Winter in Winston-Salem, NC, means dropping temperatures. And your floors and walls, which were warm, will feel colder than usual if the crawl space is exposed or poorly insulated. But that’s not the only thing you will experience. Uncomfortable drafts and high energy bills are pretty common this time of the year.
Unless you do something about the cold air from the crawl space, you will have to brace yourself for a long, uncomfortable winter. Together with humidity, the cold air will create a host of problems. It’s never too early or too late to weatherproof your crawl space for winter.
How Does the Cold Air Get In?
The cold air gets in through the vents in the crawl space and goes up through a phenomenon known as the stack effect. Left unchecked, the stack effect will make it difficult to regulate the temperature in your home. You will have to turn your heater on and leave it running for long. What this does is perpetuate the airflow without warming up the indoors.
As long as the temperatures keep fluctuating, the cycle of air will persist. This isn’t something you’d want to happen during the cold winter months. Cold isn’t the only concern. During winter, outside air can bring microbes and allergens from the crawl space into your home. These microscopic particles will deposit themselves around the kitchen and bathroom, leading to mold infestation. Mold spores can cause serious fungal infections. Anyone with a history of lung problems or a weak immune system will likely suffer health problems.
Cures for Crawl Space Cold
Some homeowners intentionally blow heated air into the crawl space in a feeble attempt to warm the floors above it. But what’s happening is the heat from the ducts escapes right through the vents, dramatically increasing the heating cost. To create a warm, conditioned crawl space, here’s what you need to do.
Encapsulate the crawl space
Install a plastic vapor barrier over your crawl space floor and walls with all seams taped down and sealed. We recommend the CrawlSeal™ liner, a puncture-resistant 20-mil liner that isolates the crawl space from the outside. Three times thicker than a standard builder liner, our solution effectively locks out cold, moist air. It also is treated to resist mold, pests, and water.
Cover crawl space vents
Cold air will continue flowing into the crawl space if the vents stay open. Seal them with vent covers to block the outside air. Our solution is made of durable plastic, and you don’t have to worry about replacing or repainting them.
Insulate the crawl space
Your crawl space is the weakest link in your weatherproofing efforts. Insulate and air seal it and you won’t have to worry about walking on cold floors. If you don’t have heating ducts down there, insulating it makes sense. We use a two-part insulation system that consists of rigid insulation panels and spray foam. With insulation firmly in place, your crawl space will stay warm during winter.
Sealing the attic
Inclement weather in Winston-Salem, NC, also affects the attic. If you don’t keep an eye out for what’s happening there, problems can mount in winter. Look for cracks along joints, plumbing, and wires then seal them with caulk. Plug all the large holes with foam insulation.
Are you looking for ways to keep the floors over the crawl space warm? Be sure to contact Tar Heel Basement Systems for a free crawl space inspection and repair quote. We have been helping homeowners create conditioned crawl spaces for years. We will install a durable plastic vapor barrier, insulate the foundation walls, and seal crawl space vents to block outside air. This way, your crawl space stays warm in winter and cool in summer.