Sealing Vents Can Cause Problems

Posted by on Sep 10, 2011 in Inspection Stories | 3 comments

Sealing Vents Can Cause Problems

For many years folks around here have diligently sealed off the vents to the under side of their homes in an effort to keep heating costs down and stay warm in the winter.

Time passes, and as more information surfaces, thinking changes.

Back when homes had no insulation in the floors and water supply pipes were not insulated sealing vents likely saved a few pipes from bursting. However, now most homes are insulated at the floor level and all water pipes are individually wrapped in insulation. Little heat from the home above makes it down into the crawl area and little heat is lost down through the floor. Sealing off the crawl sub-area traps moisture and creates ideal conditions for pests to infest and thrive in the wood sub-structure. As an example, Anobiid beetles, often incorrectly called “powder post” beetles, thrive in wood with moisture content of between 14-20 %. Keep your crawl area well vented.

If you are trying to stay warm and fend off the ever higher fuel heating bills here are a few tips that will help and not compromise your home’s structural integrity.

  • Purchase a simple, programmable thermostat and take the time to learn how to set it. Consider lowering the temperature slightly during the hours the home is occupied and fine tune the settings to lower the homes temperature during times when it is not occupied.
  • Close window curtains after dark to help hold in heat.
  • If your home has south facing windows, open all curtains during sunny times to get the maximum solar gain. (This is not going to happen every day in our part of the world but it can substantially help on those few sunny, winter days).

Also these web sites contain good information about other ways to save on heating costs and making your home feel more comfortable.

http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/
http://hes.lbl.gov/
http://www.bpa.gov/energy/n/energy_Tips/weatherization/

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