03:51AM | 01/06/04
Member Since: 01/05/04
1 lifetime posts
I bought a home 6 monthes ago, at which time the access hole from my partial basement to the crawlspace, which is approx. 2 ft by 2 ft in size, was open and uncovered. The crawlspace is insulated along the footing walls and has a vapor barrier. I covered the hole hoping to save on heating and cooling, and it then got too cold down there and froze my pipes. My question is, should that accessway be open to allow heat to get in the crawlspace from the basement, or should my pipes be better insulated. Currently the pipes have no insulation.


11:04AM | 01/07/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
Crawl spaces may be insulated in one of two common ways. The most energy efficient is to insulate the floor of the heated structure above and allow the crawl space to be ventilated and cold. This requires pipes to be well insulated, and possibly heat traced (heat tape). This approach keeps all the heat in the occupied space. Another approach is to insulate the walls of the crawl space leaving the floors uninsulated. this allows enough heat to flow into the crawlspace to prevent freezing, but reduces heat efficiency.

It appears in your case that the crawl space was insulated and received its heat from the basement. From your description, it sounds like the floors above the crawlspace are also insulated or the area probably would not have frozen.

To reduce heating costs, the better approach would be to insulate the pipes and possibly add heat tape to vulnerable pipes near outside walls or exposed to drafts. The cost of pipe insulation will be much less in the long run than heating the unused space.

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