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Thinking of Ventilating Your Basement or Crawl Space? Do This Instead!

choosing between encapsulating and ventilating basement

Ventilation has become a hot topic in the HVAC industry today. As our planet's natural resources become increasingly hard to come by, residential and commercial builders are tasked with constructing airtight (“tight”) structures that waste zero energy.

This is awesome for energy bills. It is not so awesome for indoor air quality and your family's health. For this reason, mechanical ventilation has become a must for so many homes and workplaces today.

But down below the ground floor in your basement space, ventilation’s popularity is steadily declining. The reason for this is simple: the typical basement has a much different internal ecosystem than the home it is attached to.

For this reason, it is always a mistake to ventilate your basement or crawl space. However, there is something you can do that works great to protect these valuable additions to your home – read on to learn about it!

Why Ventilation is a Fail for Basements and Crawl Spaces

If you want to spend more on energy bills, battle strange odours, make mid-winter repairs to your furnace system and fight constantly against mould and rot, basement or crawl space, ventilation is a great choice.

But if your goal is to decrease humidity, improve air quality, lower energy bills and protect your whole home investment, it is important to give ventilation a wide berth.

Why is this? Allow us to explain.

Any space that exists below the ground floor of your home is surrounded by earth rather than air. This automatically means the ecosystem inside your crawl space or basement will have more dampness and humidity than any attached rooms above the ground’s surface.

Ventilation is not the same as HVAC, even though the “V” there stands for ventilation. All ventilation does is draw in fresh air and push out stale air. It does not warm or cool the air it moves.

So basically, ventilation in a basement or crawl space is going to be drawing in even more damp, humid air than what is already inside!

In summer, this is going to send the humidity through the roof, promoting mildew, mould and rot anywhere spores can gain a foothold.

In winter, this is going to cause condensation as the arctic air of the Canadian winter outside hits the warmer, damp air inside your basement or crawl space.

If you have appliances like a hot water heater, furnace, clothes washer/dryer set and so on, it will cool them down and force them to draw more energy to warm up again to work properly. You will see the impact right away with your monthly energy bills.

As if all this isn't motivation enough to avoid ventilating your basement or crawl space, let’s spend a minute considering how welcoming those vents appear to nearby wildlife who are freezing their tails off. The local rats, mice, squirrels, possums, skunks and raccoons have nothing but time to navigate your ventilation system and find a way into your basement.

So ventilation in your basement or crawl space is a clear no-go. What other options do you have? We are so glad you asked!

Don’t Ventilate – Insulate and Encapsulate!

Rather than ventilate, what your crawl space or basement needs and what your home investment deserves is the power duo of insulation and encapsulation.

Basement or crawl space insulation

Did you know that most older insulated basements have the wrong type of insulation?

Modern building science now understands that the type of fiberglass insulation that works very well in an above-ground space tends to fail quickly and comprehensively when installed underground.

The reason here is similar to the reason that ventilation is no longer recommended for basements and crawl spaces: most above-ground insulation is vulnerable to damp.

It takes a special type of insulation to ward off humidity that can create mildew and mould.

There is an easy way to tell if your basement has the wrong kind of fiberglass insulation – just walk across your ground floor in your bare feet. Are your feet cold? This means you either have no insulation in your basement ceiling or you have the wrong kind of insulation.

The right kind of crawl space and basement insulation will function as an extra barrier to damp, moisture and water and repel leaks.

Basement or crawl space encapsulation

Once your basement or crawl space has been properly insulated with damp-resistant, moisture-repellent insulation, the next step is encapsulation.

Encapsulation transforms your space overnight. You will watch your basement or crawl space go from that icky, slightly smelly, kind of creepy dark spot beneath the stairs to a light, bright, safe, comfortable place to use for whatever your needs require.

Encapsulation boosts the value of your home when it comes time to sell, but it also protects the underground areas of your home up until that day comes.

Imagine walking into your crawl space or basement blindfolded and not being able to tell you have left your above-ground home and descended down below. This is the overall impact of insulation plus encapsulation. No wonder buyers are willing to pay more for these features!

Most importantly, after you properly insulate and encapsulate your crawl space or basement, you won’t have to do basement or crawl space patrols for insects, critters, mildew, mould, damp, leaks, standing water, ooze, slime or stink.

You can safely store anything that needs storing to reduce your above-ground clutter. You can even turn your transformed basement into a recreation room, movie theater, home office or whatever strikes your fancy.

Get in Touch

Is it time to give your crawl space or basement the safety and functionality makeover it deserves? We can help!

Contact us now to learn about our FREE EasyQuote estimate system. Get a free, no-obligation quote for repairs, renovations and transformations to your crawl space or basement.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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