The Correct Way to Deal with Water Accumulating In the Crawl Space Under Your House

Water in the crawl space. Just thinking about it is something you’d probably prefer to avoid, if possible. However, that creepy, claustrophobic zone underneath your house may in fact conceal water accumulation from a variety of sources. Ignoring water in the crawl space won’t make it go away. Moreover, the consequences of hidden water down there can mean costly damage and even show up in a home dweller’s health issues.  

A properly maintained crawl space should ideally remain dry and dusty in normal conditions. When water intrusion is recurrent, however, the negative consequences associated with ongoing wetness in the crawl space include:

  • Rotting wood structural components such as floor joists and plywood subflooring.
  • Toxic mold growth contaminating living spaces above.
  • Elevated indoor humidity as water vapor migrates upwards into the house.
  • Disintegrating insulation and deteriorated electrical wiring.
  • Water intrusion into HVAC ductwork routed through the space.  
  • A friendly habitat for rats, snakes, insects and other vermin attracted to moisture.

Where’s The Water Coming From And How Do I Stop It?

Here’s how water in the crawl space can originate from interior or exterior sources and what’s required to resolve the issue: 

  • Leaking water supply lines. Leaks, dripping or seepage from plumbing pipes can gradually turn a crawl space into a swamp. An inspection by a qualified plumber is usually necessary to pinpoint and repair leakage.
  • Ground water rising. Whether continuously or seasonally, rising groundwater may affect the crawl space. Installation of a vapor barrier over the dirt floor can keep dampness in chronically moist soil from affecting the house. However, to effectively control actual water accumulation, the installation of a sump pump is usually required.
  • Improper landscape grading. Landscaping around the house perimeter should be graded to divert water away from the crawl space and out into the yard during rain.  
  • Clogged gutters. Water overflowing from blocked gutters may penetrate the crawl space below during heavy rain. Inspect gutters regularly for blockages. Also ensure that gutter downspouts extend far enough to discharge water at least three from the house to keep it out of the crawl space.

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