Does the Crawl Space Make My Home Warmer in the Summer?
Crawl spaces play a vital role in many Baltimore homes. These low-lying areas host many systems, like the ductwork, plumbing and electrical. But most importantly, they act as a buffer between your home and the damp earth below.
Some people believe crawl space heat in summer can make their homes warmer. How true is that? Well, the outdoor heat that gets into the crawl space doesn’t make your home significantly warmer. Air circulation means the crawl space will always be considerably colder than the rest of the house. So you will still need to run your air conditioner and heater — but not for long if the crawl space is encapsulated and conditioned.
What Should I Worry About?
Your main concern is what a hot summer and exposed crawl space with a dirt floor can do to your home and health. This potent combination encourages wood rot, fosters mold growth, and threatens the health and safety of your loved ones. High humidity levels in the crawl also cause porous concrete or material to absorb moisture from the air like a sponge.
A lot of warm air rises and enters the crawl space during summer months. As the air moves, a vacuum is created and new air moves to replace it. Almost 50 percent of this air gets into your home. If the crawl space air is musty or filled with mold spores, dust mites, or pollutants, it will affect the quality of life indoors. You may experience more coughing, asthma bouts, itchy eyes, and allergies.
Moisture can also damage the insulation in the crawl space and jeopardize your efforts to keep the crawl space warm, especially if it is fiberglass insulation. Fiberglass is just like a sponge. When moisture builds up, the insulation material soaks water and becomes weighed down. This causes it to sag and fall off.
Wood moisture content and relative humidity go hand in hand. When the crawl space becomes damp, wood also becomes damp and starts rotting, rendering the underlying support structures useless.
Crawl space condensation
Summer months aren’t just notoriously hot, but extremely humid. Moisture levels can shoot up drastically and remain above 60% for days. This sets the stage for crawl space condensation, a situation where warm and moist air from the outside gets inside and comes into contact with cold air. As a result, water droplets form on the crawl space surfaces, specifically walls and floor. For every degree warm air cools, crawl space humidity increases by 2.2%. It’s not unusual for relative humidity to go up to 90% on some days.
Keeping Your House Comfortable
Sealing vents, encapsulating the crawl space, and insulating the crawl space are surest ways of creating an ideal below-grade area and maintaining a comfortable home. Sealing locks out moisture-laden air from the outside while insulation ensures the crawl space air doesn’t escape to the outside. The result is a clean, dry, and temperature-controlled space.
Another thing, keep the hot air out of your home. Keep south-facing windows closed and covered with curtains or blinds. You can open them at night when the temperatures have dropped to give your house good airing.
Crawl space dehumidification also is a great way to improve the air below and throughout your home. An energy-efficient dehumidifier will clean and filter the air, control moisture and humidity, and reduce odors and the potential for mold growth.
If you’re experiencing crawl space issues, particularly constant condensation, this is the right time to have it resolved for good. Otherwise, problems will mount and the situation will get worse. Your crawl space should remain temperate and properly insulated all year round so as to create a comfortable living space above.
Get in touch with JES Foundation repair for a free crawl space inspection. Our experts will recommend lasting solutions to your perennial moisture issues in summer.