The “Monster Under the Bed” Syndrome
A crawlspace is never the family room that everyone defaults to. We often forget about our crawlspace. We don’t see it, we don’t go to it, so we think we really shouldn’t care about it, right? Your crawlspace is like that monster that was under your bed when you were five, but the only thing is now you are older, and instead of being under your bed it is under your home! You try to pretend it doesn’t matter, but deep down inside you know you should take a peak and make sure everything is okay. This article will highlight all of the reasons why you should be concerned about the crawlspace under your home. As they say, knowledge is to the mind as light is to the darkness.
A crawlspace usually has a dirt floor. If you haven’t gone down there, and are thinking it will be clean, then you will be in for quite a shock. Most crawlspaces are only visited by bugs, rats, and mold from water intrusion. The older a home, the worse conditions you can expect to find. So, you’re probably thinking, why should I care what happens in a crawlspace? Well, even though you may not see it every day, like your bedroom and living room, that crawlspace is still a major part of your home. Just like any other part of your home, it too has a part to play. The crawl space is essentially a substitute for a basement. Homes that do not have a basement or are not built on a slab will typically be raised on beams with the space below being called the “crawlspace.” The crawlspace is there to promote the circulation of air within your home. Additionally, you will find your home’s HVAC and plumbing systems in the crawlspace. Often, we also see the crawlspace being used as a storage area.
However, the fact that the crawlspace is a large contributor to the air circulating in your house is why you should really care what is going on down there!
HVAC – Crawlspace Relationship
The HVAC system in your home takes the air in your crawlspace, and then circulates it throughout your entire home. This is why older homes that have mold in their crawlspace will smell terrible when the heating or cooling system is turned on – not exactly the type of clean air you would expect! Of course, this is just one issue that can arise. Crawlspaces will also have some vents that access the outside air. Delving into the elementary science of this placement will easily convince you that a vent is unnecessary. In the summer time, this vent will be pulling in warm air, while you are trying to cool your home. These two different temperatures will cause your cooling system to work harder, thus costing you more money. The cooling system could be operating twice as hard to reach the desired temperature! The reverse is true when it is cold. You will be trying to heat the home, and the vents will bring in cold air making the heating system again work twice as hard.
Another problem that often appears in crawlspaces in water intrusion. Thanks to dirt floors, water can easily come into the crawl space, and on that note, pretty much anything else (e.g. bugs, rats, etc).
All of this amounts to the fact that crawlspaces should not be ignored! What then, is the ideal crawlspace? The ideal crawlspace is one that is entirely isolated from the outside environment. Multiple methods can be implemented to accomplish this, however a good solution should be one that is permanent and strong.
CleanSpace Crawlspace Encapsulation
One of the best innovations for the crawlspace is CleanSpace. CleanSpace is a crawl space encapsulation system that serves as a vapor barrier. It is a super durable 20mil plastic sheet material designed to permanently prevent moisture, outside air, and pests from getting into your crawl space. CleanSpace installation usually includes padding and drainage matting for extra protection and comfort. With this system, you can also install SilverGlo, which are insulation panels that will entirely seal and insulate your crawlspace. Homeowners that have this combination have reported a noticeable decrease in their monthly heating and cooling bills. CleanSpace is a tested and proven method that is not only permanent, but also aesthetically pleasing.
You may not see your crawlspace every day, but you are breathing the air that comes from it. Be proactive about your crawlspace, and don’t let it become a hazard to your health!