Replacing and updating attic insulation goes a long way towards whole-home energy efficiency and comfort. As long as you’re at it, we also recommend insulating your crawl spaces. Already updated your attic or exterior wall insulation? Then take a peek in your crawl spaces and make sure they were included in the retrofit.
Crawl spaces are notoriously overlooked and that can negatively impact your home in multiple ways. Without regular checkups and attentions, crawlspaces become catchalls for:
Most people seem to shy away from the crawl spaces beneath the home because their dark, enclosed, and cobwebby nature is the stuff of childhood nightmares. However, because crawl spaces take up the layer between the ground and your first floor, it is never a good idea to leave them unattended or uninsulated.
Insulating crawl spaces, or replacing old, outdated, and insufficient insulation, is a simple home improvement project that will pay for itself via four notable benefits.
Installing insulation in your crawl spaces is a nominal home improvement cost that yields a lifetime of benefits in terms of savings. Every year thereafter, you’ll notice a reduction in your heating and cooling costs because conditioned air will be more likely to stay put between your walls, maintaining a more consistent temperature (more on that below).
If your crawl spaces are creepy and full of mold, mildew, cobwebs, or the remnants of pest infestations, you’ll want to clean them out first. You can do this on your own, or contact a local insulation company that performs crawl space cleanups and prep.
Bay Area homeowners are working harder than ever to reduce energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint. The more adequately sealed and insulated your home is, the more you reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool your home.
While most people are focused on the $$ savings, we like to remind people that the same 20% less money spent on heating/cooling costs due to updated insulation also means 20% less energy you consume. That’s a win-win for you and planet earth.
Health Tip: If your home was built prior to the 1990s, OR existing crawl space insulation looks ratty, moldy, damp, or has pest damage, take careful precautions. It could be toxic. Read our post, How Older Insulation Can Cause Health Concerns, to learn more so you can protect yourself. If you suspect it is a potentially toxic situation, contact a professional to do the job to protect your health and the health of your family or other household occupants.
Once you’ve updated the insulation in your crawl space, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in whole-home comfort, especially during peak hot and cold months. The rooms above an uninsulated crawl space often feel warmer or cooler than other rooms in the house. This is a sure sign of missing or inadequate insulation.
It’s also a sure sign that you’re spending more than you need to on heating/cooling. Rooms that are hotter or colder than other rooms affect the home’s interior temperature, which causes the HVAC to work harder to compensate. In the end, adequate insulation means improved whole-home comfort no matter which room you’re in.
Here in the Bay Area, homes are particularly vulnerable to unhealthy moisture levels in the home. If your home isn’t well-sealed and insulated, there’s a good chance you will find evidence of mold or mildew in the crawlspace and in darker, more closed-off areas of the house such as closets or the attic.
Mold spores can be toxic at best, and mild irritant at worst, known for contributing to allergies, asthma, respiratory complaints, and compromised immune systems. If you do decide to insulate your crawl spaces, learn about the importance of installing a vapor or moisture barrier to optimize moisture protection.
Most people worry so much about outdoor air pollution, they aren’t paying attention to the quality of the air indoors. From the off-gassing of home finishes and furnishings and lack of fresh airflow to the previously mentioned mold/mildew issues, homes are often found to have worse indoor air quality than the air outside - even if it is polluted.
If you have unaddressed rodent issues, indoor air quality may be even worse as a result of the toxic particulate matters that become airborne from pests’ urine and fecal matter. Cleaning your crawl space and eradicating existing pets, plus the addition of a moisture barrier and adequate insulation will improve indoor humidity levels, also improving indoor air quality.
Does your crawl space need some attention? Is it a line on your list of things to do that never get taken care of? Contact us here at Attic Solutions and we’ll come and take a look. We’ll let you know what needs to be done and can provide a competitive quote for cleaning, insulating, and more.