Why encapsulate your crawl space? A case-study near Annapolis, Maryland

Many homes in Maryland and Virginia were built without basements and instead have whats known as a crawl space. These small spaces were designed to promote air circulation, allow easy access to electrical, plumbing, and other house systems. While providing access to the house they often end up a damp, cold environment that is very unhealthy, dirty, and at times structurally destructive. Worse, typical home crawl spaces allow mold and dust mites to thrive, producing airborne spores by the millions. Contaminated air can be drawn up into the living areas of your home which worsens allergy symptoms and indoor air quality. A crawl space without encapsulation increases your electric bills, and is often the cause of cold floors. Moist environments can be a breeding ground for pests and other unwanted houseguests.

Depending on the age and construction of your house, crawl spaces come in two general variations: sealed or ventilated, and the approach to insulating each is is unique. If your crawlspace is not ventilated, we focus on insulating walls instead of the upstairs subfloor; convenient because it requires less insulation. If your crawl space is ventilated, insulation must be installed under the subfloor between floor joists. For either type of crawl space, we install a polyurethane vapor barrier over all walls and any exposed dirt for additional protection. Regardless of style, studies from the Department of Energy recommend creating a seal with spray-foam insulation to create a barrier between that space and your family.

In addition to reducing mold and keeping pests out, insulating your crawl space will add to the overall energy efficiency of your home. Compared to alternative insulation methods, the air-tight seal created by spray foam yields maximum energy savings. That efficiency means your family will save money on heating oil and natural gas in the winter, and electricity used to keep your house cool in the summer.

We recently worked with a homeowner in Edgewater – just around the creek from Annapolis – that had a damp crawlspace that they wanted to encapsulate because of allergies and cold floors in winter. After a Home Energy Assessment, our team removed existing fiberglass insulation from the ceiling, encapsulated the walls and floor with 20-millimeter polyurethane vapor barrier, added 2-inch thick high-density insulation board to the crawl space walls, finishing the job with a layer of spray foam to the crawl space rim joists.

Immediately noticing a change in the temperature of their floors, the homeowners saw a reduction in both their monthly energy bill and allergy-related symptoms. Needless to say, they were extremely happy with the results. If your suspect that your crawl space is the source of problems in your home, contact us and we’ll create a plan to solve your crawl space related issues.

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