This winter so far has been a very mild one and that makes for good news and bad news in your crawlspace. There are several myths about crawl spaces in North Carolina that have persisted over the years. Some people have heard it is good to close your foundation vents during the winter but do you know why and do you know what the unintended consequences may be? The foundation vents in your crawlspace were put in, not to prevent moisture, humidity or even damp soil in the space but are more important for the simple reason of allowing fresh air in your crawlspace and to let the unhealthy air out for a constant exchange of good and bad air. This is by design to improve indoor air quality for a healthier home. If you close the vents in your crawl space all winter long you are trapping in bad unhealthy air which, with exposed dirt or even damp soil covered with a simple vapor barrier that is not sealed will only get worse over time. To make matters worse, In the winter your home is being heated which will cause air currents from rising heat and allow air to be drawn in from the crawlspace and bring that unhealthful air into the home!
So why close the vents at all? The answer is much simpler than all this. The possibility of FROZEN WATER PIPES and water damage! Extended cold spells with temperatures getting below freezing will expose pipes located near the foundation vents to possible freezing conditions. Nothing ruins a great weekend building a snowman faster than water damage in your home or even under your home. It is for this reason that I recommend either having vents that you manually open and close with ease and not the automatic vents which close as the weather cools. You want that fresh air in your crawlspace to helap with good indoor air quality but you also should be able to close the vents during an extended freeze with easy access to reopen them once the freeze danger has passed. Of course, a sealed crawlspace or encapsulated crawlspace solves all of these problems for you taking out all the guesswork. A closed crawlspace done correctly provides for clean, fresh indoor air quality, lower energy bills and, of course, keeps those pipes nice and warm during the winter!
For more answers to the multitude of crawlspace myths and facts feel free to give us a call for a free evaluation of your crawlspace.