Should Home Foundations Have Ventilation?

Should home foundations have ventilation? Several problems can arise in your foundation if it is not properly ventilated. Foundation ventilation is only necessary for homes that have either basements or...

Foundation ventilation is only necessary for homes that have either basements or crawls spaces. Typically, foundation ventilation only applies to crawl spaces. A crawl space is a type of foundation that has an accessible space with limited headroom, between the soil and the bottom of the first floor of a home. This foundation is used in areas with heavy clay content in the soil, such as Texas. Homes with basements have air circulation systems built into central air, central heat, or some other mechanism for circulating air.

Foundation crawl spaces are usually fairly low. They can be a foot or a couple of feet in height and are not meant for people to spend time in or to store things in. For this particular foundation, homeowners need to have half vents that allow the air to blow in and blow out. By doing this, a homeowner is trying to prevent humidity from affecting the foundation. In crawl spaces, humidity soars during wintertime. When this happens, people try to seal their house to keep heat in, but this also seals water and moisture in. Once the humidity gets near 100% then you begin to promote the growth of mold and bacteria. "This destroys wood bearing membranes underneath the floor," says Fred Marshall, owner of Advanced Foundation Repair. His company started repairing foundations 13 years ago and has repaired more than 10,000 foundations. "It is not uncommon to go into homes and find wood beams that are 4" x 12", which allows a person to stick a screwdriver right through," he says. A major contributor to crawl space moisture is evaporation from uncovered earth under the house. Stopping the evaporation is the main key to a dry crawl space. Recent studies by Advanced Energy Corporation in North Carolina point out that a continuous crawl space ground cover is more important in reducing moisture than foundation venting.

However, if a homeowner wants to have proper foundation ventilation and avoid moisture from happening, then one should have an eliminator foundation vent fan or just a vent installed. The fan, which is motorized, is designed for circulating outside air through the crawl space of a structure to reduce moisture problems. Moisture causes dry rot and fungus growth, and increases the potential for termite infestation as well as foundation problems. The fan is designed for mounting onto a new or existing crawlspace vent. It operates off a temperature switch that activates the motor at or above 50F, states the website, a website. Vents should be placed on all sides of the foundation. This will create an intake/exhaust system that delivers a steady flow of air. Most building codes require one square foot of open ventilation area for every 150 square feet of crawl space.

One needs to keep standing water away from the home and foundation as well. To do this one needs to have sloping ground that is around and away from the foundation in order to have proper drainage. If one has proper slopes when building a foundation then in the future, a homeowner will more than likely not have foundation problems.

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