A common thing we hear at ServiceMaster Restore is, “I have water in my crawl space . . . Now what?” A crawl space shouldn't take on water or remain damp. This issue needs to be addressed quickly, because a wet crawl space can lead to musty odors, rot and mold. Luckily, there are steps you can take if your crawl space takes on water.
Causes of Water in Crawl Space
Water in crawl space can come from a range of sources. These include but aren’t limited to ground water, heavy rainfall and plumbing leaks. Ground water or rainwater that seeps into the crawl space may come in through cracks or leaks in the foundation of your house, drainage tile issues or when gutter or downspout systems have failed or been improperly installed.
The first step in solving crawl space water issues is to identify the source of the water. Then you can block or correct the cause.
Water in Crawl Space Solutions
If there is standing water in the crawl space, it first needs to be removed. This can be done, depending on the amount of water, with a wet vacuum or sump pump. Running a dehumidifier will reduce the humidity levels and help prevent the mold growth.
To prevent water from pooling in the crawl space in the future, you can engineer a system that includes a perimeter trench, perforated pipe, gravel and a sump pump. Depending on its size and how easily you can access your crawl space, you may choose to attempt this project on your own. You may also choose to consult a professional for an easier, optimal solution.
The experts at ServiceMaster Restore recommend following the guidelines below if you choose to assess and correct a crawl space water problem on your own:
- Remove any existing plastic vapor barrier
- Dig a trench around the interior of the crawl space, along the foundation wall
- Lay perforated pipe in the trench, typically a 3-inch pipe
- Use gravel to cover the pipe and aid in the drainage
- Install a GFCI outlet to power a sump pump
- Install the sump pump
- Install a new vapor barrier to prevent vapor transfer into the crawl space
Safety Tip: If you do choose to do the work yourself, be sure to exercise all safety protocols. Always wear protective clothing (long sleeves, pants and sturdy shoes or boots), gloves and safety glasses. Remember that water and electricity don't mix, and the combination can be deadly. If you don't have any electrical experience, call a professional to install the outlet and sump pump.