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Is Your Crawl Space Making Your Home Cold?

Many people complain about having cold and uncomfortable floors in winter. Air drafts and open crawl space vents are often to blame.

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No one fancies the idea of stepping out of bed and walking on an ice-cold floor or working on surfaces that are cold to the touch. Both are likely scenarios this winter if you don’t seal your crawl space. Winter cold can make indoor living unbearable. 

Do something about the exposed crawl space sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you’ll have to endure those uncomfortable walks around the house. Heating costs will go up and the indoor air may also get stuffy and clammy. 

open vent in crawl space

Why is your home cold? 

Cold weather is the main reason you have cold floors and walls in winter. Between December and January, temperatures in Appomattox, VA, can fall to as low as 24°F. Your home and the surfaces and floors will become ice cold. Other reasons you’re experiencing unusual cold include: 

Poor insulation 

Some homes have poorly insulated crawl spaces that make them unbearably cold during winter. Such crawl spaces cannot block outside air or retain heat. Floors that are situated directly above these areas will get exposed to the cold. 

Air leaks and drafts 

Poor insulation isn’t the only thing that’s responsible for the cold floors. Drafts and air leaks are the other culprits. Anytime warm air rises into the ceiling, it creates a vacuum or stack effect that draws in cold outside air. The air enters through small gaps and holes around your home’s foundation and sill plates. 

Cures for crawl space cold 

You may not be giving much attention to the crawl space now. But during the cold weather, you’ll appreciate how much this low-lying area affects the conditions indoors. You may have to turn on your HVAC for hours just to raise the temperatures so floors and walls stay warm. This approach may seem to work. However, it perpetuates airflow without really warming up the floors. Incoming cold air will cool down the floors and walls. So, the cycle of heating and cooling will continue. 

Encapsulate the crawl space 

Covering the walls and dirt floor with a 20-mil plastic vapor barrier locks out moisture-laden air that can dampen and cool down the crawl space. Taped down at the seams, the heavy-duty liner goes up the foundation wall, leaving a small space for termite inspections. Sealing isolates the crawl space and keeps the outdoor elements from infiltrating into your home. 

Cover vents 

If you want to stop the cold outside air from interfering with the conditions in your home, you have to further seal the crawl space. In other words, cover all the vents to stop outside air from flowing into your crawl space and into your home. We recommend durable plastic vent covers that are resistant to the elements. They’re permanently installed over the vents and you’ll never need to repaint or replace them, as they won’t rot. 

Air sealing the crawl space will eliminate drafts and enhance the effectiveness of your encapsulation and insulation. If you want to control airflow, we encourage you to air seal your entire home, not just the crawl space. 

Crawl space insulation 

Worn, damaged or poor-quality insulation will expose your floors and walls to cold. Your condition could be worse if you don’t have heating ducts in the crawl space. Insulate your foundation walls with rigid insulation panels and apply spray foam around rim joists and gaps. Insulation will prevent outside cold from cooling down the crawl space. Temperatures in your crawl space will reflect those in your living areas, meaning floors will be warmer. 

If you’re tired of wearing slippers because your floors feel cold, get in touch with the experts at JES Foundation Repair for a free crawl space repair inspection and quote. We can help you seal the crawl space and condition it so it stays warm, fresh, and comfortable in winter. Our weatherproofing solutions are durable, affordable, and effective.

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