Dry rot and other conditions detrimental to buildings (particularly wood and timber structures) can develop in enclosed spaces. Providing adequate ventilation is thought to reduce the occurrence of these problems. Crawl space vents are openings in the wall which allow air movement. Such vents are usually fitted with metal grating, mesh, or louvers which can block the movement of rodents and vermin but generally not insects such as termites and carpenter ants. One common rule is to provide vents in cross sectional area equal to 1/150 of the floor area served.
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With humid summers, the air vented into a crawl space will be humid, and as it enters the crawl space, which has been cooled naturally by the earth, the relative humidity of the air will rise. In those cases, crawl space vents can even increase the humidity level of a crawl space and lead to condensation on cool surfaces within, such as metal and wood. In the winter, crawl space vents should be shut off entirely, to keep out the cold winter air which can cool hot water pipes, furnaces, and water heaters stored within. During rainy weather, crawl space vents bring wet air into the crawl space, which will not dry the space effectively.