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crawl space vent

Venting the Crawl Space? Read This First!

Crawl space vents are common fixtures in many homes and affect the quality of life and the indoor space in many ways.

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No one installs vents with the aim of elevating crawl space moisture. But that’s the price of having these fixtures on your Lynchburg or Charlottesville, VA, home. You need to rethink how you ventilate your crawl space. Venting doesn’t work. It encourages condensation and other problems associated with it. We’ll show you why vents aren’t useful anymore and how to keep your moisture in check. 

crawl space vent

Background of Crawl Space Vents 

You’ve probably grown up seeing crawl space vents across homes in your neighborhood. Most of them were built around the 1930s. With time, they became a standard fixture and practice for homeowners. 
However, it seems no one questioned their usefulness. 

Builders did install vents and left the ground unsealed in line with HUD recommendations. And people continued installing vents on adjacent walls. While these fixtures were meant to air out the home and lower moisture buildup, they did the exact opposite. 

Potential Sources of Air Leaks 

Air leaks in your home come from different sources. But the common ones are plumbing and electrical gaps, ceiling/floor junctions, and outside wall intersections. Other notable pathways are ducts and chimneys. Door, windows, and wall sockets bring air into your home too. 

As homeowners become aware of the venting pitfalls, they start questioning crawl space standards. More and more builders are also embracing new ways of dealing with moisture-laden air. 

Taming Crawl Space Moisture  

Air exchange and groundcovers are widely accepted ways of regulating crawl space conditions. Other effective ways of controlling moisture include: 

  • Properly sizing the dehumidifier and maintaining it 
  • Sealing crawl space ducts and adding air pathways 
  • Removing water from the crawl space floor 
  • Installing a vapor barrier 
  • Properly insulating the space 
  • Setting the AC thermostat above the dew point 
  • Covering the crawl space vents 

Is Crawl Space Venting Useful?  

Numerous studies across the U.S. show that venting your crawl space is harmful to your home. These fixtures let in warm, moisture-laden air. When this air gets into your crawl space, it’s going to instigate several problems like: 

  • Pests and termite infestation 
  • Mold, fungi, and mildew growth 
  • Crawl space condensation 
  • Insulation damage 
  • Wood rot and decay 
  • Indoor air pollution 

But these aren’t all the problems you’ll face. Outside air may also increase the amount of radon gas in your crawl space. Most of it may end up in your living space. 

Mold growth and wood decay will also result in musty smells or odors. Heating costs may also go up significantly. The best way to deal with these problems is to seal the crawl space and condition it. If humidity remains high after sealing, we encourage you to get an energy-efficient dehumidifier. This appliance will help you tame moisture. 

Why Seal the Crawl Space? 

Sealing your crawl space is beneficial in many ways. Not only does it protect your home from toxic mold, but it also improves indoor air quality. Encapsulation ensures no pollutants from the outside come in and contaminate your air. 

The condition of your crawl space also affects the comfort of your home. Remember, close to 50% of indoor air originates from the below-ground area. If you seal the vents and encapsulate your crawl space, you won’t contend with toxic air or moist air that could make your floors cold. 

Your crawl space will keep attracting pests as long as it remains open. These critters can damage your insulation and wooden structures, specifically joists and beams. Sealing it makes it very difficult for rodents and crawling insects get in to cause damage. 

Encapsulation turns your damp and musty crawl space into a dry and usable space. You can use it as a storage area for your various belongings. Heating costs will also go down considerably. If you’re able to seal your crawl space before it deteriorates, you will forestall future replacements, which can be costly and disruptive. 

Don’t develop a wait-and-see attitude with your crawl space. Warm, moist air will keep flowing in as long as the vents remain open. And there’s no way you can control moisture if the venting remains unsealed. Get in touch with the crawl space experts at JES Foundation Repair to arrange a free crawl space repair inspection and quote. We will assess the condition of your crawl space and tell you what kind of repairs and materials it needs.

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