You probably do not spend a lot of time in your crawl space, but on one of the odd occasions when you find yourself in there, you may notice that things have gotten awfully humid and moist. While this may not seem to be a serious problem at the moment, upon closer inspection, you may start to notice some things, like the musty smell of mold and mildew, damaged floor joists, or evidence of dust mites and rats.
You do not want these things to get any worse, so what do you do? Do you call in a professional right away, or can you learn how to keep water out of crawl space yourself?
Your answer is right here! Fortunately, you can learn to how to remove water and how to keep water out of crawl space yourself.
Read on to find out more about how to keep water out of your crawl space.
Preventing or limiting the factors that allow high humidity levels to occur in your crawl space is the best way of managing the moisture level in there. There are many ways you can do this, like by repairing any crawl space damage, installing a crawl space vapor barrier, insulating your crawl space, installing a French drain, sealing cracks, using a dehumidifier, installing a sump pump, and crawl space encapsulation.
Read on to find out more!
How to Prevent Crawl Space Water Damage
Use all these prevention methods together to most effectively prevent your crawl space from water damage.
1. Check for and repair any damage
If you find any holes or cracks, seal them with wood, caulking, or foam insulation.
2. Install a crawl space vapor barrier
Seal your exposed dirt floors by installing a plastic polyurethane barrier. This alone can reduce crawl space humidity levels by around 50%.
3. Add insulation
Use rigid panels of expanded polystyrene foam, as it will not attract mold or pests if it gets wet. The insulation will protect your crawl space from humidity and mold while creating an airtight seal.
4. Put in a dehumidifier
5. Cover vents
This will collect any extra moisture in your crawl space. Try a self-draining model, so you do not have to crawl in there and do it yourself.
If you have a vented crawl space, use airtight covers to prevent air, water, and pests from entering your crawl space vents.
6. Arrange downspouts and gutters
Make sure gutters are free from debris and face all downspouts and gutters away from your house so water cannot flow back to it if it rains.
7. Install a French drain
This helps divert water from your crawl space by preventing it from pooling around your foundation. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is basically a gravel-filled trench with a pipe that redirects the water.
8. Install a sump pump
Make sure there is enough room for the sump pump basin to be installed at the lowest and wettest area of your crawl space. In case of crawl space flooding, the pump will protect it by removing the water before it causes any damage.
9. Crawl space encapsulation
If you are looking to do a complete rehaul of your crawl space, consider crawl space encapsulation. This uses a heavy-duty polyethylene barrier that covers the foundation walls, crawl space floor, and even ceiling. This will seal and waterproof your crawl space and includes some of the methods listed above, including installing humidifiers, a drainpipe, and adding insulation.
How Does Water Get into the Crawl Space?
1. Poor grading surrounding your house
Slopes need to be away from your house to help keep water out of your crawl space. If they are going toward the house, water can collect in the crawl space.
2. Unclean gutters and downspout positions
Unclean gutters can cause water to pool. Your downspouts may also be pointing toward your house foundation, directing the water there.
If you tend to water your garden a lot, or if a hose is left running or a sprinkler breaks, this can also cause water to pool on your property, eventually leaking into your crawl space.
4. Leaky plumbing
If a pipe is cracked or has burst, the water will trickle down and can lead to a wet crawl space.
Will Water In Your Crawl Space Go Away?
No, it will not just go away on its own. But if you employ some of the methods outlined in this article, it will go away eventually.
How to Remove Standing Water and Dry a Crawl Space
One of the best things to do is use a wet/dry vacuum to remove pools of standing water. You can suck it up by sticking it directly in the water. If you have a really flooded crawl space, you may want to use a sump pump instead.
After you have removed the pools of water, you can use a combination of fans and a dehumidifier to ensure your crawl space is completely dry. Also, make sure you have removed anything from the crawl space floor that has become wet.
Where Does Crawl Space Humidity Come from, and How Do You Deal With It?
There are a few possible ways. The main culprits of water in a crawl space tend to be groundwater, rainwater, and a possible plumbing leak. It is also possible that your house uses a passive venting system in its crawl space, which can lead to a high moisture level in your crawl space in warm and moist environments.
If you are specifically worried about the humidity level in your crawl space, consider installing a crawl space vapor barrier and dehumidifier.
Got Questions About Removing Water or the Next Steps for Your Crawl Space?
If you are not comfortable dealing with any of the above methods yourself or if you have any other questions about your particular crawl space, do not hesitate to contact a professional. You do not want to mess around with something that could cause a lot of serious and expensive problems in the future.