This is another huge topic throughout the United States and Canada. Cold floors and energy loss are directly related to properly insulating your home and the crawl space. However, insulation alone is not the answer. Here is what I tell my customers that call me for advice and to help them understand the problem of cold floors and heat loss. If you build a shed in the back yard and insulate the walls, floor and ceiling with, let’s say R-30 and the outside temperature is 0 degrees. Is the shed warm or cold? The answers I get are split – 40% say warm and the other 60% say cold. For the 40% that say warm, I help them understand why their answer is incorrect. Insulation does not make a shed or home for that matter warm, heat does. The job of the insulation is to retain the heat. Of the 60% that answered correctly I only have to ask one more question; what would make it warm? This follow up question definitely exposes the ones that guessed but nonetheless they understand what the missing link to their problem is. If you take the heat source out of a bedroom and closed the door, that bedroom would be cold. It is no different with the crawl space, but with a crawl space the home will usually have open vents. Even if the vents in the foundation are mechanically closed it will make little difference in the temperature of the crawl space. My analogy for this- would you install those same vents in the walls of your living area and expect them to hold out the cold if you closed them? Of course not, that is not part of there design. The other part of this equation is the characteristics of warm and cold air. Heat rises and cold falls, this fact directly works against keeping the floors warm in the winter. As the home is heated the warm air rises to the ceiling where it is picked up by the return air ducts (in most homes) and sent back to the furnace to be reheated and delivered again. Once the heat is delivered to the living area of the home and the heat begins to rise (away from the floor) colder air replaces it at the floor. So once the cycle of rising warm air starts your floors get the cold air. Now add to this the fact that the crawl space (just inches below your feet) has no heat source and is much colder than the living area. We must now recognize two other characteristic of cold to fully understand the impact; cold absorbs heat and the lack of heat is cold (not the other way around). This is a major disadvantage to heating a home and the only reason the furnace has to continually work to warm the home during the winter months. Floors over a basement do not have these cold floor problems and that is because the basement is heated. The insulation in the crawl space ceiling does little to protect the floors from the heat absorbing cold. However if you took the insulation out and left the crawl space as is, your floors would be even colder. There is a fix to all of these problems and it is probably less expensive than you may think.