November 4, 2014

7 Reasons You Should Encapsulate Your Crawl Space This Winter

Should I encapsulate my crawl space? If you have asked this question before, you’re not alone. Many homeowners, particularly those with dirt, vented crawl spaces, wonder whether encapsulation is a good idea or not.

The simple answer is yes. Crawl space encapsulation is recommended as the most effective way to prevent moisture problems in the lower levels of a house. Vented or unsealed crawl spaces provide the perfect entryway for outdoor pollutants, moisture and pests to gain access to your home.  

In case you aren't quite convinced of the benefits, here are seven reasons you should encapsulate your crawl space this winter:

Crawl Space Encapsulation Saves Money

1. Save money on your energy bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, encapsulated or conditioned crawl spaces save 15 – 18 percent on your energy bill. For instance, during the winter, cold air is introduced into your home via an unsealed crawl space. The influx of cold air puts additional strain on the heating system. An encapsulation system that includes a vapor barrier will lower your heating (and cooling) costs by controlling the temperature and moisture levels in your crawl space.

2. Minimize crawl space problems that stem from moisture and dampness. Moisture is the number one enemy of your home’s foundation. Mold spores need three things to multiply: a food source, warmth and moisture (relative humidity above 50 percent). Mold thrives on paper, leather, wood and other organic materials.

3. Improve your home’s indoor air quality. As much as 50 percent of the air in your home comes from the crawl space. Contaminants, such as mold and mildew, in the crawl space can be cycled throughout your home and may potentially harm you and your family. It’s also worth noting that allergies, asthma and other health conditions have been linked to mold and dampness.
4. Reduce rodents, insects and other allergens in your home a.k.a. pest control. Less insects, dust mites, rodents and pests making their way into your living space is another benefit of encapsulating your crawl space. And the term ‘pests’ can refer to squirrels, rats, spiders and snakes—dead or alive.

5. Protect your ductwork from rust. Quality ductwork lasts for a long time when properly maintained. Humidity and condensation ensure ducts are devoured by rust and must be replaced sooner rather than later.

6. Avoid wet insulation in your crawl space. Wet insulation creates a breeding ground for wood-rotting fungi and mold. When insulation gets wet from too much moisture, its protective capacities are greatly diminished.

7. Prevent expensive structural repairs. After moisture seeps into wooden beams and joists, the end result compromises your home’s structural integrity, leaving portions of it susceptible to collapse. Moisture, as well as standing water from heavy rains or melting snow, in your crawl space can eventually undermine wall supports, causing damage to your home’s foundation.

Since winter is generally considered an “off-season” for crawl space encapsulation, it’s an ideal time to take advantage of holiday deals. As an added benefit, many crawl space encapsulation products have a 25-year warranty, allowing you to enjoy your home for years to come.

More about crawl space encapsulation:

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