Highly insulated crawl spaces with controlled minimal ventilation – proof of concept by field measurements
In current practices crawl spaces are typically ventilated with outdoor air. This leads very often to high relative humidity especially in the beginning of the summer, which can be problematic if the excess humidity cannot be ventilated efficiently enough. This paper introduces a crawl space concept where the crawl space is highly insulated and traditional ventilation openings are replaced by minimal mechanical exhaust ventilation set by pressure difference with the aim to prevent potential pollutants to penetrate indoors through the base floor. The concept that has been developed based on the simulation study is tested in this study with field measurements in four single family houses. Continuous measurements of relative humidity and temperature in crawl spaces and outdoor air were running more than one year in each building. The results revealed that all the crawl spaces had very low relative humidity, mostly below 75% and for very short periods close to 80% even though some of the buildings were new and construction phase moisture was drying out. The results revealed that the crawl space concept studied provided an ultimate moisture safety and can be recommended for all buildings with wooden floor.