Looking for any input regarding taking a position on Vented vs Non-Vented crawlspaces.
Performed an inspection (North East) and the crawlspace had 1 small vent. The area was probably 500-600 sq.ft. Also dirt floor, electric hot water tank was installed below grade resting on sand/dirt, same with furnace. No insulation on block walls, no pipe or joist insulation in floor above. No vapor retarder on dirt floor. Aside from the issues having access to a hot water tank and furnace in a crawlspace, having them rest on soil and subject to moisture and potential water damage is troubling.
As far as venting I have been reading the now differing opinions on the subject.
Crawlspace opinions are all over the place. I have seen vented crawlspaces that were damp and mold ridden. I have seen non-vented that were dry and clean. There are so many variables that seem to affect a crawlspace. At one time damp proofing was not required on a crawlspace. I think it may have depended on different factors. So not all homes were damp proofed on the exterior.
I think it is a matter of finding what works best for a particular crawlspace. More venting, less venting,
Many will tell you to insulate all pipes within 6 feet of the vents and leave them open all the time.
Height of the crawlspace makes a difference as well. I find more issues with crawlspaces less than 3 feet than I do with a 4 foot or so crawl.
In the one you mentioned, aside from the obvious of no moisture barrier and components sitting on soil, were there any moisture issues? Any signs on the foundation of water penetration. Was the crawlspace area humid, or clammy? How old was the house? Keep in mind, adding ventilation will mean adding insulation. Was the area conditioned? If so, then venting should not exist. Generally there is insulation on the walls if the area is conditioned. Sometimes.
Like I said…there are a lot of variables that affect a crawlspace. Personally, I don’t think there is a one size fits all approach.
I also think that a conditioned crawlspace is the way to go. I don’t think I have seen an issue in any of the ones I have been in.