The quality of your crawl space is literally the foundation to the quality of the rest of your house. Needless to say, the crawl space is not a place you want to cut corners. After all, it not only supports your house, it protects your house. A properly done crawl space prevents moisture, which reduces wood rot, limits animal and insect activity, and promotes quality air inside the home.
In Middle Tennessee, all crawl spaces are required to have insulation. This can actually have a big impact on your utility bills. Code requires R-19 insulation in the floor of your home or R-10 continuous on the foundation walls. In the rare case of having framed walls in a crawlspace where the insulation is noncontinuous, R-13 is required.
Insufficient insulation makes your HVAC system work much harder to try and keep up, sometimes failing, and costing you a lot of extra money. (Just hear your dad now: “We’re not trying to heat/cool the whole outdoors!” and “You’re letting out all the bought air!”) In the case of a poorly insulated crawl space, it’s not an errant door left open by a forgetful child, but inadequate insulation lets all that “bought air” seep out undetected.
Aren’t Dehumidifiers Enough?
Many crawl spaces use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture under the house. Perhaps you have one and feel it is enough. But is it? Is it actually up to code? Maybe… but maybe not. A dehumidifier in your crawl space can certainly be an important part of reducing humidity inside the home and keeping the house comfortable, especially during the hot Southern summers. But the code requirements for removing humidity are important for a reason.
To be compliant, you need a continuously running fan that is pulling negative pressure on the crawl space. A pathway from the living quarters to the crawl space is also required. This, essentially, draws dry, conditioned air from inside the house into the crawl space, then expels it outside. This is done to prevent potentially contaminated air from entering the home. (Think mold spores or radon gas.)
How Do I Know?
By now, you may be curious if your crawl space is up to code, or pondering if your house is as energy efficient as it could be. Before you go crawling with a flashlight and wondering what you’re actually looking at, give Columbia CrawlSpace a call at 931-982-5310 or shoot us an email at [email protected]. We can come out and do a complimentary inspection to determine if the insulation and dehumidification is up to code. We also offer free estimates if we find anything amiss. We’re happy to make sure your home stays safe and comfortable for years to come!