What is in a crawl space? What to see and not see

With today's TJI (Truss Joist I-Beam) framing, there is a deeper floor cavity to fill, but standards remain the same for insulation.By Curt Viles
CEC Energy Specialist

Trekking into your home’s crawl space is not part of “The Grand Tour.” But finding a well-ventilated and insulated crawl space is FOUNDATIONAL for better energy savings and improved air quality for the home’s inhabitants.

Here are some highlights of the “Crawl Space Tour”:

Crawl Space Access

Access door, if the crawl space access is inside your home:

  • Weather stripping around the door/hatch and around the frame
  • Door/hatch is insulted on the crawl space side

Crawl Space ground

  • Ground covered with approved ground cover
  • Ground free of debris (construction and other materials)
  • Ground is dry and there is NO standing water
  • If the foundation has vents, they should be secured with no holes
  • Open the vents in the spring and seal them up in the fall

Plumbing and electric lines

  • Supply water pipes should be insulated with insulating wrap (R8 or better)
  • No leaks allowed in any water line
  • All water lines supported as needed to the framing
  • Air seal all plumbing and electrical penetrations through the floor
  • No exposed electrical connections
  • All electrical lines supported to the framing

Floor insulation

  • Fiberglass batt insulation should fill the framing cavity, and be in contact with the bottom of the sub-floor
  • If the fiberglass batt insulation has a facing, the paper or foil should face up to the floor
  • Fiberglass batt insulation should be supported and held in place by appropriately spaced wood lathe
  • Fiberglass batts cut as needed to fit around pipes and other obstructions—no gaps allowed
  • All framing cavities filled with properly supported insulation
  • Air sealing and insulation at the sill plate and rim joist (between conditioned space and the crawl space)

Dryer vents and down draft vents

  • If your home has a dryer or down draft vent in the crawl space, they should be rigid metal and must terminate outdoors

This list is not a complete list with all possible stops for a crawl space tour. Ductwork in a crawl space, for example would take up at least an entire blog alone.

Homeowners can use this list to understand what to see in a crawl space and use it as step towards making their home warm, safe and cozy.

Did you know your home may qualify for a free home energy audit? If you have any questions about Central Electric Cooperative’s Energy Efficiency Incentives, or to see if you qualify for a free home energy audit please call 541-548-2144.