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Crawlspaces are often overlooked areas of a home. You rarely if ever go into them and because they aren’t finished spaces, in homeowners’ minds they serve little use. But the reality is they are home to many important functions of your property and if they get wet, big problems can occur.
Why does water get into my crawlspace when it rains?
Most likely, your problem is that the rain water is ending up in pools right next to the foundation of your house. At first, much of the water will soak into the ground, but eventually the ground will become fully saturated and the water will pool above ground. All of that water has to go somewhere. A very small amount will evaporate into the air. The rest will seep through your foundation walls or any cracks you have in your foundation and will end up flooding your crawlspace.
How can I prevent a flooded crawlspace?
In much the same ways you prevent basement flooding. Both areas are similar from a mitigation stand point so it stands to reason the same things you do to keep water out of a basement are the same things you do with a crawlspace. Let’s go over some of the steps you should consider taking:
Keep water away from your home’s foundation
Allow rain water to flow away from your house by making sure your gutters work, you have downspouts properly installed, and that your lawn slopes away from your foundation. These are the simplest steps you can take, but they are also the most important. Almost all crawlspace flooding problems begin and end with groundwater pooling next to your foundation and eventually ending up in the crawlspace itself. Next time it rains, watch your gutters and downspouts to see how they do at moving water away from your house. If they are working properly, but you still see water pooling next to your foundation, that indicates you have an issue with the slope of your lawn. Namely, it’s sloping towards your home as opposed to away from your home. Fix these issues, and you will have addressed most of your problems already!
If you’ve done all of the above but still notice water ends up next to your home, you may need to take a bit more drastic measure: install a french drainage system. This system is quite simple but can make a world of difference!
Install a vapor barrier
Vapor barriers can address all sorts of moisture issues your crawlspace may be experiencing. While it can’t stop a flooded crawlspace due to the problems we addressed above, in combination with other mitigation steps it can play a useful role and it’s something you can do successfully with a little homework and some elbow grease. If you don’t feel like it’s something you can tackle effectively, you may consider reaching out to a waterproofing company to handle the task professionally.
Install a crawlspace sump pump
Sump pumps are common devices used to prevent basement floods, and they work equally well in crawlspaces. If you are unfamiliar with sump pumps, they work by capturing ground water that is at risk of ending up in your crawlspace, and they pump the water out of the area and safely away from the house. These systems aren’t cheap, and so it’s important to make sure when they are called to action that they are working. That means making sure that you supply an alternate power source (we recommend a generator) and that you occasionally test it to make sure it kicks on and does its job!
What should you do if you have water in your crawlspace now?
As with any moisture problem in your home, we always recommend you immediately contact a water damage restoration company to assess the situation. You can’t ever take water damage lightly, and especially in a place like your crawlspace, a water problem can quickly become a mold problem if not handled properly!