3 Key Moves To Make When It Comes to Your Crawl Space Vents
Something you probably never hear about, right? Crawl space vents are such a small component of your house so nobody would blame you if they were continuously on the bottom of the long list of important things you must pay attention to. But oftentimes, the things that have the most value or quality are small. Take a car, for example. That car is like your house, and the oil is like your crawl space vents. When the oil is changed at the appointed time and there’s a constant flow of lubrication, the car runs smoother and safer. Ignore the oil in the car, and things will start to go downhill fast, and ultimately, the car will sustain damage. In this article, we will cover the best three things you can do with your crawl space vents.
First, we must cover the basics, a quick synopsis of why crawl space vents are important and the main function they provide for your home. Crawl space vents are there to refresh the underside of your home. Open vents allow air to circulate naturally through and open the hypothetical lungs of the home, allowing it to breathe. Statistically, the air from your crawl space makes up 50% of the overall amount of air that circulates through your home. This means that your crawl space vents can affect the health of both your home and whoever is inside. The air around us affects our health, bad air entering through your crawl space vents or lack thereof can make someone more susceptible to illness and colds.
Closed vents block the air from outside from circulating through your home and would presumably keep you from the bad air from outside. But that is also assuming that the air inside your crawl space is perfectly healthy, which it may not be. Crawl spaces hold a certain amount of moisture within them, and that moisture only has one way to go: up into your home. I don’t need to tell you that moisture invites things like mold, pests, and humidity into your home because that is what most homes experience in the Carolinas.
#1: Don’t open them
That’s right, although it has its advantages, keeping your crawl space vents open can be a bad thing. Air circulation is the main benefit of having your vents open, it allows your house to breathe. But the Carolinas are well known for their hot and humid summers coupled with very mild winters. In a regular climate, the hot/humid summer air will add moisture to the crawl space, but before anything bad can result, the season changes to winter. Cold, aggressive winters help crawl spaces dry out from the hot/humid summer the season before. As for the Carolinas, our mild winters aren’t cold enough to dry out our crawl spaces from the previous summer. This results in the crawl space continuously gathering moisture year-round, which in turn will cause higher energy bills, bad air quality, and mold/mildew to form.
Opening your crawl space vents seems like the normal thing to do as the seasons change, but there are a couple of factors that influence how this space is affected, such as:
HVAC/Ductwork – You may be in an area that isn’t surrounded by a lot of trees or foliage, and therefore, the chances of you getting adequate airflow into your crawl space year-round are high. However, a common issue even these homes face is with their HVAC system. This system circumnavigates your home to pump AC during the summer and heat during the winter. But it is bulky and cumbersome. If air is trying to circulate through your home and it hits resistance from the outer workings of your HVAC system, that air cannot flow properly. This results in only sections of the crawl space being affected and leaves you with a problem.
No airflow – Living in the Carolinas, there is a high chance that where you live is surrounded by a ton of trees and foliage. These things block the flow of air from ever reaching your crawl space vents and allow the weather of the various seasons to negatively affect the environment in your home.
#2: Don’t close them or buy a fan attachment
Crawl space vents have their disadvantages regardless of if they are open or closed. When they are closed, air cannot get into the crawl space, and therefore there is no circulation to keep the relative humidity down. Given that crawl spaces have moisture entering from the ground that it sits on, that moisture will be unaffected when vents remain closed. The other option is to grab a fan attachment for all the crawl space vents and have them installed to generate airflow without opening them. This option is worse for the health of your home. Fan attachments bring in air from the outside of the home, which will result in even more hot/humid air in the crawl space.
Considering the Carolinas' usual climate throughout the year, the presence of moisture is practically guaranteed. Adequate airflow isn’t enough to sustain a suitable living environment throughout the year. Moisture control must work in tandem with adequate airflow for things to reach and remain at optimal living levels. That leaves us with the third and best option for what to do with your crawl space vents.
#3: Seal your vents and encapsulate your crawl space
Your house is a car, and the oil is your crawl space vents. Like before, if you ignore the oil, the entire car is affected. You must monitor your oil and change it when it needs to be changed. However, sealing your crawl space vents and encapsulating your crawl space is like having a completely new piece added to the engine that constantly circulates new oil throughout the car and it never has to be changed, resulting in the car always running at 100%.
There is a crawl space vent debate throughout the waterproofing industry that argues whether it's best to open or close your crawl space vents. The answer is neither. Crawl space vents must be professionally sealed, blocking any air from entering. Encapsulation of the entire crawl space will then handle any kind of moisture you may have. Part of the full encapsulation process is the installation of a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier continuously grabs the air and expels clean, fresh air that regulates humidity levels within your home and makes it a safe and healthy living space.
Carolina Basement Solutions is a waterproofing company that has been serving the Carolinas for the last five years, and although young, we bring unmatched experience and expertise that is ideal for all waterproofing needs. Our mission is to provide the best customer experience in the industry and keep the Carolinas dry, one waterproofing job at a time. When you need your crawl space vents sealed and encapsulated, or any other waterproofing services, please give us a call at (833) 641-0517 to schedule a FREE inspection today.