Should You Open or Close Your Crawlspace Vents in the Winter?

For many homes with crawlspaces, they are designed to have vents that allow for the circulation of air. But if you’re wondering if you should open or close your crawlspace vents in the winter, perhaps consider how the cold outside air is probably the last thing you want entering your crawlspace. But whether you have plumbing in your crawlspace that you’re worried about freezing, or you just don’t want the cold air entering your home and taxing your heating system, closing your crawlspace vents may not be sufficient enough. What your crawlspace actually needs is to have a proper sealing, or crawlspace encapsulation.

What Is Crawlspace Encapsulation?

A damp crawlspace infested with mold and spiders
This damp crawlspace has mold beginning to grow on its floor joists and is infested with spiders.

Crawlspace encapsulation involves sealing your crawlspace from the outside environment. This does more than just protect any plumbing or equipment you may have in your crawlspace from freezing temperatures, it will also keep outside moisture from entering and affecting your home. Allowing outside moisture into your home can bring its own host of problems including…

  • Increased humidity
  • Mold growth
  • Wood rot
  • Pests including insects and rodents
  • Allergens including mold spores and dust mites
  • Rusting of metal equipment such as HVAC systems and air ducts
  • Increased energy costs for heating and cooling

Some of these problems, such as humid air, mold spores, and dust mites, can be spread to the rest of your home by what’s called the “Stack Effect”. As warm air rises from the crawlspace into your living space, it can carry airborne material along with it. This can lead to a humid and muggy atmosphere in your living spaces and increase the presence of allergens. For those with allergies or asthma, this can be detrimental to their health.

As you can see, by preventing these problems from happening in the first place, crawlspace encapsulation can bring a lot of benefit to your home. Also, it can improve the value of your home by enabling your crawlspace to be turned into usable space, such as for storage.

The Components to Crawlspace Encapsulation

When encapsulating a crawlspace, a vapor barrier is used to cover the crawlspace floor, walls, and even the supports to prevent outside moisture from entering the crawlspace. Vent blocks might also be used too, if your vents need to be closed.

For some homes, a crawlspace waterproofing system may be added if the crawlspace tends to experience pooling during rainy seasons. This usually will involve the installation of perimeter drainage channels installed along the wall, leading to a sump pit and sump pump.

Last but not least, a dehumidifier may be installed to help maintain the environment in your crawlspace.

This crawlspace encapsulation system will help you maintain a stable environment within your crawlspace. It will also keep the air in your crawlspace and home cleaner.

Exterior shot of crawlspace vent
Crawlspace vents like these should be sealed to prevent outside moisture from entering the crawlspace.

Why Does My Crawlspace Even Have Vents?

While it has been common practice to have crawlspaces vented, it doesn’t actually do much good for the crawlspace or for the home. As described earlier, the idea was the keep the crawlspace dry with air circulation, but if your home is in a humid climate, the only air you’re going to get flowing through your crawlspace is humid air. Sealing your crawlspace puts a stop to that while also protecting your crawlspace and home from what’s outside. Then there’s the other direct benefits to appreciate!

Benefits of Crawlspace Encapsulation

From the benefits that crawlspace encapsulation can provide, sealing your crawlspace has become the more accepted idea.

  • Makes your home more comfortable.
  • Saves you money on energy costs.
  • Protects your home from structural damage that would be caused by wood rot and pests like termites.
  • Creates a healthier environment for those with allergies, asthma, and weakened immune systems.

With benefits like these, why puzzle over whether to open or close your crawlspace vents? A homeowner can skip that and choose the benefits of crawlspace encapsulation.

But be mindful that not every crawlspace encapsulation solution is the same. The materials used can make a great deal of difference.

The ‘58 Difference

‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing endeavors to use only the best in quality products.

  • Our vapor barrier has a Class-A Fire Rating and is 20-mil thick. This makes it harder to tear versus store-bought vapor barrier linings. For the walls, we use a 90-mil thick lining. Together, this creates the highest-performing combination available in crawlspace encapsulation.
  • Our crawlspace waterproofing system uses our own Channel ‘58 Drainage Channels. These are designed to move more water and faster to the sump pump.
  • We use our own Workhorse sump pump. It offers ¾ horsepower—more than the typical ¼ horsepower sump pumps that tend to get overwhelmed.
  • Our HumidiGuard dehumidifiers are Energy-Star rated and feature air filtration. This helps create a healthier environment in your home while also saving you on energy costs.

With the crawlspace experts from ‘58 Foundations & Waterproofing on your side, you can expect the best outcomes in keeping your crawlspace dry and usable. For over 64 years, we’ve been using only quality products and honest methods to achieve our five-star results. So instead of wondering if you should open or close your crawlspace vents in the winter, consider crawlspace encapsulation instead!

For added peace of mind, we offer an industry-unique lifetime warranty and money-back guarantee! Contact us today to learn more about our money-back guarantee and to schedule for a free inspection and estimate!

We have local offices available throughout the Eastern Seaboard including in Knoxville, TN, Woodstock, GA, and Newark, DE.

An encapsulated crawlspace with a blocked crawlspace vent
Clean as a whistle! This crawl space has been encapsulated by a ’58 Foundations & Waterproofing.