Crawl Spaces: Hidden Energy Hogs

Crawl Spaces: Hidden Energy Hogs

Any area of your home that is adjacent to the outdoors is susceptible to energy loss through air leaks and improper insulation. This includes crawl spaces, attics and exterior walls. To reduce energy loss through these areas, it is useful to seal air leaks and install sufficient insulation.

How you do that depends on whether your crawl space is ventilated. And whether your crawl space is ventilated depends on how old your home is and how it was built. Although many newer homes have crawl spaces that are unventilated, most older homes have ventilated crawl spaces. Regardless of the type in your home, it is important to prevent the buildup of moisture to avoid problems such as mold growth.

For ventilated crawl spaces, you can save energy by:

  • Sealing all holes and air leaks between the ceiling of the crawl space and the floor above. Areas to scrutinize for leaks include holes drilled for wiring, plumbing or ductwork.
  • Installing rolled fiberglass insulation between the floor joists, and securing it with mechanical fasteners.
  • Covering the insulation with a vapor barrier to keep moisture out. In ventilated crawl spaces, more moisture can enter the space on humid days.
  • Using a vapor retarder on the dirt floor to further reduce moisture in the crawl space. Seal all the seams and secure the edges.

For unventilated crawl spaces, seal and insulate the foundation walls rather than the ceiling. Use a rigid foam insulating material. One disadvantage of unventilated spaces: rodents and insects can get stuck in there and damage your insulation. You can guard against pests by installing a termite shield that covers the wall insulation and extends outside. (Alternatively, you can leave a gap at the top of the insulation for termite inspection.)

Whether your are losing heated air in winter or cooled air in the hot Sacramento summer, improperly insulated crawl spaces can have an impact on your monthly heating and cooling bills. The professionals at All Year Heating, Air Conditioning & Solar can help you identify and correct the sources of energy loss in your home. Contact us anytime.

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