If your home has a vented crawlspace, you're losing a lot of money on heating and cooling costs while making your crawlspace an attractor for vermin and mold. Enclosing your crawlspace insulates it fully, preventing cold or warm air from leaking out of the crawlspace and sealing it from intruding vermin.
The primary problem with a vented crawlspace is that its humidity level matches that of the outside air — during the summer when it's humid outside, and you're running the air conditioner, the cold air blown through your air ducts in the crawlspace cools the exterior of the vents. Condensation forms on the outside of your air ducts, leading to excess moisture in the crawlspace that provides an inviting environment for pests and mold.
When you have your crawlspace encapsulated, any vents from the crawlspace to the outside will be sealed. An insulating membrane will be placed over the ground and on the walls of the crawlspace to insulate and enclose your crawlspace entirely. A dehumidifier will be installed, and your crawlspace will be connected to your in-home HVAC system to keep your crawlspace dry. Here are some of the benefits of having your crawlspace encapsulated.
Improves Energy Efficiency
Homeowners commonly encapsulate their crawlspaces to improve on energy efficiency. When air ducts run through a vented crawlspace, the hot air surrounding the vents will heat the cool air inside. Also, the humidity and hot air in your crawlspace want to rise upward — it will leak through the cracks in your crawlspace and into the interior of your home. Both of these cause your air conditioner to work harder than necessary to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. When you encapsulate your crawlspace, you improve the energy efficiency of your home and save on your energy bills.
Guards Against Pests That Can Damage Your Home
The condensation in your crawlspace is very attractive to pests, who will enter in through the vents to drink water. This includes mice, rats, snakes, and raccoons, who will enter into your crawlspace seeking water and nest in your insulation.
However, the most dangerous pest attracted by a vented crawlspace is the termite. Between the condensation on the air ducts and the wood in your floor joists, they have everything they need to colonize your crawlspace. Enclosing your crawlspace helps prevent an infestation of termites, who are capable of causing massive damage to the wooden structure of your home.
Prevents Mold From Entering Through the Crawlspace
When your vented crawlspace is excessively moist and humid, it can easily harbor large amounts of mold. Mold reproduces by sending spores throughout the air. The warm, spore-laden air emanating from your crawlspace will rise and eventually find its way into your home. Encapsulating your crawlspace and keeping it dry will prevent mold from growing. You'll avoid the potential health consequences of mold growing in your home and also avoid musty odors.
If you want the benefits of a lower energy bill along with pest and mold prevention, contact a contractor specializing in crawl space encapsulation. Encapsulating your crawl space is best left to a professional — doing a poor job can lead to accidentally creating a vapor barrier in your crawlspace while not reducing humidity. This can lead to pooling water in your crawlspace and make pest and mold issues worse.