Is your crawl space flooded? If the answer is yes, it not only compromises your safety but also puts you at risk of contracting serious diseases. A flooded crawl space also encourages mold and mildew growth. If you’ve noticed water in your crawl space, you should establish ways on how to dry out your flooded crawl space fast.
Is Having a Flooded Crawl Space a Normal Occurrence When it Rains?
No, it’s not. if you’ve just bought a home in a place that’s susceptible to heavy rains, then you can be sure that your crawl space will be flooded often. However, the occurrence isn’t normal because the crawl space is specially designed to remain dry regardless of the weather. If your crawl space is wet, then that can indicate an underlying problem that you should sort out with immediate effect.
If your crawl space is wet, it can cause various problems such as wood rot which of course can destroy the structural elements of your home and hazardous mold growth which can spread through the home making it dangerous to live in. Vermin and insects will also thrive in such a dark and wet space.
While you may have little control over long rains, which cause flooding in your crawl space, you can adopt various steps to ensure that your crawl space remains dry.
How to Find the Source of Water Problems in Your Crawl Space
If your crawl space is flooded, sometimes it could be due to other causes apart from rainwater. Perhaps there are deep and stagnant pools near your home that you don’t know of, or some of your pipes are faulty and leaking excessively. One thing that you should do in the event of flooding in your crawl space is to establish the source of the water.
Of course, you can try to do it yourself but if you plan to conduct a comprehensive inspection, you’ll need the services of a professional as they’re qualified enough to check all corners of your home.
Still, you can choose to inspect your crawl space before your professionals arrive. In such a case, you’ll need to have a plastic sheeting, flashlight, and protective gear.
How to Inspect It
If you’ve got someone who can assist you, then the inspection process will be much easier. What you need to do first is to find the access opening leading to the crawl space. In some houses, it’s located outside the trap door right at the outer wall along with your crawl space. In other houses, the access opening could be located on the floor near the utility or closet area.
By now you should be fully dressed in protective clothing. Don’t forget your plastic sheeting because it’ll come in handy to protect your clothing when you begin the crawling process. Now with your flashlight in hand, you’re good to go. Penetrate through your crawl space and conduct a thorough inspection on along the structural parts of the area above you and the ground.
Search for signs of stagnant water on the ground or even signs of staining which may be as a result of wood rot on the structural posts, mold, or even mildew. Should you find any stagnant water, conduct further inspection to establish whether the water is emanating from the ground or flowing in from above.
Many times, you’ll find that the cause of above grade leaks it indicates that one of your plumbing systems could be faulty. If this is the case, then what you need to do is disconnect your water supply and drain all the pipes running in the area beneath your house.
Below Grade Water Challenges
If you find out that yours is a below-grade problem, then you need to know that these may escalate during certain seasons such as the rainy season. If during your inspection you notice signs that stagnant water ensues in various seasons, you can be sure that what you’re dealing with is a below grade water problem from a soaring water table or from rain.
If you didn’t know, some parts of the US have a high water table which can escalate during the rainy season causing water to stagnate especially in the low areas of your crawl space. If according to your assessment the stagnant water is not caused by weather or even seasons, then you can as well conclude that yours is an above grade water problem.
How Can You Prevent a Flooded Crawl Space?
You can adopt various strategies to prevent flooding in your crawl space. These include:
If you live in an area that experiences lots of rain, and you suspect that it’s responsible for the flooding in your crawl space, find out how to direct the water away from your home. You can easily achieve this by inspecting your gutters and ensuring that they’re in good working condition, check your downspouts to ensure they’re appropriately installed, and finally make sure that your lawn slants away from your foundation.
If you think that the aforementioned steps are simple, then you should also understand that they’re quite critical. Studies suggest that a big percentage of crawl space flooding emanates from stagnant water near your foundations which ends up in your crawl space. Just to be sure that your downspouts and gutters are working appropriately, you should monitor them the next time it rains to ensure that they’re functioning appropriately.
If they’re working well but water is still pooling along your foundation, then your lawn could be slanting towards your home rather than away from it. If you can find a perfect solution to this problem, then you’ll have solved a big percentage of all your water in crawl space problems.
Now, assuming you’ve followed the above tips but still can’t find to get your crawl space to dry, you may want to take more radical measures as seen below.
Install a Vapor Barrier
If you can, then install vapor barriers in your home. Vapor barriers can play a huge role in averting crawl space flooding and can also take care of all moisture challenges you may be having in your crawl space. One thing you can be assured that they won’t do is to stop an already flooded crawl space.
You can use vapor barriers together with other prevention measures to ensure that your crawl space remains dry. The best thing is that you can install vapor barriers without professional assistance. But if you doubt your skills, you can as well call in professionals to do the job for you.
Install a Crawl Space Sump Pump
If you’ve never heard of sump pumps, they’re popular gadgets used to avert flooding in the basement area. The advantage of sump pumps is that they can work effectively in the crawl space. They function by tapping groundwater that’s likely to penetrate through to your crawl space and then pump it out of your surrounding and far from the house. The only setback with sump pumps is that they’re costly.
Is there flooding in your crawl space that you are sure you can’t handle? Call in a professional and they’ll recommend the best solution that satisfies the problem at hand.