Do not neglect your crawl space ventilation

One the most neglected areas of a house is the crawl space ventilation. Just because you can’t see it everyday doesn’t mean it is not important.

Maybe it is because it is hard to get to, out of sight, and not always the most pleasant place to go to. This can be a real source of water damage restoration.

Typical Foundation Vent

Typical Foundation Vent

I’ve seen snake skins, rat bones and other less-than-inviting things in crawl spaces. Yet, this is a very important area to take care of. Not only can you make your house more comfortable, but you will also save a lot on your heating and cooling expenses by taking care of your crawl space ventilation.

Yet, this is a very important area to take care of. Not only can you make your house more comfortable, but you will also save a lot on your heating and cooling expenses by taking care of your crawl space ventilation.

How To Fix Crawl Space Ventilation Problems

When fuel oil cost 25¢ per gallon nobody cared much about efficiency or heating and cooling costs. My how things have changed!

Building codes and crawl space ventilation

Years ago, especially in the southern US, houses were built on posts, or piers in order to avoid water damage. There was no need for crawl space ventilation, because there was a free flow of air to dissipate the humidity.

Basement and Crawl Space Cleanout

Basement and Crawl Space Cleanout

This worked well, until heating and cooling costs became a serious matter to contend with. By sealing the air space under the house with skirting, a crawl space was created. This helped to reduce heating and cooling costs, but brought a new problem: humidity and a musty basement smell to the area.

The building codes were modified to require vents in the crawl space, as this seemed a logical idea. As it turns out, the vents actually increased the humidity levels, especially during the hot, humid summer days.

What kind of crawl space vents should you use

If you do use vents under the house, make sure that they have wire cloth over them to prevent mice and other little varmints from moving in and causing problems. Crawl space ventilation makes a huge difference.

Vent Booster Fan Blows for Your Room

Vent Booster Fan Blows for Your Room

One old farmhouse I lived in had a stone foundation and crawl space. When the pipes froze during our first winter there, I had to go down and wrap electrical heat tape and insulation around the pipes.

I was shocked at how many bones were down there! Snake, rat, mouse and even some bird skeletons were lying around. There was also evidence of water damage to the floor, due to the dampness under the house. Some of the wood was punky and needed to be replaced.

I also needed to repair foundation cracks that allowed the humidity and animals in. The musty basement smell associated with a typical crawl space can be eliminated by removing the habitat for the mold and mildew that cause the odor in the first place.

The polyethylene vapor barrier is usually the best place to begin. This is the first step in learning how to get rid of mildew in a crawl space.

If you do need ventilation in your crawl space, here are some popular products on the market: Atmox Crawlspace Ventilation Systems are designed to control the moisture levels in your crawl space. You can buy their system and install it yourself, or hire somebody to do it.

The Tjernlund UnderAire™ Crawl Space Ventilator — Economy One-Fan, 110 CFM, Model# V1 sells for around $70 and is quite popular. The UnderAire Deluxe One Fan Crawl Space Ventilator is also a good buy. They go for around $100.