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Crawl Space Vents: Open or Closed?

Damaged crawl space vents.

Crawl spaces are common across the U.S. and Canada, serving as a buffer between the ground and the living areas.  

However, there is ongoing debate about whether the vents in these spaces should be left open or closed.  

This article looks at both sides to help you decide and make the best decision for your home.  

Understanding Crawl Space Vents

Old, open crawl space vents.

Crawl space vents are openings around a home’s foundation that allow outside air to circulate beneath the structure. They were historically installed as a standard feature in home construction to address concerns about moisture control.  

The prevailing belief was that by allowing air to flow freely through the crawl space, these vents would help to keep the area dry and mitigate the risk of moisture-related problems such as mold, mildew, and wood rot. 

However, over time, builders learned that instead of drying out the area, the influx of humid air can raise the moisture levels, creating a damp environment conducive to mold and mildew growth. 

3 Problems with Open Crawl Space Vents

One key concern with open crawl space vents is the range of problems they can introduce. Let’s look at a few of the most common problems. 

Humidity meter inside a crawl space.

1. Moisture Issues 

Open vents allow moisture from the outside to enter the crawl space, leading to damp conditions.

Moisture can cause wood to rot and decay, compromising the integrity of the home. The damp environment promotes mold and mildew growth, which can affect indoor air quality and health. 

2. Temperature Fluctuations 

Open vents allow outside air to affect the temperature in the crawl space, leading to energy loss. These changes can make heating and cooling the home more difficult and expensive.  

Extreme temperatures can also affect plumbing and insulation, potentially causing damage. 

3. Pest Infiltration 

Open vents are an entry point for pests such as rodents, insects, and other small animals.  

Pests can cause significant damage to insulation, wiring, and wood structures. Some pests pose health risks through bites, stings, or diseases they carry.

3 Benefits of Closing Crawl Space Vents

Taking proactive steps to seal and encapsulate your crawl space can solve many problems caused by open vents. Here’s how this benefits your home:

1. Moisture Control

  • Sealing vents prevents moisture from entering, reducing humidity levels in the crawl space. 
  • This helps prevent wood rot, mold, and mildew, preserving the structural integrity of the home. 

2. Energy Efficiency

  • A sealed crawl space maintains more stable indoor temperatures, enhancing energy efficiency. 
  • Homeowners can expect lower energy costs for heating and cooling due to reduced temperature fluctuations. 

3. Structural Integrity

  • Sealing the crawl space protects the home’s foundation and structural elements from moisture-related damage. 
  • Materials in the crawl space, such as insulation and plumbing, have a longer lifespan. 

4 Steps to Seal Your Crawl Space

Properly sealing a crawl space involves several critical steps. Here’s a detailed guide of what to expect. 

1. Inspection and Preparation

Groundworks starts by thoroughly inspecting your crawl space for moisture, mold, and pests. Our crews clean and clear the area of debris and old insulation, ensuring a clean slate for the next steps. 

2. Sealing Vents

Groundworks uses blocks of high-quality insulation to seal off vents, preventing outside air and moisture from entering. Our experts ensure all vents are sealed effectively, creating a solid barrier against external elements. 

3. Encapsulation

Groundworks transforms your crawl space with encapsulation, installing a heavy-duty vapor barrier on the floor and walls to lock out moisture.  

4. Dehumidification

To maintain a dry environment, Groundworks installs an energy-efficient dehumidifier and provides regular maintenance to control humidity levels effectively. 

Trust Groundworks to properly seal your crawl space, reducing moisture damage risks, improving energy efficiency, and ensuring a healthier home environment. 

Should I Close My Vents with Groundworks?

encapsulated crawl space.

Given the benefits, properly sealing your crawl space vents is important to maintaining a healthier, more efficient, and structurally sound home.  

Contact Groundworks for a thorough and professional job. Our team of experts specializes in crawl space repair and encapsulation, ensuring your home is protected for years to come.  

Trust Groundworks to provide the highest quality service. Schedule an inspection online today and start enjoying the benefits of a sealed crawl space. 

Crawl Space Vent FAQs

Yes, encapsulating the entire crawl space, including the floor and walls, is essential for creating a complete moisture barrier and improving energy efficiency.

While sealing crawl space vents can be a DIY project, hiring a professional ensures that the job is done thoroughly and correctly, addressing all potential issues.

Regular inspections, at least once a year, are recommended to ensure that the sealing and encapsulation remain intact and that the dehumidifier is functioning properly.

Leah Leitow

Leah Leitow

Content Writer

Leah is a Content Writer for Groundworks with nearly ten years of experience working in the foundation repair industry. Her experience ranges from working with homeowners to find the right solution to training inspectors and staff. In her background as a Michigan journalist, she gained invaluable insight into people's lives throughout our state. Leah lives in metro Detroit with her husband and two sons.