Ii you have a crawl space in your home instead of a basement or a slab, there are a few things you need to do to keep your home healthy.
If the floor of the crawl space is dirt, have a vapor barrier installed. This is a sheet of plastic that will reduce the moisture, which can cause mold and other nasty things.
Around the exterior of the crawl is the foundation, typically made of cinder blocks. Crawl space are typically 2 – 3 feet high. Lying on the top of the foundation are wooden beams called a sill plate. Standing on top of the sill plate is the rim joist. The rim joist often has items going through it such as:
Dryer exhaust vent
Incoming gas and water supply lines
And sometimes, the rim joist gets cut to allow for heating and cooling ducts
With all of the above it is not uncommon to find that the holes cut are larger than necessary. This can lead to energy losses and can allow unwanted critters access to the crawl space.
The crawl space is also a prime location for wood destroying insects to invade your home, such as termites.
Above the crawl space should be insulation, This should be installed between every joist (or beam) that supports the flooring above. Gravity has been know to attack the insulation, causing it to fall down and require re-installation.
You’ll also find plumbing lines and electrical wiring in the crawl space.
Ventilation is important. In the foundation walls you’ll find vents. These allow for airflow to keep the crawl space healthy. These vents should be opened in warmer weather, and closed in the winter. Automatic temperature controlled vents are available which open and close at the proper times, since most people forget the do this important step.
A little effort put into maintaining you crawl space can pay dividends in terms of energy savings and the overall health of the home.