If your home doesn’t have a basement and isn’t atop a slab, it most likely has a crawl space. This area is typically over a foot tall and extends to the foundation. Like the name suggests, it is made that high in order for people to be able to crawl through it. This gives plumbers and electricians access to pipes and electrical wires.
Because it typically has a dirt floor, crawl spaces are not usually used for storage. Even when they are, storing things in a crawls pace can be risky because of the tendency for moisture to live there.
Because crawls spaces stay relatively warm, and they may not get great air flow, they can be great places for mold to grow. One way to combat this has been to place venting around the foundation in order to create air flow. A more modern method may be to put a vapor retardant material over the ground. A vapor retardant may eliminate the need for venting, but some building codes still require vents.
If you don’t have vents, you should still check your crawl space periodically to make sure that it is staying moisture free. Moisture equals mold, and without air flow, your crawl space could be growing a lot of mold without anybody knowing any better. Moisture can also attract termites and cause decay, so always monitor any areas that are closed off from view but could be a mold haven.
If you have vents, winter is the time to shut them. They actually don’t work when the air is drier inside than outside, and the vents will just pull in more moisture. A good rule of thumb is to close vents when the weather gets under 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and open them at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This also keeps cold air from reaching your plumbing and freezing your pipes.
You main priority when winter hits is that you must close your vents to your crawl space. Hopefully, you don’t need much more maintenance than that. Closing your vents will prevent more moisture from being added to your crawl space to prevent mold, and it will prevent cold from getting in…to a certain extent. This prevents pipes from freezing, but it also provides an extra layer of insulation for your home.