If you have crawlspace in your home then you are unlucky enough not to be able to stand up in your basement. Very few homes that have been built in recent years have them because they are actually against building safety regulations now but some homeowners choose to have them by creating a small door to the foundations of their home. Whilst it does give you more space there are other considerations that you have to take into account, like crawlspace ventilation.
If you do have a crawlspace in your home then you may use it as a storage area or you may leave it unused, the choice is yours but one thing that you must do is ensure that your crawlspace ventilation is in full working order. Any form of vapour or moisture in the foundations of your home can actually cause structural damage in a short period of time that is extremely expensive to fix. Prevention is better than cure so you should think about this sooner rather than later.
The Basics Of Crawlspace Ventilation
Crawlspace ventilation systems were designed to allow air from the outside atmosphere in to circulate in the space but, more importantly, to let moisture out. All soils breathes and produces moisture. That is a fact of nature. The foundations of you home are effectively made of soil and the vapour released there will collect and begin to form a fine mist.
Unfortunately, if this moisture is in your crawlspace then it will settle and condense on the walls of your foundations and cause you potentially severe structural problems. The moisture will turn to mildew, which in turn will attack the subfloors and beam in your crawlspace thus undermining the house.
Crawlspace ventilation usually consists of strategically placed vents just above ground level. They can easily become blocked as a result of soil build up or weeks and grasses growing too close o them and blocking the flow of air. As a result, it has to be well maintained.
You should always check your vents every three months and remove anything that may prove to be an obstacle. You may also want to clean them with warm water to remove and residue that may be invisible to the naked eye. It only takes a few minutes to maintain your crawlspace ventilation but can take moths to remedy any damage caused by ineffective ventilation.
The Crawlspace Ventilation Debate
There has been debate in the last few years about just how effective crawlspace ventilation is. There are alternatives that homeowners can employ to ensure that as little moisture as possible makes it into your crawlspace.
For example, a vapour retarder can actually impede any vapour trying to get into your crawlspace to begin with. The retarder is simply laid on the floor of your foundations and then works its magic.
There is some debate on whether you should leave your vents open as a precaution but most experts say that it does not matter whilst other say that it is better to leave them open so any excess moisture can still make its way out.
Whatever school of thought you tend to side with, crawlspace ventilation still remains a valid and essential part of any crawlspace if you want your home to be structurally sound for years to come.
See Also: Insulating a Crawlspace