Crawl Space Water

Crawl space water is a devastating problem for many people to experience. What can you do to fix the problem more easily?

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flooded crawl space with bucket and wires

Crawl Space Repair Signs: Fixing Crawl Space Water More Easily

If there’s one thing you don’t want in your crawl space, it’s water. Even homeowners without a lot of experience know that water in the crawl space simply isn’t great. Standing water is one of the few things almost everyone knows is a serious problem, even if they don’t quite know why. However, it’s common for homeowners not to know what to do if they discover standing water in their crawl space, and some people might not know how to find crawl space water at all. Here’s what you can do to maximize your crawl space water fixes.

Finding Crawl Space Water Early

You want to make sure you’ve found the water as early as possible. Here are a few pointers you can take if you want to make sure you know about it early on.

  • Secondary Warning Signs

The first thing to think about is the so-called “secondary warning signs” you might also see if you have crawl space water. The idea is that these are mostly warning signs you’ll notice even if you don’t go into your crawl space very often. That includes the following: 

  • High indoor humidity
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Condensation

Of course, there are many other warning signs you might have in your home that could indicate crawl space water. It’s up to you to take a good look at these secondary warning signs, then keep them in mind as you go about your day-to-day life. Who knows? You could end up noticing water before you’re having serious problems because of it. 

  • An Expert Inspection

An expert inspection is typically the best way to uncover just about any crawl space problems. In fact, you’re supposed to get an expert inspection every year to make sure your home’s crawl space and foundation are both okay. However, the sad truth is that many people don’t opt for these yearly expert inspections in their homes.

For the most part, people assume the inspection will come back clean and they won’t have anything to worry about. Of course, this is a dangerous assumption to make. Although many crawl spaces and foundations don’t have any concerns, you shouldn’t assume yours won’t. The only way to be completely sure is to have an expert come in and check.

  • Inspection on Your Own 

Although you can’t always find small problems in crawl spaces when you do your own inspections, you can find very large problems, and crawl space water can be one of them. Especially when the problem is extremely bad, you may have a layer of water in your crawl space you can discover just by opening the door.

It’s also important to do your own inspections because you live in the home itself. If something changes from day to day, you’re more likely to notice than a crawl space inspector. From there, you can contact an inspector, who will be able to do that inspection and let you know more about the underlying problem, including how you can fix it.

Is Crawl Space Water Really a Big Deal?

Although you certainly know crawl space water is a problem, it’s possible you don’t really know why. Here’s what you need to know about the impacts of crawl space water.

  • In the Crawl Space 

The crawl space itself suffers extensively from crawl space water. Especially if the water has gotten bad enough that the crawl space has a layer of water across the entire thing, it’s important to know that the crawl space itself will have problems. This is a serious concern specifically because of how important your crawl space is.

These problems can include waterlogging the floor joists, which can cause issues like bouncy floors and sagging floors. You can also invite mold and moisture into the crawl space, which can do much of the same thing. If your crawl space is experiencing serious water issues, you can rest assured you’re also going to end up with other serious issues.

  • In the Rest of the Home 

The home in general will also have serious problems when you have crawl space problems. Part of this is because as much as 50% of your home’s air comes from your crawl space. That means of the air you’re breathing when you walk around your home, a full 50% could be either healthy or unhealthy depending on the crawl space’s healthiness.

It’s also important to recognize that moisture will come up through the crawl space and into the rest of your home. If the crawl space standing water is evaporating, it’s not staying in the crawl space. Instead, it’s going to move up into the rest of your home. That can mean serious problems with high indoor moisture throughout the home as a whole.

  • Across the Property 

Although this might surprise you, crawl space water problems may not stop at the crawl space or the home in general. Crawl space water problems tend to have ripple effects across your property as a whole. Part of the reason for this may be the fact that crawl space water problems often come from hydrostatic pressure, which will be more or less a constant throughout the property.

If a specific property has higher than normal hydrostatic pressure, there’s probably a problem you need to address. This hydrostatic pressure usually won’t just go away, and it’s extremely important that you maintain your home’s crawl space health so you can understand what problems you may experience throughout the property.

FAQs About Crawl Space Water

Any time you have crawl space water, you need to address it. There’s definitely no such thing as crawl space water that’s “no big deal.” However, it’s important to know exactly what you’re thinking about when you think about “crawl space water.”

  • Very Obvious Crawl Space Water

Most people think of standing water in the crawl space as only happening when there are multiple inches of water in the crawl space. This is the most obvious type of crawl space water, and it’s certainly an important type to address. The important thing to remember is that it’s not the only type to address.

  • Scattered Areas of Water 

Clearly, standing water doesn’t have to be part of the entirety of the crawl space. You can have standing water in your crawl space even if there are only scattered areas of water that are barely an inch deep. These can be just as damaging as water that stretches across the entirety of the crawl space.

  • Condensation as Crawl Space Water

Condensation is another potential indication of crawl space water. When water coalesces into condensation, it can cause the same problems as other types of standing water. It’s important that you treat this type of standing water with as much importance as you would treat other types of standing water that may be deeper or more extensive.

There are many places where your crawl space water could have come from. That’s one reason it’s so important to keep an eye on your crawl space. Even if you think you’ve removed all options for crawl space water to invade, there are plenty of ways for it to appear.

  • Plumbing Leak

You could have crawl space water because of a plumbing leak in your crawl space, which would mean you need a plumber to fix the leak. This tends to be one of the more common reasons for crawl space water in encapsulated crawl spaces, though it can happen in any crawl space.

  •  Flooding

Internal stressors aren’t the only thing that can cause crawl space water. You can also have crawl space water due to a flood that happened recently in the area, which may just need a crawl space expert to help you pump out the water. However, it’s also important to install defenses against this type of crawl space flooding.

  • Hydrostatic Pressure 

It’s also possible to have crawl space water if the hydrostatic pressure in the area is too much for your crawl space foundation to handle. Hydrostatic pressure is an extremely strong force. It can force water up through the floor of the crawl space or through the crawl space walls, especially if you have cracks in the walls already.

Even an encapsulated crawl space can have issues with crawl space water, although these problems typically come from different sources than crawl space water problems in unencapsulated crawl spaces. Encapsulated crawl spaces, however, can still experience crawl space water problems.

  • Encapsulated Problems Versus Unencapsulated Issues 

Crawl space water in an encapsulated crawl space almost always happens because water is leaking in from an internal source. For example, you might have these problems due to a plumbing leak or a leak in the rest of the home. Unencapsulated crawl spaces can see water problems from a variety of other areas, especially the ground.

  • Paying Attention to Encapsulated Problems

Of course, you shouldn’t assume that an encapsulated crawl space completely removes potential issues with crawl space water. Encapsulated crawl spaces have their own crawl space water problems. If you ignore the encapsulated crawl space, you risk the possibility of undoing your important work encapsulating the crawl space in the first place.

When you have a dehumidifier in your crawl space, you’re getting rid of extra moisture in the air. It makes sense, then, that you might wonder whether it could help you prevent crawl space water. The problem is that this is a misguided understanding of what a dehumidifier does.

  • Removing Crawl Space Water Right Now

If you already have crawl space water, a dehumidifier usually won’t do much to fix the problem. The crawl space water is already there; you’d have to wait for the water to evaporate entirely for the dehumidifier to fix the problem, which would likely take days or weeks.

  • Preventing Crawl Space Water In the Future 

However, if you’re looking to prevent crawl space water in the future, a dehumidifier may be able to help because it can help avoid condensation, which can drip onto your crawl space vapor barrier and create crawl space water. A dehumidifier is an important tool, just probably not the one you’re looking for in this situation.

Fix Your Crawl Space Water for Good When You Get an Expert’s Help

Crawl space water is an extremely frustrating problem to experience, but it’s not something insurmountable. Instead, it’s important you know about, then work to solve. As long as you’re able to identify that you have water in your crawl space, you’ll be able to consult an expert, who can give you tips on fixing the problem.

The sooner you look into what’s causing your crawl space water, the sooner you’ll be able to fix it. Plus, when an expert from your local area comes to help you fix the problem, you’ll be more likely to get out of the issue with only a few concerns, rather than with serious issues that could take thousands of dollars to fix for good.

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