It's pretty easy to assume that a crawl space is merely an additional space at the bottom of the house ideal for homeowners who don't prefer a basement but who need the extra space for plumbing, storage, and electricity wires. What some homeowners don't know is that it can be a key factor in why your house can get so cold. We've researched this for you regarding why and how this happens.
A crawl space can be the coldest part of the house. It's the level closest to the ground and, in most cases, it is unsealed and exposed to the outside air. When cold air seeps into the crawl space it encapsulates that temperature and circulates it around the entire house. Consequently, a crawl space can get as cold as the air that enters it from the outside.
Based on this fact alone, crawl space to some homeowners can be quite disenchanting and more trouble than it's worth. However, there are solutions available to counter a cold crawl space and an even colder house. Questions like frozen pipes, appropriate room temperature, and winter preparations have to be addressed so, keep on reading and we'll delve into these together!
What To Do About Cold Crawl Spaces
Temperature and humidity have a lot to do with crawl space maintenance as well as location and climate. The air circulation in a house with a crawl space is also highly dependent on seasonal changes. But worry not because there are preparations you can do to get the most out of your crawl space.
The unpredictability of the temperature changes in a crawl space can be overwhelming to understand at first; but basically, a crawl space is a level nearest the ground that also provides the entire house breathing air. Outside air enters the crawl space and gets circulated in the house.
During the summer season, this fact may be advantageous because outside air that enters the house can counter heat and humidity. However, during the winter season, this can be the least liked outcome. A crawl space can confine moist and wet air and when frozen due to the cold season, can lower the temperature of an already cold house.
There are many solutions to keep the temperature in the house warm even with a crawl space. Depending on some key factors for consideration, you can use space heaters, dehumidifiers, or insulators to prevent the cold from entering through the crawl space and to the house.
What Should the Temperature Be in a Crawl Space?
The temperature in the crawl space can affect the temperature of the whole house. Ideally, the temperature in a crawl space should be more or less 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). Maintaining this temperature will keep your house warm especially during the dry and humid season.
Nevertheless, to preserve the warmth to carry over to winter, you may have to make adjustments to the temperature in the crawl space. You may opt to use a heater to keep the crawl space warm but this may leave you with unnecessary increased charges in the electricity bill.
Maintaining the temperature in the crawl space is important for every house that has one. The quality of air that circulates in the air relies on how well a crawl space is taken care of. You put a crawl space out of sight and thus, out of mind but it can't be argued that it can affect your livable space.
Can Pipes in a Crawl Space Freeze?
Pipes are not invulnerable to freezing temperatures, especially in a crawl space. When the cold enters the crawl space and brings with it some droplets and moisture, it can freeze and cause a lower temperature. However, there are also good quality pipes fit for a crawl space.
During the winter season, it is not only the cold gust of air that can enter and circulate in your home through the crawl space that should worry you. Cold air also involves moisture and dampness. These particles can freeze over and add to the low temperature in the house.
Without initiating the proper preventive measures, you may even experience your hard floors getting colder and colder. This in turn may prompt you to increase your heater expenditure and put a dent in your electricity bill.
How Do You Winterize a Crawl Space?
Now that we have established that a crawl space affects the room temperature of the whole house, it's time to think about the preventive measures for a cold crawl space where we can have quality air circulation and warmth in the house while getting the most out of this level.
Fixing the Foundation
The crawl space usually comes with an access door or hatch, and this is a huge point of entry for outdoor air to come through. However, it's strongly advised not to overlook the tiny holes and creases in a crawl space foundation.
Since a crawl space is closest to the ground, it's where the air accumulates to spread air from the bottom to the highest part of the house. This type of foundation is also subjected to dirt, sand, debris, etc. Add up dampness and moisture on colder days, the foundation materials can slowly deteriorate.
It's important to establish routine maintenance checks for homes with a crawl space. Less holes and creases to the foundation prevent more outside air from entering the crawl space. Patching up small portals of entry is not a feasible solution alone but it's one of the most effective together with other solutions.
Regardless of the season, a dehumidifier in the crawl space is an effective way to prevent a cold crawl space. Dehumidifiers also help deter an accumulation of dampness and moisture. This is a good option instead of putting heaters in the crawlspace because it provides constant dry air for circulation.
The goal is to prevent dampness and moisture in the crawl space so that the foundation won't deteriorate from molds and weak fixtures. If it is left to be used as is without any tools to keep the crawl space dry and sealed, the holes and creases in the foundation will only get wider and expose more outside air into the space.
Insulating the Crawl Space
Insulation is a dependable way to winterize your crawl space. This seals your crawl space and prevents exposure from the outside air. Insulation keeps the crawl space dry, moist-free, and mold-less. The quality of the air is improved because of less humidity and dampness.
Let's not forget that a crawl space can be home to many insects and decays. The quality of the air can be affected and poor air circulation may spread around the house. This can be prevented by insulating the crawl space because insulation acts as a barrier to humidity and molds.
It can get cold in the crawl space and as cold as the outdoor air that seeps into it. Depending on key factors like temperature, humidity, location, climate area, and seasonal changes, a crawl space may need constant proper maintenance.
It may add to your list of house concerns but a crawl space still has many advantageous that make maintaining it a simple and effortless job. The different ways to keep a crawl space dry and in good condition are dehumidifiers, insulators, or simply routinely fixing the foundation.
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