Impact of Vented Crawl Spaces in Home Energy Performance

In this video John explains the impact that a dirt-floored, vented crawl space has on overall home energy performance.

Homeowners tend to think of their crawl space as a place where nobody ever goes, and assume that what is happening in there has little to no effect on the living areas of the house. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality, crawl spaces greatly influence home performance, and when poorly maintained it will provide a lot of discomfort for the family living in the house. In fact, the issues in a crawl space have the potential to cause severe damage to the home and compromise its structural integrity.

Moisture is one of the prime crawl space issues, which means getting moisture under control is paramount to the durability of any home. As we know, the air in a building always move upwards, which means crawl space moisture is constantly being carried to the above levels, along with mold spores, dust mite pellets and other allergens and pollutants.

Energy penalties from vented crawl spaces are also significant. Vents allow cold outside air into the house during the winter, causing drafts and cold floor issues. In the summer, hot and humid air from the outside will be brought into the crawl space and home as a result. Typically, homeowners and contractors try to deal with the problem by installing fiberglass insulation batts on the crawl space ceiling, between the floor joists.
Fiberglass bats are the worst possible choice for crawl space insulation. Fiberglass absorbs moisture, sags and ultimately falls off.

According to recent building science developments, sealing -- not venting -- crawl spaces is the best practice when it comes to proper treatment of a crawl space.

Dr. Energy Saver by Global Dwelling is Ulster County’s exclusive provider of the CleanSpace® Crawl Space Encapsulation System, which is the first and to date the most advanced system of its kind in the world. We service Kingston to Saugerties and Hudson to Highland.

The system includes drainage products to keep ground water from pooling into the crawl space; insulation options for the walls and the floors; a 20mil, multilayered crawl space vapor barrier with a built-in antimicrobial layer to completely isolate the crawl space from ground water and outside air; and crawl space covers for an air tight seal.

To deal with airborne humidity and condensation, the powerful SaniDry dehumidifier is installed. This system automatically monitors and controls humidity levels and filters the air at the same time. It self-empties into a drainage system, so there is never the need to empty a water tray.

“As home performance contractors we want to take the same approach in the crawl space that we do in the rest of the house, so that when we are all done, we know that we made sure that the house is functioning properly and is healthy and safe for all its occupants,” says John.

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