Winter is that time of the year when people go ice skating and cozy up with loved ones. While we all love the fluffy snow and seasonal holidays that come with it, the cold weather can be extremely damaging to homes with vented crawl spaces. These low-lying areas are prone to water infiltration due to snowmelts and frost.
As snow melts, it seeps into the soil surrounding your foundation. The excess water pressure from melted snow pushes against your foundation walls creating cracks. Other than water damage, these cracks allow cold outdoor air to enter your home leaving you with cold floors.
How Does Winter Weather Affect Your Crawl Space?
The freezing winter weather does affect your home in the following ways.
Makes Your Home Colder
If your crawl space is not sealed off from the outside, drafts of cold air may enter your home through vents, cracks, and gaps in the structure. This cold air will rise up to your living area through the stack effect, leaving you with colder walls and floors.
Increases Moisture Buildup
During winter, the conditions outside produce extremely wet soil. This water seeps into your crawl space through the exposed dirt floors and walls and evaporates into the air in your crawl space. If the winter in St. Cloud, MN, is especially wet, you may notice a rapid growth of mold and fungi in your crawl space.
Sets the Stage for Condensation
Failure to seal the crawl space allows cold outdoor air to enter your home through vents and cracks in the foundation walls. The contrasting outdoor and indoor air temperatures cause moisture to condense and form water droplets that settle in your crawl space. These water droplets can create several serious problems in your crawl space including wood rot, damaged insulation, mold growth, and pest infestation.
Contaminates Indoor Air Quality
The health of your home depends on a sealed crawl space. An increase in humidity and moisture in the crawl space provides the perfect environment for mold growth, wood rot, and pest infestation. Mold, for instance, releases spores into the air in the crawl space. As the cold air from your crawl spaces rises into your living area through the stack effect, it carries with it the mold spores, nasty odors, and dust mites which contaminate the air that you and your family breathe.
Increases Utility Bills
The cold air entering your home forces your heating system to work harder in an attempt to reach and maintain the temperatures you set. As a result, your heater uses more energy leading to higher utility bills.
How to Deal with a Cold crawl Space
One way to deal with a cold crawl space is to make it part of the warm side of your home through sealing and encapsulation. Your local contractor will cover vents then enclose the crawl space with a 20-mil plastic vapor barrier that locks out cold air and water. The liner goes across the dirt floor and wall to wall. It also can be paired with other solutions including interior drainage and a sump pump, as well as insulation panels.
Also, seal and insulate supply and return ducts in the crawl space as well as hatchways. Make sure these fixtures are air stripped. You want to make sure there are no leaks and holes that encourage heat loss. Once your crawl space is sealed and properly encapsulated, outside moisture and pests won’t threaten your home. It’s going to stay dry, and temperatures inside will become similar to those in your living areas, leaving you with a warm, comfortable home throughout winter.
Inspecting your St. Cloud, MN, crawl space is a crucial factor in the health of your home. The expert technicians at Innovate Basement Authority can encapsulate your crawl space to lock out moist air and avert costly repairs due to frost or water damage. Your crawl space will remain dry and energy-efficient all year round.
Contact Innovative Basement Authority to schedule a free crawl space inspection today.