Here at CBTofNC, we are routinely asked a wide range of questions about crawl spaces.…
Winter is just around the corner, so you're probably starting to take steps to get your home ready for cold weather. This may include sealing gaps around the windows, covering your exterior air conditioning unit, and having the furnace serviced, but you may be overlooking a crucial part of cold weather preparation - the crawl space. We're sharing why it's important to prepare your crawl space for winter and six tips on how to do so.
Why You Need to Winterize Your Crawl Space
Before we share how to winterize your crawl space, you may be wondering why it's important.
Your crawl space is one of the leading sources of energy loss, meaning cold drafts are entering from the space under your home through cracks and voids in your floor while heated air is escaping. A few simple steps will keep your home warmer with less stress on your furnace (and your budget).
Raleigh winters may not be particularly cold, but they are damp. Condensation and moisture can form in the crawl space, leading to mold and mildew growth. These microbes and spores enter through the floor, the same way cold air does, and worsen the air quality in your home. Because the living spaces are sealed with minimal fresh air flowing, this allows mold spores to permeate and cause respiratory distress.
Minimize Structural Damage
Exposed pipes under the home can crack or burst during particularly cold weather, leading to expensive repairs. Even more concerning is that continual exposure to moisture and freezing temperatures can cause cracks in the foundation to form and grow while wooden floor joists are prone to rot and cracking. This can lead to serious structural problems around your home.
6 Ways to Prepare Your Crawl Space for Winter
Now that you know why you need to protect your crawl space, let's look at what you need to do.
Clean Out Gutters
Moisture problems under your home often start at your gutters. When gutters are clogged with leaves and debris, water spills over and pools around the foundation. This water seeps into the blocks and sits under your home, leading to mold, mildew, and wood rot. Cleaning the gutters or fitting them with guards keeps water flowing smoothly.
When water is flowing freely through your gutter, it has to go somewhere. Extend downspouts at your gutters in order to direct water farther away from the foundation to keep the water from ponding or pooling. If you're concerned about appearance, you can bury the downspouts in a trench and cover them.
Fix Cracks in the Foundation
Damp, cold air seeps into the crawl space through gaps and crevices in your foundation walls. Seal them with silicone that will flex with changing temperatures to minimize the drafts entering the space. If you see larger cracks, you should have them checked out for structural concerns.
Frozen pipes can lead to a disaster around your home, leading to expensive repairs and hotel bills. Wrap the pipes under and around the exterior of your home to keep them protected during cold weather. Periodically, check pipes for any leaking or condensation to determine if there are problems that need to be addressed.
Close Air Vents
Air vents in the crawl space were designed to provide air flow, but they don't actually circulate the air. As we mentioned above, cold air enters through the vents and sits under your home, causing a "stack effect." Warm, heated air rises into your upper floor or attic, and cold air from the crawl space is pulled up through gaps in the floor. Closing your vents helps keep the space under the home warmer and minimizes energy loss.
Consider Crawl Space Sealing
The most effective way to keep your crawl space clean and dry is through crawl space encapsulation. This is a comprehensive method of sealing the space from the inside using thick plastic vapor barriers on the ground and lined up the walls of the crawl space. Pests, moisture, and hot or cold air can't enter, eliminating many of the problems that can occur, both in cold and hot weather.
Schedule a Consultation for Crawl Space Encapsulation in Raleigh Today
If you want to keep your home clean, dry, and healthy all year long, crawl space encapsulation is necessary. Schedule a consultation to learn more about this service, including our lifetime guarantee, by calling us at 919-847-7072 or filling out the form below to get started.
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