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The Builder’s Solution to No HVAC in Crawl Spaces

Updated February 22, 2023

As the trend to phase out HVAC equipment in crawl spaces grows, builders must stay ahead of changing regulations. Washington and Oregon have already implemented new policies while California is expected to jump on board soon. Effective solutions are essential for staying compliant and meeting customer needs.

What are the Rules About Installing HVAC in Crawl Spaces?

According to WAC 51-50-1202, Washington crawl spaces are not allowed to be used for return air plenums. Additionally, an operable radon vent fan must be installed and activated. The fan should be located as close as possible to the highest point of the crawlspace.

The net area of ventilation openings for crawl spaces with uncovered earth floors must also meet certain requirements. According to Chapter 12: Interior Environment, 2018 Washington State Building Code, this area must not be less than one square foot for every 150 square feet (0.67 m2 for every 15 m2).

The trending alternative is the obvious one – move the HVAC from the crawl space and into the attic. But that in itself poses its own unique challenges. Mostly around the clutter above the ceilings.

Pros and Cons of Heating and Cooling Units in Crawlspaces for Builders

Installing an HVAC system in a crawl space offers several advantages and cons for builders.

The pros:

  • Provides easy access to hard-to-reach areas
  • Keeps the unit out of sight for visual appeal
  • Simplifies pipe and duct installation

The cons:

  • Mold growth is possible due to dark and damp conditions
  • Potential air pollution if there are leaks in the ducts

Whether or not the rules affect your next build, it’s important you carefully weigh up all options before making a final decision on their HVAC placement.

Move the HVAC to the Attic Easily With Comfy-Light

Comfy-Light is the perfect solution for builders looking to update living spaces with modern, efficient technology. It’s entering the home builder market at the perfect time with the new rules. By combining both air and light into one fixture, the product works to:

  • Reduce the clutter in ceilings. The combination of recessed lights with HVAC vents for rooms reduces the need for separate ducts and electrical wires. You’ll streamline the ceiling space.   
  • Provide better airflow distribution. Builders can help their clients experience total comfort with 360-degree air circulation that ensures a balanced and consistent airflow in every room. 

Learn more about Comfy-Light, the innovative product that’s changing the way builders look at ceilings and providing air and light into rooms.

Joseph Gavica

Joseph Gavica

Joseph is KGG’s Content Strategist and a part of our digital services team. Joseph joined KGG in 2020, which would prove to be a pivotal year for the HVAC and IAQ industry. His expertise and focus are in ensuring that the right information reaches the right people. Joseph graduated from California State University Fullerton with a degree in Public Relations and Image Management. Learn more about how we approach HVAC Content Marketing and SEO for HVAC Businesses.

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