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  1. Look, I don't want to frustrate anyone here. I am just trying to weigh the different opinions and balance that against the reality of the building's present condition and history, and the intransigence of those actually having the power to make changes in it. Some final(?) questions for anyone who has experience with closed vents in unconditioned crawls: Regulations and heating efficiency aside for the moment - As long as the crawl spaces remain relatively dry, why would we want to have open vents in the summer introducing humidity laden air that is very warm? There is, in reality, a very small vent area in place (see below) in our building. And more than likely there is leakage from the duct work in the crawl spaces. If we did close the vents in summer, wouldn't the AC duct leakage help condition the crawls? Realities: 1. Our southern Indiana condo building is 20 years old. 2. The vent area is typical cinder block size (approx 1 sq ft), so approx total only 4 sq ft for approx total 2,000 sq ft of the 2 combined crawls. 3. 1 year ago when we moved in, I believe all 3 of our vents (2 on west, 1 on south) were open and, as far as I know, not attended to in any way. I assume the linked crawlspace neighbor on our east had its 1 vent open as well. 4. The crawl is below the sidewalk on the north, so no vents there. 5. I assume the construction was inspected 20 years ago and OKd. 6. No moisture issues in the crawls when inspected 1 year ago. 7. The automatic vents just installed will probably at some point get stuck in the open or shut position - unless someone can convince them to replace them with a manually operated type. Finally, I know someone in the area who has two small crawl spaces under the house and neither are vented - and they are not experiencing problems.
  2. This is not an option. That being the case, how would you vary the vent positions during the year? Are you saying the vents should be open year round? Your post raises some interesting points. Let me say - The building is 20 years old. There does not appear to be any water penetration or vapor issues. When asking about crawl pressurization, we were told by more than one professional (including our HVAC tech) that our building is not so tight that it would be a problem. Assuming this to be true, if the vents were closed wouldn't the stack effect draw air into the crawl through cracks, cheap vents, etc. - in effect, causing the crawl to be "vented" year round? I mean, our crawl will never really be "closed" as it is now, right?
  3. Thanks for the link. (How come my links get broken and yours didn't?) The trouble with the articles/studies linked from the advancedenergy.org page is that they all focus on "closed crawl" = conditioned crawl - and conditioning is not an option for our condo's crawls (because they are linked in pairs with no fire doors between = too expensive to upgrade + and other reasons). What I wish I could find is an article something like: Proper Use of Crawlspace Vents - When Conditioning is Not an Option. If anyone knows of such a piece, pls let me know. I contacted my home inspector again about the newly installed automatic vents. He does not like them and says, "They usually fail to work properly in a short amount of time." He appears to stand by his earlier opinion that, given our circumstances, it probably would be better to keep our vents shut year round. OTOH, a statement I came across that caught my attention in one advancedenergy.org-linked article was: "The irony is that wall vents get closed when they can do the most crawl space drying - during the dry weather of winter." Hmmm... What is one to do?
  4. I haven't quite given up on them yet. Are you saying that our "vented" crawls would be better served if the vents were shut year round as our home inspector suggested (providing the space is dry, has a vapor barrier and insulation on the walls)? Also, do you know where I could find an article supporting this?
  5. I appreciate this forum a lot, but wish there was a way to edit one's posts. These links should work. Bloomington average temperatures http://pics2.city-data.com/w1q/lhaq7716.png Bloomington average humidity http://pics2.city-data.com/w2q/humq7716.png
  6. Don't bother. They're garbage. Like most HOA boards. There isn't much to do here; if they don't want to listen to what's proven to work, that's their prerogative.
  7. In our building there are 4 crawlspaces, but they are linked in pairs with no fire barrier door between them. In November 2010 the HOA Board wanted to condition the crawls, but after I got a County Buildings Dept inspector advising, he pointed out how expensive the code compliant options would be. They went back to the as-built state: vapor barrier on floor, fiberglass insulation in joists, foamboard on exterior walls and just now, these automatic vents. Our home inspector at time of sale advised leaving the vents closed all year. BTW, I got much help from you folks here back in November. Thanks.
  8. In the available (south and west) foundation walls of the approx 2000 sq ft crawl space under our Bloomington, Indiana condo building, the maintenance crew has installed Solar Tek automatic foundation vents (bought at our local Menards or Lowes). What few reviews I can find online indicate that performance of this type of "automatic" vent is problematic. Anyone have a performance review to offer here? Bloomington average temperatures http://pics2.city-data.com/w1q...7716.png Bloomington average humidity http://pics2.city-data.com/w2q...7716.png
  9. Thanks, but it isn't costs that I wonder about. My concern is residents leaving the units vacant for extended periods with HVACs set at minimum settings (or with AC turned off during a summer away from the unit) - my question being: Given changing weather conditions, is it likely that the lack of attention or oversight during such absences would affect humidity/vapor issues in the crawl and potentially lead to mold, etc.?
  10. In November I posted a number of questions here re the proposed conditioning of (connected) crawl spaces under our small Bloomington, Indiana condo building. With the help offered here and that of the local Buildings Department, the plan was abandoned by the HOA and they opted to stick with the passive vented system (probably with the vents closed year round). Bloomington average temperatures http://pics2.city-data.com/w1q/lhaq7716.png Bloomington average humidity http://pics2.city-data.com/w2q/humq7716.png New issue: Conditioning the crawls is being considered for another condo building with 4 street level units and 4 second floor units - but the crawls are separate (not connected). One thing that I wonder about is if a unit gets rented, the renters may have little interest in (or even know about) maintaining appropriate settings. Also, there seems a rather frequent turnover of these units and I question whether buyers would be made aware of their part in this humidity control "system." One unit is owned by a company that keeps it for occasional use by visiting employee(s) - IOW, it may be vacant for extended periods. Question: If the street level unit owners agree to allowing use of their HVACs to condition the space below them, what might be issues to keep in mind?
  11. Sorry for my sloppy typing. Correction; this should read: I read on another site that 2" deep spray foam might cost $2 sq ft. x 1000 sq ft @ = $8k. There are actually 2 buildings, so this number would be $16k.
  12. Thanks. I think I understand the concept of radiant heat better now.
  13. Situation: Attached 2-story, 20-year-old condo buildings located in south central Indiana (Bloomington), with 4 connected first floor units above approx. 1000 sq ft. vented crawl spaces approx 24" h. The crawl spaces are connected in pairs. A year ago we shared our pre-buy inspection report with the HOA. The main crawl space issues were that a lot of fiberglass insulation was hanging down and the vents needed to be repaired or replaced. I assumed they would clean the place up and replace any batts that needed it. Instead, the HOA board contracted to have the spaces "conditioned" without seeming to understand the complexity of this particular situation. I raised questions here (www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=13017) and then with them. Eventually, I got an agent in the city Planning Dept involved, and he pointed out design problems and requirements for fire retardant barriers, dampers, etc. Unfortunately, by the time they paused in the process to reconsider their approach, the contractor had removed all the fiberglass insulation, installed a new vapor barrier (and probably removed the old one) and installed 2" rigid extruded polystyrene insulation on the exterior walls. The city agent suggested 4 possible options. The simplest and probably least costly seemed to be that of sticking with the vented system. The board agreed, but informed me that they would use spray foam instead of batts. Sounds nice, but... Possible problems that I see are: * The HOA board seems reluctant to communicate with residents living over the crawl spaces (to determine or alert re allergy/health issues, precautions during application, etc.) * I wonder if a thorough job can be done, applying this spray to a surface about 24" above the floor while lying down in an unlighted crawlspace. * I read on another site that 2" deep spray foam might cost $2 sq ft. x 100 sq ft @ = $8k. The board has not said what the actual quoted price is. I'd appreciate any feedback/opinions on proceeding from here. Also, could I get clarification? - a former house builder friend has said that since warm air rises, the primary function of the insulation in the crawl between the joists is to avoid losing cooled air from the living space in summer, but that it doesn't do much to contain heated air in winter. Is this correct?
  14. As far as I know, the board isn't trying to "weasel out of resposibility" and they haven't cried "volunteer." I am just stating a fact: at the annual meeting it was very hard to get enough people to volunteer to be on the board - and I didn't offer to join. I have urged my wife to join. She says she has enough to do keeping me out of trouble. I have done more than enough yelling in my life & am trying to be calmer. I have no power to "stop the presses" and have no intention of hiring a lawyer. I believe my actions so far have moved things in a better direction. They know more about what is required and there will be an official inspection. The inspector I have been in touch with has been helpful and seems quite competent. He wrote recently, "As I stated in the last note, some of these items have been pulled from the Indiana Residential Code, as the Indiana Building Code is silent on the matter of sealed conditioned crawlspaces and this is the only place in code that I could find information on the subject. The reason that I felt I needed to consult the residential code is that crawlspaces are far more complex than simply how they can be modified to conserve energy, and in my opinion, moisture issues are just as important as they can cause costly damage in the long term." Looks to me like there is at least one head screwed on right. Also, there is evidence that the management company is now heading in the right direction. I hope to pig out tomorrow and fagetabout dis for awhile. Cheers!
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