Your crawl space is full of water - Great! What’s the best way to address the acute and chronic issues? Let’s get to work!
Water under your home can cause several issues. Standing water for long periods of time can cause elevated air moisture levels which can lead to mold and fungi growth on wood surfaces. Besides the indoor air quality concern from these issues, the mold and fungi can actually destroy the wood and cause structural issues with your home.
Temporary water under your home or moving water can cause washout of soils critical to keeping the footings and foundation of your home stable. Neither of these scenarios are great for your home so let’s look at how to handle them if they happen and how to prevent them from happening all together.
Get the Water Out
If there is water standing under your home, get it out. If there’s water standing, odds are you don’t have a sump pump, so you need to rent a pump to remove the water. You can get a pump from most local equipment rental companies for less than $50. Tip - If you are under a severe weather storm or long term rain, save your money and wait till the rain stops.
Clean Up the Mess
Depending on the level the water reached, you may be looking at pulling out existing vapor barrier or even replacing HVAC ductwork and thermal insulation. Don’t go ripping out material that isn’t damaged, simply because it got wet. Most HVAC ductwork can be dried and cleaned and this can save you a bundle. Once the majority of the water is removed, you will need some fans and potentially dehumidifiers to get the air circulating and pull out the remaining moisture. Needless to say, all this is messy work so you may want to consider a local disaster or restoration company to assist you.
Prevent Future Damage
There are dozens of reasons water may have gotten under your home and we can’t talk about all of them here but the top ones to consider for future planning are landscaping and gutters. If your home doesn’t have gutters, get them. If it does, make sure the downspouts are all directing the water at least 10’ away from your home’s foundation. Most gutter contractors don’t provide this and it falls somewhere in the gray between gutter work and landscaping.
Landscaping, drainage swales, driveways, sidewalks and even how pervious your soil is to water can play a huge role in keeping water out from under your home. In general keep water flowing away from the home and identify problem areas that pool water. Just take a look outside your home in a big rainstorm and you will get an idea of the problem areas you need to address.
In closing, water under your home can’t be a good thing and the damage it causes can undermine your home’s long term value. Signs of even past water events can set off a home inspector and a scare a buyer away before you know what happened. If you haven’t looked under your home in awhile, go take a look or hire an inspector to give you a professional assessment. The investment will pay off in the future.