In this crawl space myth-busting video, we're going to talk about
"Do you need ventilation or not in your crawl space?"
Most companies say you don't need ventilation in an encapsulated crawl space. Why do crawl space contractors say that installing a dehumidifier to address high humidity eliminates the need for crawl space ventilation?
Soil Gases in Crawl Spaces
Imagine that your crawl space was open and ventilated, so you had all this air moving through these open vents of the crawl space. Then you go along and you seal up all the vents and you put in a dehumidifier. Well, if you're in a place like here in Knoxville, Tennessee or in Charlotte, North Carolina or Nashville where you have radon and soil gases in the crawl space, sealing up all those vents only causes that radon and soil gas to go up into your home.
Does Fixing Humidity Problem Increases Soil Gases
You certainly don't want to fix a humidity problem and cause a soil gas problem. What the EPA recommends is that you put one fan, that's one CFM of air for every 50 square feet in the crawl space to push the air out. Now, that make up air can come from different places and we've done a video about that if you want to check out the make up air video.
Crawl Space Encapsulation
If you're going to perform crawl space encapsulation, make sure you install a dehumidifier and ventilation along with proper insulation. Also make sure you have a no cat pee guarantee vapor barrier installed. Reinforced vapor barriers can give off cat urine odors as they get wet and separate.
Crawl Space Vapor Barrier
Yes, you read correctly. There are vapor barriers, vapor retarders, crawl space plastic; whatever you want to call it that is being sold and installed by crawl space repair contractors that gives off an odor similar to cat urine. There are crawl space companies scrambling because they refuse to admit it's the plastic causing the problem but watch this video and make up your own mind.