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Open basement vents with wiring hanging from the ceiling.

Why Crawl Space Vents Do More Harm than Good to Your Home

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basement vents open during summer

Crawl space vents were initially meant to cool down the house during hot summer months. And for many years, they were part and parcel of crawl spaces across St. Cloud, MN. Many older homes dating back to the 1950s still have them.

Fast forward to 2020, and people are starting to question the usefulness of these fixtures. New evidence shows that venting is a bad and retrogressive idea. Some codes are even contemplating repealing the venting requirement. Why? Because vents do not serve the purpose they were meant for. If anything, they instigate problems that hurt the crawl space and the home at large.

Disadvantages of Crawl Space Vents

While venting encourages air circulation, they open up your home to moisture and many other problems. Sooner or later, you’ll realize you made a bad and costly decision.

Summer months in St. Cloud, MN, can be sultry and humid. With air flowing in and out of the crawl space, you can be sure a lot of moisture will end up inside. Moisture buildup will hurt your crawl space in many ways. As well as encouraging mold growth, moisture will ruin your fiberglass insulation and wooden structures (joists and beams) and eventually compromise the structural integrity of your home.

Termites are probably your worst enemies, and they come second to moisture in terms of destructive capacity. When you vent your crawl space, you’re inadvertently inviting them over. They’ll just do that then and inflict damage on your wooden structures, chewing anything and everything they bump into down there. By the time you notice, your crawl space will be in serious trouble.

Pests escaping the harsh weather outdoors will also find your cool and moist crawl space conducive. Rats and mice will breed, and within months take over the crawl space. Like termites, they will gnaw and damage your wood, soil, and tear out the insulation and defecate, contaminating your floor. Add all these together, and you won’t be able to recognize your crawl space.

And then there’s the issue of toxic air and pollutants that might float into your home and cause breathing problems. Woe unto you if you have asthma or respiratory diseases, as your condition will worsen.

Pollutants mean more doctor visits, and unless you do something, it’ll be your new normal.

Crawl space moisture and outside air also causes an imbalance in the internal conditions in your home.

Temperatures may fall and the air will get musty. To resolve these issues, you might have to run your heating or air conditioning daily and for long hours. All these functions are energy-intensive and will reflect in high monthly bills.

Should I Vent the Crawl Space?

All the evidence above points otherwise. Venting opens up your crawl space to moisture and vermin.

When both come in, they can cause structural damage that will lower the value of your home. Repairing the damaged insulation, wooden joists, and cracks on the walls might cost you a lot of money too. Your family might have to endure some inconveniences. Is this something you’d like to experience? You already know the answer.

If you have an open or vented crawl space, seal it off with vent covers and encapsulate it. By encapsulation, we mean covering the walls and floor with a heavy-duty plastic vapor barrier that goes around obstacles. But this alone isn’t enough. Consider installing a crawl space dehumidifier to tame moisture, which can go through the roof in hot and humid summer months.

Now that you know what harm can befall your vented crawl space, take the next steps to protect your home. Innovative Basement Authority can help you encapsulate the crawl space to create a clean, cool, and conditioned space. Call us to request a free crawl space inspection and quote. Our crawl space experts will answer your questions and recommend the best way to protect your home and your family.

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