The weather is cold and many of our thoughts turn to staying warm and hopefully protecting our homes from the freezing temperatures. One product we see often during our home inspections are vent blocks intended to keep our pipes from freezing and our floors warm. I always recommend removing these blocks as they tend to do more damage than good. If you have a modern home with good insulation your pipes should be just fine. Homes with a crawl space are meant to breathe much lik...e you and I. If the exchange of air under your home cannot happen, moisture builds. The heat from your home mixes with the cold from the crawlspace and condensation is the result. Without ventilation this will hang on your wooden structures and soak your insulation leading to mold or rot. so please remove these blocks and let your home breathe. If your convinced your pipes are not well enough protected, use the blocks only during extreme weather days and remove them right away when the weather returns to our usual winter wetness.
It goes without saying that here in the Pacific Northwest water is a major enemy to our homes, both exterior and interior. This time of year when that water turns to ice it poses a different kind of threat. If you have a concrete driveway or walkway or anything, you have probably noticed cracks. They almost always appear and are very common. They usually start off small and are merely cosmetic. If you do the right thing and keep them filled and sealed with an approved concrete sealer to keep the water out they will remain small. If you forget to seal them water will get in, then freeze and expand the cracks until the concrete fails. You’re then left with an eyesore and trip hazards. Once again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This easy fix only takes moments to apply and can save you thousands of dollars down the road.