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Old 12-19-2008, 10:53 PM   #1
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Crawlspace Ventilation


Howdy, I'm a new member, but will become a regular contributor I believe. I grew up hands on with my father who was a farmer, so I'm not a newbie, but by no means I also question myself sometimes, which is why I'm here. I live in the deep south and recently purchased a 50+ year-old home that is technically in a flood zone, but I've no worries about that, I'm up high. I'm just trying to keep the water draining around the home and evaporating out from under my wooden foundation. The previous owners were some real brainiacs, they thought they'd plug up the existing brick vent holes with concrete to keep the water from coming in. I don't think it occurred to them that you're crawspace has to breathe. Anyway, I've ordered ten temp-vents to remedy the problem, but 4 of the vent areas on the front of the house look like their low enough to the ground to demand vent wells, which from what I've priced are quite expensive, all around the $60 range, the plastic ones. Any suggestions on building something myself? Any experience with this at all? I only need to do four of these. This price just seems too much for a round piece of plastic. I was fine spending the $25 a pop for the vent, just would like another solution if you have one. Thanks for any suggestions. Much love out there. Happy Holidays! ~C

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Old 12-19-2008, 11:41 PM   #2
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Crawlspace Ventilation


Rolled steel window wells would be pretty inexpensive. Interlocking pavestone wall blocks would also allow you to dig down and build a window well of sorts. Treated landscape timbers would also do the trick, pinned together with rebar to form a well.

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Old 12-20-2008, 12:06 AM   #3
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Why did you jump to the mechanical solution so quickly? Have you done everything to keep the water out of the crawlspace in first place. grading? drains? Waterproof membrane? gutters and down spouts? Interior moisture control. There is no one solution that will work in all situations. Your wood foundation lasted 50 years? somebody must have done something right. What does your drain tile and sump look like. Soil type? post a picture or a drawing, and we might be able to tell you something.
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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Yes, I've done many things to direct the water away from my structure, total gutter system, drainage systems, etc.. don't talk to me like I haven't explored every option. I came here asking for a simple inexpensive alternative to temp-vent's $60 vent wells. I'm in Mobile, Alabama. We get over 200 inches of rain on average every year, so this is a concern. I'm now looking at those heavy-duty trash cans cut down to sink in the ground, rather than shelling out the money they want for these plastic buckets, which are basically the same thing . ...
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:29 PM   #5
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How wide are the vents?

How about a chunk of road culvert cut in half,,,its NOT like you are making egress windows or anything,,,long as the culvert is wider than the vent!! Your county,parish,township,,,whatever that is THERE,,, usually,has some salvage they will give away here.

Even cement blocks would work
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:58 PM   #6
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I have been looking for the same thing for my house. I am having land grading done and bring up the dirt level to about the bottom of the vents for my crawl space. I have thought of making a simple mold and just using several bags of quickcrete. I was looking at making the mold out of bender board or fiberglass. However I am liking 4just1don's idea of using a metal culvert.
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:08 PM   #7
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I bought my home in '90, it was built in '86. Due to grade, the lot slopes from right front to left back, quite a bit. The right front corner of the home has 18" of clearance between the ground and the bottom of the floor joist, the left rear corner has 42" clearance. The soil here is very much red clay, the rain water migrates through the soil and will get in under the home. The PO's dug a little ditch all the way around the inside the crawl space perimeter to the lowest point and had a bucket dug down in the dirt with a manual operated sump pump to pump out the water that migrated in. Of course this all leads to high moisture under the home. I took a used 110V squirrel cage type fan from an A/C unit (free for the asking at my local A/C service shop) , made a mount for it to mount to one of the foundation vents on the backside of the home so it blows out of the vent. I put a water heater timer under the house, ran a dedicated wire from the panel to it, and now it comes on three (3) times a day for two (2) hours each cycle each day. Underneath the house is dry-period. After a heavy rain, two days later there will be water in the drainage ditch and you can tell there is moisture in the air, but give it a couple of days and it is dry again. There was always a musty smell in the house until I did this and it went away, just a side benefit I had not planned on. This may sound like a little work but it was worth it, Thanks, David
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:23 AM   #8
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Crawlspace Ventilation


If I were you I would explore closing your crawl space instead of trying ventilate it, especially in your area of the country - humid!

Consider this: if it's 90 degress and 80% humidity outside, that air when sweeping under your home, which is probably 72 degrees and has a dew point near that temp.

When the outside air comes in, the moisture will condense keeping the crawlspace damp.

Although many building codes have not yet been updated, the idea of closing the crawlspace is a much more hi-tech solution.

Advanced Energy used a gov't grant to study this concept. Go to http://www.crawlspaces.org/ to see the research and test results.

I have no financial interest in this topic. But I did it to my 50-year old home with great results.
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyalAcresRod View Post
If I were you I would explore closing your crawl space instead of trying ventilate it, especially in your area of the country - humid!

Consider this: if it's 90 degress and 80% humidity outside, that air when sweeping under your home, which is probably 72 degrees and has a dew point near that temp.

When the outside air comes in, the moisture will condense keeping the crawlspace damp.

Although many building codes have not yet been updated, the idea of closing the crawlspace is a much more hi-tech solution.

Advanced Energy used a gov't grant to study this concept. Go to http://www.crawlspaces.org/ to see the research and test results.

I have no financial interest in this topic. But I did it to my 50-year old home with great results.
I agree! I closed my crawl space ventilation years ago!
I insulated the inside of the foundation walls and installed heat and air conditioning down there.
Place has been dry as a bone, ever since.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:49 PM   #10
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I agree. I had concrete poured in my crawl space, installed fiber glass insulation on the walls, sealed up vents. I have a dehumidifier also and if it's -10 degrees or 90 degrees and humid (like today) the crawl space maintains 60-62 degrees and 40-45 percent humidity.
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:35 PM   #11
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:00 PM   #12
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If you close it up and condition it that is fine. It then becomes a "conditioned space" similar to a basement. If you don't want to spend $60 for a vent well I doubt you will want to go through the expense to condition the crawl space.

It is very important that you vent a unconditioned crawlspace. When doing so you want to create cross-ventilation. This is important because it will help to kill mold spores which can lead to various forms of rot. If let go long term this can lead to structural damage.

When venting install 1 sqft of vent for every 150 sqft of underfloor space. Install one within 3 feet of every corner. As far as vent wells the rolled steel KC recommended is what I would use. You can find them at your local home center. Also make sure you have a 6mil. vapor barrier installed in the underfloor space.

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