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The Unexpected Energy Benefits of Mechanically Vented Crawl Spaces

July/August 2015
This online-only article is a supplement to the July/August 2015 print edition of Home Energy Magazine.
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June 09, 2015
The debate on how best to treat crawl spaces has gone on for decades, and the building codes regulating crawl space design have constantly evolved. For a long time the entrenched thinking was to rely on foundation vents to properly condition crawl spaces. After all, that seems to be the most logical way to let moist, contaminated air exit the crawl. However, numerous studies have proven that theory wrong. Allowing warm, humid air to enter an unconditioned environment that contains cold surfaces only exacerbates the problem. The information gleaned from those studies has shifted the thinking to sealing the crawl space and installing mechanical ventilation. What I find most interesting is the results those studies revealed about energy consumption, and about how that information is being used today.

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