While most of us rarely give thought to our home’s crawl space, it plays a vital role in the ‘well-being’ of our home. This space may be vented or sealed but its purpose is the same – to ensure that air is circulated throughout the home, while also allowing for easy access to the home’s plumbing, electrical and other systems, as well as any unseen structural repairs or installation tasks.
With such an important role in the home’s overall structure, you must choose wisely when deciding whether to have a conditioned or vented crawlspace design.
Conditioned spaces, also referred to as sealed, encapsulated, or unvented, are especially popular in areas such as Charlotte, NC where high humidity is common. They are usually included in homes without a basement, although if a basement is to have a dirt floor, encapsulation may be employed. The primary reason for a conditioned crawlspace is to create a barrier within the crawlspace to help insulate against humidity.
What is a Conditioned Crawl Space?
This is when the crawl space is hermetically sealed from outdoor air and its conditioning is a part of the home’s HVAC system. It includes a vapor barrier as well as an insulated band joist and foundation walls. There is often a system – either a humidifier, a small exhaust fan or air mover, or a small amount of air sourced from the HVAC system.
9 Benefits of a Conditioned Crawl Space
While there are many reasons to opt for an encapsulated crawlspace, here are but a few to consider.
- To minimize significantly the risks of damage such as dry rot to the structure due to moisture
- To reduce the chance of mildew, fungus and mold formation
- To create an airtight barrier that keeps insects and animals from entering the space below your home
- To improve the air quality of your home due to the gasses released by the soil being blocked. In addition, dust and allergens are prevented from entering your home through the ventilation system.
- Because additional insulation is required as part of the installation, homes with a conditioned crawl space typically have lower utility bills, often by as much as 20%.
- Mechanical systems and ductwork that are located in a sealed crawlspace will work better and longer.
- A controlled temperature and humidity increase the structural integrity and decrease the chance of condensation buildup underneath the home.
- Because the moisture level below the floor stays constant there is less risk of movement and buckling in homes with hardwood floors.
- Better home resale value
The crawl space of your home is not something to be ignored. Opting to have a conditioned space offers benefits above, below, and inside of your home. If you have questions about your home’s crawl space, talk to Sherrill Structural Repair. We are happy to answer your questions.