Crawl Space Vent - packed with insullation

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  #1  
Old 01-29-01, 09:16 AM
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I cannot get my (unheated)crawlspace vent closed. In the winter I want to pack the opening with insullation to help stop some of the cold and moisture. Should I pack it with faced or unfaced? If faced, should the paper be facing me (the crawl)?

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  #2  
Old 01-29-01, 05:56 PM
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I wouldn't close off the ventilation to the crawl space. You'll trap moisture under the house and have problems worse than a high utility bill. Heat rises -- start at the top. Make sure you have plenty of insulation in the attic. It should be at least 12" deep. That will give you the greatest return for dollar invested. Next, look at the windows. Upgrading to windows that have the energy star rating on them can lower your utility bill 15% to 30%. Won't take long at that rate to pay for the windows. Finally, insulate the space between the floor joists. But leave the foundation vents open. You need the air to circulate under the house.
 
  #3  
Old 01-30-01, 07:45 AM
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Lefty,

Thanks for the advice. My question, I use the crawl space as a storage and when I take the insullation out, it gets cold in there - darn cold. My sump is down there, my kitchen and bath pipes are down there - won't the cold affect that? Above the crawl I have hardwood floors. Won't the cold in the crawl make the floors colder. I did have the attic insullated and my first floor windows are energy rated. The crawl space is also cement floor (with 8 mil vapor barrier under the cement). If I take the insullation out, I fear moisture will come in, and drip off the crawl ceiling.
 
  #4  
Old 02-05-01, 11:26 AM
Resqman
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Don't close the vents. If you close up the vents, the mositure your house is "exhaling" will make the house framing wet and grow mildew and rot. Insulate between the joists with the vapor barrier next to the subfloor and the insulation facing down towards the ground. If you are concerned about freezing pipes, get the foam pipe insulation and or the electric pipe heater tape.

The foam insulation for pipes looks like oversized pipe made from foam with a slit. Open the slit, slide over pipe, the foam will snap around the pipe. If you want you could turn the foam so the slit is down. Heat rises so you don't want the slit up because heat could escape.

The electric heater tape is a thin wire imbedded in plastic tape. You wrap the tape around the pipe candy cane style and plug the tape into the electrical service. The electricity heats the wire which in turn heats the pipe which keeps the water above freezing. Kind of like a toaster.

As a precaution to air infiltration (drafts), get some foam-in-a-can and fill all the holes where utilities pass through the subfloor into the walls. Every place wire, plumbing, cable, etc pass into the house, fill the hole with the foam. This will reduce drafts inside.

Next get the foam covers for your outlets and switchs. $2 for 6 switch, $2 for 8 outlet covers. You simply remove the cover plate of the outlet or switch, place foam around electrical outlet, replace normal outlet cover. 2 minutes per outlet or switch. Fun for the whole family.

As a tip to speed the process, get a "speed screwdriver". It looks like someone took a normal screwdriver and bent it into a Z shape. The metal part of the screwdriver spins inside the handle. Instead of rotating you wrist to turn the screwdriver, you move your entire hand in a circular motion. Kind of like "Wax on, Wax off". So much fun, my wife asked me if she could replace every outlet and switch in the entire house just so she could use the screwdriver. And she has never done any home repair ever in 13 years! $7 at Sears. They are terrific for machine screws but useless for wood screws.
 
  #5  
Old 02-05-01, 12:02 PM
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Wow - thanks for the detailed reply. Very helpful. I'll pull the insullation out tonight. So in the summer leave it open to? And, the insullation between the joists is R19 and has a paper facing which is facing down - toward the crawl space. Is that right? My crawlspace floor is cement, with vapor barrier underneath.
 
  #6  
Old 02-05-01, 12:44 PM
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No. The vapor barrier always goes towards the living space. That way the mositure rich vapor stays in the living space and does not move into the insulation.

So in your case of insulating the underside of a floor, the vapor barrier goes up agaist the floor (the living space side) and the insulation faces down towards the crawl space side. That way any moisture that does get into the insulation, is open to the ventilation (provided by open vents) and will dry out. Your insulation is installed upside down. Your current installation traps the mositure in the insulation growing nasties and rot.

And Yes, you always leave the vents open, regardless of the season. The vapor barrier you have under your cement floor helps to keep the mositure in the ground from rising up into the crawl space. That helps to keep the crawl space dry.
 
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