Covering Crawlspace Vents in the Winter
Many people ask if it is necessary to cover their crawlspace vents during the winter. If you live in Arizona it may not be an issue, but here in Central Oregon it's a no-brainer. Spending a little bit of time to acquire properly-fitting foam vent covers could mean the difference between keeping a dry and moderate-temperature crawl space until the spring, or finding large pools of water in a freezing space when it is too late.
As mentioned, areas with more moderate climates do not face the same challenges we do here in Oregon. Not only are their temperatures higher, but they do not have the same level of moisture or piles of snow that press against houses all winter long. These snow piles are a problem-- when they begin to form on the outside of your home after a heavy snowfall, not only will they impede your access to the vent, but will eventually freeze solid in the winter and slowly thaw out during the spring. If your vent is wide open to the elements, this water will likely begin to migrate into your crawlspace causing damage to insulation and even refreezing on pipes or other areas below your home.
When looking for vent covers, you will find a number of options online or in home-improvement stores. In general, look for something that will work best with your home; some vents are standard sizes and easy to fit, while others may require you to make some small adjustments yourself. Foam vent covers are always an inexpensive and effective option, and can be easily cut to fit into a odd spaces or around any wiring or piping that may be exposed. As long as they're secure enough to not be affected by animals or nasty weather, you should be in the clear.
And, as always, if you experience a problem with your crawlspace before or after the winter, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Bend!