Most homeowners spend little, if any, time thinking about the crawlspace in their home. However, the crawlspace is an important area that can affect the living area of the home in many different ways. One way that a crawlspace impacts the home is through heat transfer. A hot crawlspace will cause the inside of a home to be warmer than it should resulting in higher energy costs.
The simplest way make sure that a crawlspace stays cool is through the use of vents. Vents on opposing sides of a crawlspace will allow a draft to pass through the crawlspace and prevent excess heat from building up. However, venting needs to be properly controlled to prevent moisture or hot daytime air from entering the crawlspace. Vents should only be used in areas that do not get extremely hot or where ground moisture is an issue. Vents should be placed only by experienced crawlspace professionals after carefully examining the crawlspace.
Humidity plays a large role in how warm an area feels. If a crawlspace is too humid, the humidity will typically travel into the home. Once inside the home, the humidity will make the home feel warmer than it actually is. There are a number of devices that can be used to monitor crawlspace areas. A dehumidifier with automatic controls can help to both monitor the crawlspace for humidity as well as remove excess humidity. In addition to making a home feel warmer, high levels of humidity can encourage the growth of mold in the crawlspace and in the living areas adjacent to the crawlspace.
Crawlspace walls should be insulated to prevent the transfer of hot outdoor air from entering a crawlspace. This is especially important in areas that see high summer time temperatures or homes that have little or no shade in the landscape. As the ground is normally cooler than the outside air, insulated crawlspace walls will help a crawlspace to stay cooler than the outside air temperature. Insulated walls will also help prevent energy loss during cooler weather.
Conditioned Crawlspace Air
When there is no other good way to keep a crawlspace cool, the conditioned air from inside the home can be used to cool a crawlspace. This is done through the use of vents that allow the air conditioned air to enter the crawlspace. By adding cool air to the crawlspace, the area can be kept cool to prevent heat from entering the home. Generally only a small amount of air is needed to keep a crawlspace cool, especially when the crawlspace is properly insulated. The conditioned air also works to eliminate high humidity conditions in the crawlspace.