If you live in a part of the country where crawl spaces are a common foundation option, crawl space insulation is probably a hot topic. Crawl spaces are typically unconditioned and unsealed, meaning they can be a source of heating and cooling leakage and an easy entry point for rodents, insects, and other pests.
One way to improve your crawl space is to add insulation, but does this upgrade make a meaningful difference, and is it worth the money? While the answer will depend heavily on your budget for home improvements, this guide will go over a few reasons why you might want to consider putting money aside for this important job.
What Are the Benefits of Insulating Your Crawl Space?
Do you ever wake up in the morning and find that your floors feel uncomfortably cold? Unfortunately, a persistently chilly floor may mean that you're losing heat through your crawl space. Since your crawl space doesn't contain heating equipment, it can often get very cold during winter. The floor provides a medium for heat transfer, allowing heat to escape from your conditioned living areas.
The primary benefit of insulating your crawl space is to prevent this heat loss. Adding insulation to your crawl spaces tightens up a notable gap in your home's structural envelope, preventing lost heat and wasted energy. As a bonus, insulating can also make it harder for pests to enter your home or move between the crawl space and the main living areas.
What Are Your Options For Insulating a Crawl Space?
There are three common options for insulating residential crawl spaces:
Fiberglass batts are the most traditional method. These batts are installed between the floor joists, preventing heat transfer between the crawl space and the living area. Unlike other insulation options, fiberglass batts do not insulate the crawl space itself. Instead, they add a barrier between your crawl space and the rest of your home.
On the other hand, rigid and spray foams add a barrier between the crawl space and the outside world. When using these techniques, the floor joists do not need insulation since the foam will help keep the crawl space relatively warm. These options are typically more expensive and require professional installation but offer better overall protection.
Does Crawl Space Insulation Make Sense for Your Home?
Sealing up parts of your home's structural envelope is almost always a good idea. The EPA estimates these improvements can save up to 15% on energy costs, making them a worthwhile investment. If you're working on a tight budget, fiberglass batt floor joist insulation can help you save money on energy costs while also making your home more comfortable.
However, rigid or spray foam insulation will provide better long-term benefits, including superior protection against pests. If you can afford these improvements, they will often pay off over the long run with reduced energy bills and potentially fewer pest problems. For more information on crawl space insulation, contact a professional near you.