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Warm floors, warm feet

The Seattle area is in the midst of its cold and drizzly winter and it may be several months before the sun returns, today being an unusual but welcome anomaly. Now, more than ever, Northwesterners are acutely aware of how cold and chilly the house, and especially the floors, can be leading to a frequent need to nudge up the thermostat to keep warm. Interestingly, checking out your crawl space and replacing missing or damaged insulation under the floor joists could be the remedy for your cold floors and regular thermostat visits. A crawl space cleanup will help prevent energy loss by keeping heat inside where it belongs and blocking the cold air outside. Even better, as your heating bill goes down and the wear and tear on your HVAC system decreases, Uncle Sam will give you a break since the cost of insulation is tax deductible.

pic dirty crawlMost crawl spaces in the Pacific Northwest are vented to the outside of the home. The vents are easily visible on the lower walls (near the ground) of the home’s foundation and are designed to move air in and out of the crawl space. Seasonal temperature fluctuations can create moisture in the crawl space destroying insulation and causing mold, fungus, and other toxins to grow. Wet insulation will sag and pull away from the sub floor dramatically reducing its effectiveness. Specifically, cold air can reach the floor directly causing what’s known as cold floor syndrome. Any air that leaks through your home’s thermal envelope wastes energy and significantly increases heating costs.

If you take a peek into the crawl space and determine that you could use a cleanup there are many resources available online to help guide you. If your crawlspace is not easily accessible or perhaps needs a full restoration, you may wish to hire a professional.  Energy Star recommends consulting a service professional if there is wet or damp insulation possibly resulting from leakages. Experts are also helpful for dealing with rodents, a huge problem for crawl spaces.

Ensuring your home has adequate insulation is considered a cost-effective home improvement that will help save energy and improve comfort. A home that retains heat saves natural resources, reduces air emissions and helps create a cleaner environment. Insulation is made more affordable with a tax credit of 10% of the cost up to $500. As you enjoy your warm feet and toasty floors, peruse this infographic for additional ways homeowners can save on their taxes this season.