Most living spaces are equipped with a crawl space. This is an area beneath one’s home that’s designed to help improve air circulation. It’s also used to hide wires and pipes. Many often neglect to care for the crawl space because it’s an unused spot that’s only needed for storage.
However, crawl spaces are more important than one might think because they prevent pests and improve your home’s air quality. However, to function correctly, they need to be properly insulated. This article will explore more behind the importance of crawl space insulation.
How Does Crawl Space Insulation Work?
Insulation will seal the crawl space to prevent air from escaping and prevent pests from sneaking into it. Crawl space insulation comes in two main types: foam or fiberglass.
- Foam: Foam insulation acts as a vapor barrier. It’s very quick to install and is often used to fill in small cracks. Foam insulation is a bit pricey and can be a little uneven because it needs to be sprayed on.
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass insulation is constructed out of tiny glass strings. This is one of the most traditional types used and is very inexpensive. However, unlike foam, it can absorb moisture. This could lead to mold.
Why Insulation Needs to be Installed in Crawl Spaces
Insulation needs to be installed in your crawl space for a variety of reasons.
- It Prevents Allergens: Your crawl space can easily absorb allergens if it’s not insulated correctly. This could end up sending particles like dust and pollen into your home’s air which could lead to respiratory problems. Insulation traps any allergens in your crawl space and prevents them from traveling through your home.
- It Stops Pests: As mentioned above, insulation keeps pests away because it fills in gaps where they could crawl through.
- It Saves Money: Insulation can help save money because it reduces energy usage. By trapping hot or cold air, it will reduce the amount of work your home’s air conditioner and heater needs to do.
- It Regulates Air Temperatures: If you notice that your home has fluctuating air temperatures, it could be due to an uninsulated crawl space. By adding crawl space insulation, it will prevent this because it won’t allow drafts.
Using insulation in your crawl space is important if you want to keep pests and allergens away. If you’re interested in having some installed in your Santa Rosa crawl space, RCS can help. We offer a crawl space insulation service that ensures your home is protected.
Photo Credit: Jack Amick
Summer in Santa Rosa is no time to neglect the insulation in your home. You probably know and understand the importance of having a well-insulated home in the winter. It helps to prevent the warm interior air from moving outside. Keep reading to find out how insulation also helps to keep energy costs down in the summer, while keeping your home and family comfortable.
Extend the life of your HVAC system
Many people think keeping warm air inside during the winter is the only job of insulation, so they might not concern themselves with making sure that their home is also properly insulated through the heat of the summer. On the contrary, just as the insulation in your walls, attic, and crawl space acts as a thermal barrier against heat escaping in winter, it prevents cool air from leaking out of your home in the summer. Cold air can exit the home easily without proper insulation, and this forces your air conditioning system to work harder to retain that misplaced air. This loss of energy can create an increase in energy costs and reduce the lifespan of your entire HVAC system. To prevent this problem, make sure that you not only have your home insulated, but you also want to ensure that you have the type of insulation that works best against summer heat.
Protect your home from top to bottom
Whether your home has an attic or a crawlspace, insulation can make a difference in your family’s comfort level during the summer. When combined with proper ventilation, a well-insulated attic can help keep your home cool. In the same vein, insulation is equally effective in a crawlspace in the summer when combined with air sealing and moisture control. A ventilated crawlspace can promote increased moisture levels and mold growth in the summer, so it is best to keep this space under your home unventilated in summer to get the most from your insulation. Importantly, there are different types of insulation, but choosing the right one for your home’s environment is not as difficult as it might seem.
A choice for all seasons
There are a few types of insulation that are effective for year-round use. However, the trick is getting the installation right. The most common categories are:
- Cellulose – Whether loose-fill or dense-packed, it can be used in winter or summer. Loose-fill is easier to install, but unless it is done right, the result can be an uneven distribution inside the wall. Dense-fill is blown into the wall with more force than loose-fill, and it offers a more noticeable difference in your home’s daily temperatures when properly installed. An insulation specialist should be consulted for installation.
- Fiberglass – It also comes in loose-fill or dense-packed, but it is more expensive than cellulose. Loose-fill can be a DIY installation project, but it may not seal the whole surface of your wall. Installation of the dense-packed variety is also best left to a professional to ensure a more even distribution.
- Injection foam – This is a more adaptable type, and it is injected into the wall. The foam expands to get around wires and outlets and smaller, more remote areas.
- Mineral wool – This type is less fire resistant than other types, and it is not recommended for summer use.
Insulating your home for all seasons is necessary for reducing energy costs, extending the life of your HVAC system, and giving your home the protection it deserves from top to bottom. Choosing the right type can be complicated, so consult the professionals at Restoration Certified Specialists to find out what will work best for your situation. RCS can prepare your home for insulation with a crawlspace cleaning before installation.
In warm climates like Santa Rosa, CA in the summer time keeping an eye on the humidity levels in your crawl space is important for a few good reasons. High crawl space humidity means moisture is usually present, creating an environment that is ripe for mold formation and growth, as well as rodent infestation. Rodents are attracted to warm, damp spaces that are protected from the elements. They can leave urine and fecal droppings containing germs that can exacerbate asthmatic or allergic conditions. A ventilated crawl space in a humid climate has a greater potential for mold growth than an unventilated space because vents allow moisture in the air to travel into the home, bringing with it dust mites and any other potentially harmful contaminants that might be present. The moist air can put stress on crawl space beams, causing rot in some cases, and seriously damage insulation, which weakens the structure of a home. Rodents can also travel through vents, and they can nest in your insulation or gnaw on electrical wiring, creating a potential fire hazard.
It is recommended that insulation humidity levels remain lower than 70% in crawl spaces to limit the amount of moisture that is present. If moisture is prevalent in a crawl space, the tiny pockets in fiberglass insulation tend to fill with water, and any energy that might be retained is transferred instead, rendering the insulation ineffective. Using foam insulation as opposed to fiberglass in your crawl space can help to reduce the likelihood of excessive moisture as well as the transference of energy. HVAC units work harder, and energy bills rise.
When condensation is visible on crawl space fixtures, your humidity level is too high for the air to hold the moisture in it. The space will become damp, inviting mold to grow and decreasing air quality in your home. Asthma or allergy sufferers will be the first to know that there is a problem. To avoid this, moisture controls like vapor barriers can be installed in foundation walls to seal out the moisture. Covering vents and doorways with waterproof covers prevents damp air from seeping in. A dehumidifier can also be used to help maintain low humidity and control condensation.
Check Humidity Regularly
A device called a hygrometer measures the humidity in a space. You can purchase one at Wal-Mart or Lowe’s for a reasonably low price to monitor both temperature and humidity in your crawl space. Check it regularly to ensure that humidity is not becoming too high.
If you experience problems with mold or rodent infestation due to high humidity, contact RCS to help. Our crawlspace cleanup service is the perfect ticket for drying out or decontaminating your space. We can also install moisture barriers to prevent the problem from occurring again any time soon.