CRAWLSPACE VENTILATION SYSTEMS
AUTOMATIC FOUNDATION VENTS:
Foundation vents are commonly found alongside the foundation walls of properties built over a crawlspace. These crawlspace vents have a rectangular shape with screened louvers that are meant to open and close. However, knowing when to open and close your crawlspace vents can pose a problem, especially when the property is an investment property or a second home, where you only visit during a particular time of year.
Most existing crawlspace vents are louver vents that were installed by the builder. These louver vents are manual vents, which means you have to manually open and close them throughout the year. It is generally common to close your crawlspace vents during the winter season and open your crawlspace vents during the warmer climates for residents in New Jersey.
Many years ago, building code requirements were implemented with strict guidelines on the number of crawlspace vents that a property built over a crawlspace would require. These building requirements were enforced in order to keep moisture out during warm and humid climates. The main purpose was to keep moisture out.
Automatic Crawlspace Vents are a far easier and cost-effective fix for crawlspaces that need venting. In addition, there are several types of automatic vents to choose from depending on where your property is located. For instance, if your only concern is venting your crawlspace throughout the year, then Temp-Vents is the perfect solution, as they automatically open and close depending on the outside temperature and do not require electricity.
SMART Vents on the other hand not only provide automatic ventilation but are also FEMA compliant and may help lower your flood insurance. These are costlier per unit as opposed to other vents but offer the best protection to properties that are located in a flood zone.
The images below were documented before and after the following vents were installed to the corresponding foundations.
As you can see, these vents provide an aesthic appeal as well as a functional use, resulting in enhancing the curb appeal to any property.
Temp-Vents® is also more appealing than the preinstalled crawlspace vents that came with your property. They are available in a few different colors that you can choose from and function without the need for electricity so they do not absorb energy costs.
SMART Vents, however, are quite different in terms of functionality than Temp-Vents®. SMART Vents are flood venting systems that are manufactured specifically in areas where flooding occurs most. SMART Vents are flood vents that are considered FEMA compliant flood vents and are accepted by most insurance carriers that can help lower your flood insurance.
However, as the climate continues to evolve causing drastic changes to the environment, a ventilated crawlspace is not always the right answer. If you are constantly experiencing moisture issues in your crawlspace, then sealing off your entire crawlspace with a process called "crawlspace encapsulation" maybe your best approach to reduce and control the moisture within and prevent moisture problems down the road. Some of the things to look out for when experiencing moisture issues is: floor buckling, doors not closing properly, or musty odors present.
These are just a few signs that there is a clear and definitive moisture problem that may need a more aggressive approach. In such cases, we would highly recommend sealing off all your crawlspace vents and installing a heavier vapor barrier (at least 12 mil.) Diamondback moisture resistant polyethylene sealed to the crawlspace ground, side walls, and support columns. Sealing the entire crawlspace with a heavy lined vapor barrier encapsulates the crawlspace and prevents air, humidity and moisture from penetrating within.
Crawlspace Encapsulation is costlier but most effective in keeping the moisture out and it helps reduce energy costs and is also effective in keeping pest out of the crawlspace. However, if this is not an option you want to take due to the costs or simply not interested in allocating this type expense into a second home or investment property then your next best choice would be to have automatic crawlspace vents installed throughout. Automatic crawlspace vents; such as Temp-Vents®, are easy to maintain and help keep the moisture out when humidity is of concern.
One important thing you should keep in mind, annual maintenance is always imperative and key to maintaining the integrity of your property. This is why as part of our ongoing efforts in servicing your property we also offer annual crawlspace inspections. The crawlspace inspections cover a list of concerns that if detected in its early stages can have a beneficial value in addressing issues before they exacerbate, resulting in costly expenses in the long run. With anything, it’s always simpler and easier to treat and/or anticipate a situation before it gets out of hand. In addition, the crawlspace inspections also include a full vent service, which helps ensure your automatic crawlspace vents are functioning properly all year round.
The crawlspace inspections are available annually for a low cost and include a full-color printed report. For more information, click here.