With a name like EnergyManDan, you can imagine how frequently I am asked, “How can I save a lot of energy with minimal expense and minimal time invested?” Typical need. We all want the easy easy. Fortunately, there are a few energy saving measures  that are actually this easy and valuable. One great example is to close your crawl space vents for the winter. When I drive through neighborhoods, I cannot help but notice how many homes still have their crawl space vents open. This is a huge mistake in terms of trying to keep your home comfortable and your energy bills low during the winter. Here’s the scoop.

Home foundations are typically a basement, concrete slab or a crawl space. Of these, normally the crawl space is the only one with vents to the outside. Venting the crawl space is no longer a good idea in our energy efficient homes with heating and air conditioning ducts in the crawl space. These spaces under the home should be considered a “conditioned space” which means they are heated in the winter and “conditioned” in the summer. This post deals primarily with winter heating but here is another post about summer.

Think of your crawl space as a short basement. It should  be insulated around the perimeter on the inside of the crawl space walls which makes this a heated space in the winter. Many homes with a crawl space will have heating ducts in this area and these ducts perform best when they are in a warm space in the winter. Crawl space vents need to be closed, sealed and insulated to keep the cold winter air out of this area. Note that simply closing the louvers from the outside will seldom seal this opening properly. In addition to closing the louvers, you should go into the crawl space and seal the opening with a tight fitting plug and then add insulation.

Allowing cold air into an otherwise conditioned space can increase energy costs, cause the heated air in the ducts to be cooled, create cold floors and even add to the dryness of your home. If you close your crawl space vents and you are still having comfort issues, call Precision Comfort Systems. We are the home comfort experts in Noblesville, Westfield, Carmel and all other Indianapolis area communities. We discover the real reasons you are not comfortable!

Closing crawl space vents for the winter is an easy to understand energy saving measure. But what should you do with these vents in the summer? That concept is a more difficult topic and worthy of a separate blog or two. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place for the answers to these questions. Here is more information on summer moisture problems from crawl space venting.