Should You Open Your Crawl Space Vent in the Summer & Close It in the Winter?

Crawl space with SmartJacks for support

Summer is just over the horizon, which means that many homeowners in the area are well into their spring cleaning tasks. Airing out the home is one of the first priorities for most homeowners in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. And while many are opening windows and doors to let the breeze in, many are still wondering whether it is a good idea to open or keep their crawl space vents closed. In most cases, opening the crawl space vents at the end of winter is the right decision.

Crawl Space Ventilation 101

Crawl space vents are fairly easy to open and close. They are typically made of sheet metal, cast-iron grating, hardware cloth, or corrosion-resistant wire mesh. These types of vents can be opened to increase circulation in the summer and to restrict ventilation in the winter.

Most crawl spaces in the area are warm and moist due to the ample humidity in the region. Unfortunately, this makes them ideal breeding grounds for mold and mildew. As these spaces heat up, the rising air will transport these pathogens into the home.

Crawl space vents help control the moisture levels within the crawl space and help keep them dry to curb mold growth and mildew proliferation. Opening the crawl space allows the moist air to vent into the outdoors, and the gentle breeze blowing through the crawl space helps keep the area dry. While lights and heat will help in this process, airflow is the most important factor in keeping your crawl space free of mold and mildew.

Is Opening the Vents All I Should Do?

Opening your vents will go a long way toward keeping mold and mildew out of your crawl space. But it’s not all that you should do. For effective protection, you need to take active steps to keep water from seeping into your crawl space. Otherwise, it won’t matter how wide open your crawl space vents may be.

Effective crawl space protection requires ensuring that your gutters and downspouts are working correctly. Make sure that they aren’t clogged and that water isn’t pouring down around your foundation. We also recommend ensuring you create a slight slope from your house out into the yard. Known as positive surface drainage, this simple step will drain water into the yard and away from the home.

It is also advisable to consider investing in crawl space encapsulation. Encapsulating the crawl space is an inexpensive yet effective method of keeping your crawl space dry. This process circulates the air from your HVAC system through the crawl space and can provide effective, dependable protection year after year.

Finally, if you choose to encapsulate your crawl space, you may also want to install a dehumidifier. These can be especially helpful in high-humidity regions. As humidity rises, dehumidifiers will pull it right out of the air and deposit it straight into the drain.

We can help you install and maintain crawl space vents in your home. We are happy to recommend the ideal placement and size, as well as additional features such as automatic controls that can open/close the vents at present temperatures.

Contact The Foundation Specialists at (844) 468-4674 to speak with our experts about your specific needs in Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee.

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