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What Makes a Crawl Space Energy Efficient?

Energy Efficient Crawlspaces

Cold Floors? You May Need to Insulate Your Crawl Space

The most energy efficient homes are fitted with double paned windows, new attic and wall insulation, and upgraded siding and roofing materials. But many owners fail to consider crawlspaces when insulating older homes.

A poorly-insulated or “naked” crawlspace can make the floor above it cold in winter and hot during the summer.

As one of the least pleasant “rooms” in the house, it’s understandable that the crawlspace gets overlooked. But that’s why weatherization companies exist. They help homeowners find solutions while offering to do the dirty work themselves.

Top to bottom energy efficiency

As any of these professionals will tell you, an insulated crawl space is an important step in making your home truly energy efficient.

But there are more ways to improve your crawlspace than just adding fiberglass sheets. There are a number of features they can install to help you get the most out of your investment.

Not all of these options make sense for every home. So, talk to a crawlspace expert about the most practical options. In general, these are some ways to warm up your floors while adding to the overall heating and cooling efficiency of your home:

  • Sealing the Rim Joist
  • Installing a Vapor Barrier
  • Investing in a Crawlspace Heater
  • Crawlspace Dehumidifiers

  • Covering Water Pipes
  • Floor Air Sealing
  • Insulating Air Ducts
  • Adding Insulation to Joists and Walls

What Types of Floor Insulation are Best in the Northwest?

While fiberglass is commonly found in crawlspaces, it does very little for moisture reduction or optimal insulation. Here are some higher-quality options that work well for homes in our climate zone:

  1. Thermal Insulation – This is used in buildings to reduce the transfer of heat both in and out of a building. It’s far better at insulating and tends to last longer as well. 
  2. Rigid Foam Insulation – An eco-friendly and highly effective option. Has the added advantage of preventing moisture buildup. 
  3. Polystyrene Foam – A versatile option with an R-11 rating. Best for use on crawlspace walls. 

Ventilated or Unventilated?

In this area, a ventilated crawlspace isn’t a good idea. But, again, it depends. If the home has insulated crawlspace walls, moisture control, and drainage methods in place, ventilation is not necessary. Proper insulation in combination with airtightness also keeps ducts and pipes from freezing.

The Takeaway

For optimal energy efficiency, have your crawlspace inspected by a professional with expertise in Northwest homes. The can advise on the best approaches customized for your budget and the current condition of your crawlspace.

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