawl space. Orlando, FL, weather can be unforgiving. But what’s even more worrying is that taming moisture and temperature during winter will become a near-impossible task. Yes, that’s if the crawl space is vented and poorly insulated.
More than half of the air that gets into your home originates from the crawl space. When this air is dirty, moldy or smelly, you can guess what the conditions your home will be. Air will move around through a phenomenon known as the stack effect. It affects temperatures, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality.
Ways Cooler Air Affects the Crawl Space
While it doesn’t get as cold here as in some of the northern states, a major complaint homeowners have in winter is colder floors than usual, especially those right above the crawl space. You’re likely to deal with cold floors if the crawl space isn’t sealed or is not properly insulated. The cooler air gets in through cracks and gaps, and this air will cool down the floors and other surfaces around your home.
The stack effect also pulls up allergens, dust mite feces, mold spores, and acrid smells that pollute the air you breathe. The draft allows nasty airborne particles like bacteria, mold spores, volatile organic compounds, and allergens to mix with conditioned air that circulates within your home. When these get in and your loved ones inhale them, they’re going to experience respiratory problems.
Anyone with asthma will be the hardest hit, as their condition will worsen.
The stack effect doesn’t just bring all the nasty particles indoors. Cooler outside air can also increase your energy bills significantly. Air infiltration will create a stack effect, which will cool down your home.
To warm up the indoors, you will have to run your heater and air conditioner. If there are leaks, the cost of heating will go up by more than 60%.
While cooler air doesn’t carry a lot of moisture, it can still lead to moisture buildup. Moisture is the number one cause of mold, wood rot, and a host of other problems. Excess moisture can weaken the wooden beams that support the home, leading to structural problems.
Keeping Your Home Clean and Comfortable
Crawl space moisture and temperature will affect the conditions inside your home. Here’s what you can do to create a warm, dry, comfortable interior.
Crawl space vent covers. Start by sealing all the venting that allows outside air into the crawl space. We recommend airtight plastic vent covers that are built to last. This solution prevents cooler, moist air from getting into your crawl space into your home above.
Crawl space insulation. It’s your answer to creating warmer floors. Most contractors use spray foam insulation and rigid foam board to insulate the crawl space. Unlike fiberglass batts, these insulation materials are water-resistant, so they won’t decay or become ineffective with time. For best results, use materials with a radiant barrier and an R-11 value. Pairing expanded polystyrene foam insulation with padded floor insulation helps lock out outdoor air. Your crawl space will stay warm in winter and cool in summer months.
Crawl space encapsulation. Next, we apply a plastic 20-mil vapor barrier over the walls and floor to create a conditioned space. This durable material locks out outside air and moisture that threaten the crawl space, and it makes it more difficult for pests to come inside. You will end up with a cleaner and more usable space that’s going to also increase the resale value of your home. Plus, you’ll reduce your chances of experiencing pest infestations. You will cut heating and cooling costs by up to 30%. Indoor air will also become cleaner and safer.
Once you seal and encapsulate the crawl space, you will notice the floors and walls above will become warmer. Heating costs will go down, as you won’t be losing heat through ducts or pipes. Don’t let the winter dampen your mood. Contact the professional team at Florida Foundation Authority today to schedule a free crawl space inspection and repair quote. We have the expertise and the tools to help you create a clean, dry, healthy crawl space.