Battling Standing Water in Crawl Space: What You Need to Know
If you’re reading this article, chances are you checked your crawl space and found it full of standing water. You have a serious problem on your hands that, unfortunately, won’t go away on its own. Luckily, there are solutions for this problem, and we’re going to share them with you.
Standing water in your crawl space? We’ve got you covered! Read on to find out how to get rid of it and prevent it from happening ever again.
Why Is There Water In My Crawl Space?
First, let’s try to answer a question you’re going to ask yourself if it happens to you. There are several reasons why there might be water in the crawl space. It could have rained last night or you could be dealing with a busted water pipe. Some of the most common reasons include but may not be limited to the following:
- Poor drainage: If the land around your home slopes toward the foundation, rainwater will collect in the crawl space. Additionally, if gutters or downspouts are clogged or incorrectly installed, they may overflow with rainwater, eventually causing crawl space flooding.
- Plumbing issues: Leaking pipes or a burst water heater can also lead to water collecting in the crawl space. If you suspect a plumbing issue, it’s best to call a licensed plumber to inspect and fix the problem.
- High humidity: If your crawl space is not adequately ventilated, the humidity level will increase, leading to moisture buildup and potential water damage. Installing vents or a dehumidifier can help control the humidity levels. However, you would also want to get the surrounding soil inspected for moisture.
- Structural issues: If your home’s foundation is damaged, water can seep through the gaps and into the crawl space. In this case, it’s essential to have a professional assess and repair the foundation. In most cases, addressing this problem will cost a pretty penny.
- Flooding: Excessive or heavy rain and flooding can cause water to enter the crawl space. However, this may be common, depending on where you live. Regardless, steps should be taken to ensure that you are dealing with far less surface water on the property.
Sure, waking up to a crawl space filled with water can be scary, but it’s essential to address the issue promptly. Prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to mold growth, wood rot, and other structural damage. Better take care of it now than spend a lot of time and money on costly repairs later.
What Are the Dangers of Having Water In Crawl Spaces?
Much of the danger associated with the water in your crawl space will depend on where it (water) comes from. It can range from being downright annoying to possible structural damage. Generally speaking, if not addressed in time, water in the crawl space will:
- Ruin your home’s insulation, which can lead to higher energy bills. Replacing the insulation isn’t exactly cheap, either.
- If you have metal and wood in the crawlspace (many crawl spaces do), then you will be dealing with rot and rust. If not addressed in time, it can lead to problems with the structure.
- Water in the crawlspace can also introduce various pests like rats and ants to your home. Not only does it make your home unhealthy, but it is often a problem that’s far more challenging to address.
- Crawl space moisture can lead to mold problems over time.
How Can Water Be Removed From A Wet Crawl Space?
Usually, draining water from under your house will require grabbing a few tools. You’ll need a pump, some fans, and a dehumidifier. However, the approach depends on how much water you are dealing with in the first place.
If you have lots of water, then a submersible pump is the quickest way to dry it out. However, if it’s just a bit damp or has a couple of puddles caused by crawl space humidity, the wet/dry shop vac should do the trick.
Once you’ve cleared up the puddles, it’s time to set up some fans in the crawl space. Position them so they can blow air across the damp areas to help dry them out. A dehumidifier will also be effective in removing excess moisture from the air. Be sure to keep the crawl space open for ventilation so the drying process goes faster.
Generally speaking, here are the steps you’d need to follow:
Step #1 – Determine the amount of water in the crawl space
The only way to effectively remove any water from the crawl space is to start by determining how much you are dealing with. This is especially true if the water enters the crawl space after excessive rain, water leaks or if there is also wet soil around your home. When you have water centered in the corner or maybe across the footing, this is normal. That said, in contrast, if you see large puddles driving up humidity levels in the home and a vapor barrier, you have to take a slightly different approach.
Step #2 – Call a professional cleaning company
There are some professionals that specialize in cleaning crawl spaces. If you have determined that there is lots of excess water, calling a professional will save you time and effort. Many also back their services with a satisfaction guarantee.
Step #3 – Remove all excess water from the crawl space
Some techniques can be used to clean up excess water before a prevention system is installed. If you see there are only a few puddles, then a wet vac can suck up the water and empty it outside. That said, most people will find a pump the most helpful water removal tool. To remove water using a pump, the suction end of the hose is put in the floodwater, and the other end of the pump’s hose goes into an area far away from your house. Ideally, you’d want to empty the water it pulls into a drain. This is important because you don’t want the water to return.
Step #4 – Install a sump pump
Every home is unique, so the solution to excess water in crawl spaces can vary. However, the typical professional approach combines a French drain and a sump pump.
A French drain is a trench with a perforated pipe and gravel that helps drain excess water from your yard. It can be installed inside or outside the home, with trenching around the perimeter and throughout the crawl space.
On the other hand, a sump pump system is a basin dug beneath the crawl space floor surface that helps move water out of the home. Installing a sump pump can prevent extensive repairs down the line, as even a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage. In other words, this is an investment to prevent future flooding. The sump pump works by diverting water away from your house when water levels rise during a storm or if you are dealing with groundwater seepage. A sump pump will not solve water problems; they merely remove the water from the crawl space. Therefore, proper sealing and identifying the root cause of the problem are crucial.
Step #5 – Replace the insulation
If needed, consider reinstalling the insulation to ensure your home is energy efficient. Since water damages insulation, water in the crawlspace should technically mean that the insulation should be replaced. This is important as it will help you avoid dealing with mold a few weeks later.
The key to a dry crawl space is to be proactive. You need to take steps in order to prevent water from getting into the crawl space. This may often require taking multiple steps for effective crawl space encapsulation, as suggested by a contractor.
If your home has a crawlspace prone to being filled up with water, especially when it rains, you need to address the problem immediately. Standing water and excessive moisture can cause all types of issues, and thus removing the water should be a priority.
A dry crawlspace will most likely save you money, especially since you don’t have to spend on rot and rust. It will also help you lower energy costs. As such, te first order of business should be to ensure that you have a mechanism in place to keep the crawl space dry.