Thursday, December 10, 2009
Foundation Vents are causing higher heating bills
Should I open my foundation vents or should I close my foundation vents? This the most common question I hear in the field. If you live in a home with a vented crawlspace, than more than likely, the vents are the largest culprit for your ice cold floors. In the winter, the vents are "supposed" to be closed to prevent pipes from freezing and to keep the furnace from working overtime to heat a house with an extreme cold air leak underneath it.
There are two common problems with homeowners and their foundation vents. The first is the homeowner that does not close their foundation vents at all during the winter. Some homeowners don't even know what the vents are or what to do with them. I've seen this time and time again. The worst of this group are the homeowners that know they should close their
vents in the winter, but just simply forget to close their vents. Not closing your vents in the winter is the equivalent of cracking a couple of windows all winter long to allow cold air to enter your home. It's that bad!!! Now, to be fair, some just do not understand the consequences of closing them, and that is why I am writing this post.
The second group of homeowners are those that diligently close their vents in the winter and open them come spring. They are very conscious of their crawlspace and are doing what they have always been told. What they do not realize is that by letting in outside air in 7 or 8 months out of the year, they decrease their home's energy efficiency and actually let more moisture into their homes. In the spring and fall, when it rains, we are letting in moisture from the saturated earth; and in the summer we are letting hot humid air into the crawlspace causing condensation on cold surfaces and increasing our cooling bills in the summer.
The idea behind vents was that air would come in one side of the crawlspace and blow through to the other side of the crawlspace. What is actually happening is air comes in the vent and moves upwards into the structural components and the floor above. Air in a home works like a chimney, sucking air from lower levels, rising through the home, and escaping out of the upper levels.
Since foundation vents are bringing in humidity, cold air, musty odors, and mold spores up into your living space, we should close them and seal the crawlspace with our AmeriBrite crawl space encapsulation system. It is not recommended to close off the vents permanently without first encapsulating your crawlspace.
If you live in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, or Illinois and would like a free estimate for the AmeriBrite Encapsulation System, please give us a call @ 1-877-409-2837 or SIGN UP ONLINE.
Thanks for reading the rambling thoughts of a crawl space inspector,
Larry Ralph Jr.