Crawl space encapsulation protects the area beneath a home with a vapor barrier that completely covers the floors, foundation walls and even the ceiling in some cases. This barrier blocks the water vapor that’s constantly flowing up from the bare soil and into the home, and that provides numerous benefits.
Save on Energy Costs
Industry research reveals that the average home with an encapsulated crawl space is as much as 20 percent more energy efficient, and the EPA recommends crawl space encapsulation based on these statistics. Ventilated crawl spaces allow for great loss of heated and cooled air, and the barrier helps protect against this. It’s worth noting that if a home has ducts in the crawl, loss can be as high as 50 percent, and the benefits will be much greater than average.
There are also practical living benefits to avoiding so much warm and cool air disappearing through your floor. Your floors will be warmer in winter, and your house will be less humid in summer, which means that your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard. It also means that conditioned air will be better distributed—or even—in your home, which means you’re less likely to have cold or hot spots.
Avoid Mildew, Mold and Floor Repairs
A big problem with water vapor rising up from the soil is that it encounters your floor and condenses into moisture, which permeates the wood. That moisture can lead to mildew in many cases and even mold in the right conditions, which will undermine your floors over time. Over years, that damage can add up and eventually require repairs and even replacement of some wood.
Better Air Quality
Encapsulating your crawl space can also go a long way toward helping you achieve ideal indoor air quality. Factors such as temperature and humidity control mean that the air is easier to breathe. The barrier also limits the particulates and contaminants that can enter your floor in this manner. The mildew mentioned earlier is prevalent in open crawl spaces and actually influences the overall smell of the air within a home.
Rebates, Incentives and Home Value
Encapsulating your crawl space can also put money in your pocket in both the short-term and the long-term. Many utilities provide customers rebates for crawl space encapsulation. There are various federal and state tax incentives available, and the real estate industry recommends that homes with crawl spaces not go to market without it because it’s a focal point for consumers and inspectors.
Extended HVAC Equipment Life
If your home has ducts, an air handler and other HVAC equipment in the crawl, it’s imperative to encapsulate it to protect those items. Otherwise, your air handler will work harder, but also, the moisture will lead to unnecessary wear and tear.