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avoid a damp crawl space

The crawl space vent debate may not be ending anytime soon. But the ugly truth is that vents do more harm to your crawl space than good. You can guess who the losers and winners are at the end of the day.

But that hasn’t been the case. For many years, homeowners across Colorado Springs, CO, studiously observed local codes that required them to install crawl space vents. The idea then was that vents would promote air circulation, which in turn would help dry up the crawl space. Recent studies and tests have proven otherwise.

Venting the crawl space has many disadvantages. You don’t want to be a reference for neighbors wondering whether to vent or not to vent the below-ground areas in the homes.

Cons of Crawl Space Vents

While Colorado is generally drier and less humid that other parts of the country, during summer, the crawl space has the potential to get quite humid. Hot and moisture-laden air from the outside can easily push indoor humidity past the 60% mark. At this point, things start going downhill.

More often than not, the hot air mixes with the cool air in the crawl space, and the result is condensation, a phenomenon where water droplets coalesce on the crawl space walls or ductwork. Condensation sets the stage for various problems like wood rot, mold growth, and insulation damage.

Most of the indoor air in a home comes from the crawl space. If this air is putrid or polluted, you can guess where it will all end up – your lungs. You can expect your breathing problems to worsen. A home that was once comfortable will feel like a dungeon.

With air coming in and out of the crawl space, the conditions will swing from relatively cool and dry to cold and damp. This might force you to run your heater. The same goes for summer months when the air can be oppressively hot, and you’ll have to rely more on your air conditioner.

Your vented crawl space is also going to be a hotbed for mold and mildew growth. Both aren’t just ugly, but deadly and destructive. They will eat your wood and release tiny spores that will interfere with your breathing. Within no time, your hospital visits will go from routine checkups to daily visits.

We all want to have energy-efficient homes. Your desire to save energy will remain a pipe dream if you use venting. A vented crawl space creates a stack effect that will drive up your energy bills by at least 20%. Removing the vents and sealing the crawl space can help normalize the bills.

When you’re inspecting the crawl space, you’re likely to bump into insect droppings, chewing marks, shreds of insulation, and foul smells. All these are signs of insect and pest infestation. Small pests and insects can squeeze through the crawl space vents and cracks on the perimeter wall.

As long as this fixture remains, you’re going to be giving critters a free pass to the below-ground areas in your home.

Venting isn’t all gloom and doom. If you’re looking to air your crawl space more, venting may work for you, but only for a short time. After that, you’ll be fighting to control moisture and salvage what’s left of your crawl space. So why waste time doing what you know will hurt your crawl space?

What’s the way out?

Instead of venting your crawl space, seal it up with vent covers and a durable vapor barrier. Don’t forget to get a dehumidifier to dry out the air.

We all want a clean, dry crawl space. But that’s not going to happen if this space remains vented.

Moisture build-up should be your biggest worry, as it’s going to instigate many problems. If you’d like to reverse moisture build-up and stop many of the problems that accompany it, remove the vents in the crawl space.

Get in touch with Complete Basement Systems for fast and hassle-free crawl space repairs and encapsulation. We’re happy to offer you a free inspection and quote and advise you on the way forward.