You Could Be Overpaying to Heat and Cool Your Home If You Have A Crawlspace!
If you like paying less to heat and cool your home, and if you like protecting your home and family, this is the blog for you! We recently had an interesting conversation with one of our clients, and she told us it was incredibly informative. So, we decided to literally reproduce the conversation below as a blog – we hope you enjoy it!
First of all, what is a crawl space, and what does it have to do with heating and cooling bills?
A crawl space is that shallow, unfinished space beneath the first floor of a home, which often provides access to plumbing or wiring. In fact, many of our clients tell us that it’s that part of their home they never, ever visit! You may be a bit shocked to hear that all building experts agree that a vented, dirt floor crawl space actually raises your heating and cooling costs by 15% to 25% every month! Yes, that’s right!
Okay, now I’m interested, explain some more what a home’s crawl space has to do with heating and cooling bills?
The thing about crawl spaces is that they are typically cool areas, and this is because the ground temperature inside a dirt-floor crawl space hovers around 55 degrees year-round. So, when such crawl spaces are vented to the outside word (as most are!), they allow warm, humid air to spill into the crawl space. As this warm air from the outside is then cooled inside the crawl space, the relative humidity of the air inside the crawl space goes up. And when the relative humidity of the air inside your home goes up, it is harder to heat or cool your home, which then increases energy costs!
Hold on, I don’t get it – why are crawl spaces vented to the outside world?
That’s a great question! Why indeed? The problem started many years ago, when the city’s building codes were written. The folks who wrote the building codes rationalized that because cool air and moisture rises from dirt crawl spaces into homes, something must be done about it, like venting the crawl space, so that this cold, humid air can flow out through the vents.
The problem is, that these folks who wrote the building code, didn’t stop to think that through these vents, on a damp day, damp air would be flooding the crawl space! On a cold day, cold air would be flooding the crawl space! On a rainy day, moisture would be entering the crawl space! And on a hot day, hot air would be flowing into the crawl space, and when hot air mixes with cold, damp air inside the crawl space, the air’s relative humidity shoots up even higher!
So, tell me again, what does all this have to do with increased heating and cooling costs?
Okay, look, your home operates as a system, and the warm, humid air that’s inside your crawl space rises up into your home. As warm, humid air rises, it leaks out of the upper floors, and as part of that process, new air gets sucked in at the crawl space ground level to replace the air that had escaped, and this creates an ongoing “suction” effect. In a typical “leaky” home, virtually all the air in the home is fully-exchanged twice per hour! So, having all this warm, humid air inside your home takes more energy to heat or cool, which in turn translates into higher energy bills!
I get it! So, my next move is to seal all the vents in my crawl space?
The thing is, if you decide to take matters into your own hands and seal your crawl space vent openings, you will actually increase the level of moisture in your home’s air even further! Plus, you will also be creating a potentially deadly situation if your basement or crawl space contains a ventilated-type of combustible equipment like a home water heater! Don’t do this!
Okay, any more bad news here?
Unfortunately, yes, there’s more bad news! Your home is built almost entirely out of organic material such as fiberboard, chipboard, plywood, lumber, etc., and this warm, humid air that’s flowing through your home provides a “perfect” environment for mold, mildew, and fungus to grow. This nasty stuff will not only rot your home from the inside out, but it will also release airborne “spores” that float on light air currents (remember “air mixing”?), irritating human lungs, causing allergies, and with prolonged exposure, causing asthma and other pulmonary illnesses!
But wait, there’s more! There’s also deadly Radon gas, which is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that comes from Radium deposits deep in the earth’s crust. If Radon is present in the soil under your home (and it has been found in many places across Los Angeles), it can get sucked into your home through your basement and crawl space and you won’t even know it! Radon is the second leading cause of cancer in America, and the EPA estimates that 21,000 people die each year from Radon-related lung cancer!
I can see I need to do something! What should I do?
Today’s top building scientists all agree that the most effective and reliable solution that can lower your heating and cooling bills and provide you and your family with a healthy and comfortable living space involves installing an affordable crawl space encapsulation system and a dehumidifier inside your crawl space. Such a system can prevent the warm, humid air that increases heating and cooling bills, breeds harmful mold, mildew, and fungus, and rots a home from the inside out.
Weinstein Construction can help! Our crawlspace encapsulation specialists can isolate your home from the earth floor of your crawl space by installing a vapor barrier liner in this area. This liner is made from ultra-durable polyethylene that resists punctures and tears, and is also blended with anti-bacterial materials that retard mold and bacteria growth. Then, we also seal the vents and cracks that create outside air leaks. And lastly, we install an “Energy Star” rated dehumidifier to dry out and continuously “condition” your crawl space air. That’s it! Problem solved!
So, if you are asking, are there crawl space contractors near me? The answer is yes! Your Greater Los Angeles crawl space encapsulation specialist is just a phone call away! Call Weinstein Construction for a free inspection of your basement and crawlspace – we can show you how crawl space repair is done!
We are the leading crawl space repair company in Greater Los Angeles: whether it’s French drainage installation, installing a sump-pump to keep ground water out, adding a dehumidifier to dry the air, exterior waterproofing, or basement foundation repair, we do it all at an unbeatable price and value!
If you want the leaders in basement waterproofing and crawl space encapsulation Los Angeles, call Angela today at (800) 862-6582, and we’ll schedule you for a free crawl space encapsulation inspection and estimate! Your peace of mind, family health, and home value are worth it!
* Adapted from “Crawl Space Science, What to Have Done… and Why” (by Lawrence Janesky, 2014).