If you notice standing water in your yard or under your house, you should be concerned. Standing water under the house in the crawl space or basement can lead to major problems in the structure of the home as well as health hazards for your family if there is mold. When there is significant water coming into your yard from a higher elevation, you can even experience flooding inside your house.
Don’t panic. There are certain preventive steps you can take to alleviate problems with standing water and flooding. At Crawl Space and Basement Technologies of NC, we are experienced at remedying a water problem under or inside your house that can wreak havoc. In this article, we shed some light on the problems caused by a wet crawl space and what you can do to prevent flooding under your house or inside your house.
Water in the Crawl Space
Groundwater leaks and pooling water add humidity to your crawl space which can cause mold, dust mites, termites, and other pests. Standing water can cause rot and structural damage (like hardwood flooring “cupping”) to the house. There are three primary causes of water in the crawl space:
- Groundwater can cause the soil around the foundation to become saturated after periods of heavy precipitation. Water from the surrounding soil pushes against the walls of the foundation and eventually comes inside.
- Surface water that gets into the crawl space is usually from roof drainage, overflowing gutters, grading issues, or leaks in the basement windows.
- Plumbing problems like a leak or a burst pipe can cause water in the crawl space. You won’t be protected even if you have a moisture barrier because the water will sit on top of the liner until it evaporates.
Some of the reasons for these are:
- Heavy or prolonged rains
- Melting snow
- Wet property
- Clay soil
- Outside ground isn’t graded away
- Gutter downspouts flow water directly on the foundation
- A patio slopes toward the house
- Plumbing leaks
There are places in our geographic area that have the potential to flood when there is prolonged, heavy precipitation. If your home is low-lying, your risk of flooding is greater than if it were on higher ground. But, flooding can also be caused by things like a broken water main, leaky pipes, and appliance malfunctions. Property damage due to flooding can be costly and devastating.
Preventing problems with water in the crawl space and flooding doesn’t have to involve expensive home renovations to simple maintenance. However, it really depends on the risk your home faces and how well its construction can withstand floods. But, to start, here are a few things you can do to prevent water under and in your home:
1. Install a drainage system
Ensuring that your property has a well-functioning drainage system is critical to protecting you from flooding. Maintain the drainage systems by clearing the drains and make sure there are no blockages.
2. Repair leaks
Check the pipes regularly and look for problems like buckling, visible drops of water, or rust. Once a leak is spotted, repair them quickly.
3. Evaluate the runoff
When your property experiences a large amount of rainfall or melting snow, evaluate the runoff so you can see how floodwaters can enter your home. The soil around the house should be sloped away from the foundation in order for the water to drain away. If this isn’t the case at your house, you may need to get the grading corrected.
4. Add a sump pump system
A sump pump will pump the water out and away from the house. You will need a sump pump with a sturdy sump liner, an airtight lid, and a reliable pump. Have a battery backup for the sump pump so that it can run even when the power goes out. And, have it serviced twice a year.
5. Install foundation vents (this could lead to other issues however)
Foundation vents are an alternative solution to a sump pump. The vents provide a way for the water to flow through your house instead of collect around it. This results in the floodwater having an outlet so there is less pressure on your walls and basement windows. But, this leaves your home susceptible to other moisture issues. A comprehensive water prevention plan should include waterproofing.
6. Check and clean gutters
If your gutters are clogged, you can get overflow that makes its way under your house, so you definitely want to keep your gutters clean. Also, clean the downspouts that attach to the roof. These can become clogged quickly with heavy rain. Installing leaf guards helps in preventing debris from building up. If the water flow from your gutters is directed onto the foundation, you may need to install a pipe (gutter extension) that carries water from the downspout away from the foundation.
7. Check for plumbing leaks
It’s easier to see a leak when you have a liner in the crawl space than it is when the floor is dirt. A leak of water on dirt can seep into the ground without you seeing the evidence. If you suspect a plumbing leak, call a reputable crawl space technician.
8. Seal the crawl space
You can encapsulate the crawl space to seal off outside air leaks and prevent groundwater seepage. This is ultimately your best solution to prevent a variety of common water intrusion issues. Our technicians can explain how your home suffers from condensation and static pressure that allows moisture buildup.
Call the Crawl Space Encapsulation and Waterproofing Specialists!