Crawl spaces are ideal places for moisture accumulation. Some type of ventilation is usually needed to eliminate that moisture. Excess moisture can lead to structural wood rot and provide a favorable environment for mold growth and vermin infestation. The moisture and other elements can invade your home if not addressed in a timely manner. Your options for crawl space ventilation will depend on your local climate, local regulations, and the design of the crawl space.
Your HVAC system can be used to condition the crawl space, as long as the HVAC system is properly sized for the home. However, the transitional periods between seasons when you might not rely on your HVAC system much, present a potential drawback. In addition, extending ductwork to the crawl space might not always be possible, or might involve costly renovation.
Since dense, moist air tends to collect in crawl spaces, it is advantageous to devise a solution that will prevent moisture buildup. Vents allow airflow, but you have to be careful that you are not just introducing more humid air into the space. This option will therefore work in drier climates. In areas that have extremely cold winters, it is important to close or cover vents, as cold air could freeze pipes or reduce the efficiency of the heat pump where insulation is poor or lacking. Local codes often determine whether or not vents are required and how they can be treated.
A small exhaust fan that continuously moves moist air outside at the rate of 1 cubic foot per minute per 50 square feet of crawl space can help with humidity control. The space itself must be well sealed to ensure that replacement air flowing in originates only from the conditioned envelope of the home and is not humid outdoor air.
It is important to address crawl space humidity before you are faced with other problems. Mold growth alone can present serious challenges for homeowners – including compromising the health of occupants.
If you have concerns about your crawl space, contact Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning at (703) 763-0399. Call us today to schedule an appointment, or if you would like more general information about our services for your Fairfax-area home.
Image Provided by Shutterstock.com