Facing a Damp, Wet or Flooded Crawl Space
Do you have a wet crawl space? Whether you just have general crawl space moisture or you’re actually dealing with standing water under the house, it’s a good idea to find the best way to dry out a crawl space.
In fact, there isn’t just one thing to do when you’re drying out a crawl space. It’s more of a process. Avoiding moisture in a crawl space under your house requires that you put constant effort into it.
The Four Crucial Steps
Anyone who wants to know how to dry a crawl space should follow these four steps. With these steps, you can handle crawl space water removal in the most efficient and effective way possible. If you’re having trouble, don’t be afraid to call JES for an expert’s touch.
1. Stop Water From Entering the Crawl Space
If you’re trying to discover how to dry out a crawl space after a leak, you’re going to need to take a few steps before you start drying things out. You can’t determine how to dry out a crawl space after a flood until it’s no longer flowing in.
First things first: stop the water in the crawl space from proliferating. Here are the most important things to do.
- Inspect the Crawl Space Foundation for Cracks
The soil outside your foundation has plenty of moisture. In fact, that’s usually where moisture is coming from, whether it’s standing water or general mugginess. If your foundation has cracks, those cracks are almost certainly letting moisture in from the outside.
It’s important to inspect your crawl space foundation in general on a regular basis whether or not you’re starting to notice moisture in your crawl space. After all, cracks in your foundation showcase a general issue that may lead to serious foundation problems in the future.
It’s best to consult a JES expert when you’re trying to inspect the crawl space foundation. You want to discover all the cracks in your foundation, even extremely small ones that are very difficult to see, so you can tackle them.
- Repair Leaks and Other Plumbing Issues
Aside from leaks coming from the soil, plumbing leaks are another big problem you may run into. This can take the form of leaks directly gushing water into the crawl space or leaks in the upper part of your home dripping into the crawl space.
Either way, this can lead to moisture under the house crawl space, which means you need to dry out the crawl space. Repairing these leaks is the first step to making sure the plumbing doesn’t keep leaking water in.
If you’re not sure what’s creating your wet crawl space, a JES expert can let you know if it’s a leak or plumbing problem. It’s a good way to either confirm your suspicions or rule them out.
- Insulate Cold Water Pipes
When pipes carry cold water through your house, they tend to create moisture under your house. The cooling effect can lead to droplets of water on the outside of exposed pipes.
How do you remove moisture from your crawl space caused by cold water pipes? It’s simple: you just have to insulate them. The insulation will ensure that any condensation occurring will not impact the air around it.
It can be difficult to insulate cold water pipes under your house. A JES expert will be able to not only identify the cold water pipes causing the issues but also help you determine how to deal with it.
2. Dry Out the Crawl Space
The second step is to make sure the crawl space becomes dry. After all, you can’t find out how to keep your crawl space dry until you know how to get water out of your crawl space in the first place. Drying the area under your house is essential.
A wet crawl space needs immediate attention. Here’s how to get rid of water in your crawl space.
- Remove Standing Water
There’s a difference between general moisture in your crawl space and having actual standing water in your crawl space. If you have standing water in your crawl space, it’s likely that you’ll have more foundation issues.
Before you can dry out the crawl space using other methods, it’s important that you deal with the standing water first. That’ll make it easier to dry under the house.
Especially if you have a substantial amount of crawl space standing water, it’s a good idea to call a JES expert. Not only can this expert size up the problems you’re having, but an expert can also build a plan to deal with those problems.
- Check Drainage and Gutters
To make sure your crawl space stays dry, it’s important that the drainage and gutters around your home and in your crawl space work properly. One way many people have learned how to prevent moisture in a crawl space is by avoiding moisture collecting around the home.
That means you may actually need to fix issues happening above your crawl space before you can fix the crawl space issues themselves. If you don’t fix these problems, you’ll just end up with more moisture in your crawl space.
If you don’t have a great understanding of how your home’s drainage system works, no problem. Just get in contact with a JES expert for more help.
3. Clean Up the Crawl Space
Once you’ve removed all the water from the crawl space, you’re left with a damp crawl space that may have torn barriers, mold, insects and more. That means the next step is to clean up the crawl space issues.
- Close Up Crawl Space Vents
It used to be common practice to vent crawl spaces. Many people believed that by letting the crawl space breathe, the crawl space itself would be healthier and actually collect less water.
However, nowadays, it’s obvious that these crawl space vents actually allow for more crawl space moisture. By introducing warm air to the crawl space, it allows for humidity to condense, and these vents can also allow flooding or rainwater into your crawl space.
That’s why many people now are choosing to seal up these vents. If you have crawl space vents, you’re going to need to contact a JES expert to seal the vents properly.
These are the most important things to do for this step. However, depending on your specific crawl space experience, a JES expert may recommend other types of cleaning.
- Replace Wet Insulation and Remove Debris
This is the most general type of crawl space cleaning. Especially if you’ve had standing water in your crawl space for any significant amount of time, you’re probably going to have a significant amount of debris in there.
For this type of general cleaning, you can probably handle any debris you’re going to find. As a whole, it’s just a bit annoying to handle.
Replacing wet insulation can be a little more tricky; making sure you install the insulation properly isn’t necessarily easy. That’s something you may want to leave to a JES expert, who will make sure the new insulation performs properly.
- Clean Up Rodent and Insect Droppings
This can definitely be gross, and it also carries a slightly higher level of danger. If you had crawl space mildew or other similar problems, you may have ended up with mites or other insects, who eat the mildew, and rodents, who eat the insects.
If that’s the case, you may need to clean out after getting rid of those pests. The pest removal process can be frustrating and can carry a level of danger, so it’s important that you do it properly.
These droppings can carry disease, which means you need to be very careful when you clean them up. You may want to leave this job to an expert if you’re not well-versed in pest removal. That way, you don’t have to deal with any potential for disease and other problems.
- Remove Mold and Asbestos
This is where it’s truly important to consult a professional. If you’ve discovered mold and asbestos in the area, you could get sick even from getting too close to it. Breathing it in and touching it is even more dangerous.
If you know you have mold or asbestos in the area, or you’re having health concerns that indicate you could potentially be dealing with either of these things, don’t try to tackle it yourself. Even the best DIY solutions will have potentially dangerous results.
In these cases, your best option is to just contact a JES professional. That way, you know you’ll end up with all the mold removed and all the asbestos handled for good.
4. Keep Moisture Out of the Crawl Space
This is the final step. Once you’ve removed water from the crawl space, it’s time to make sure it stays that way. It’s not enough to just remove the current moisture. You need to make sure future moisture doesn’t get into your crawl space either.
What’s the best option, then? If you want to avoid crawl space moisture for good, here are a few things you should do.
- Lay Down a Thick Vapor Barrier
A thick vapor barrier is one of the few things that can dehumidify a crawl space with a dirt floor. In this instance, you want to make sure the floor doesn’t leech moisture into the air, which can cause wet crawl space problems.
It’s important to note that a vapor barrier does have to be thick because thin crawl space vapor barriers can easily tear. Plus, they may have permeability too high to really matter in the long run.
When you get help from a JES expert, the expert will install a CrawlSeal vapor barrier, which is 20 mils thick and ensures thorough coverage. That way, you don’t have to worry about any future issues regarding the vapor barrier.
- Install a Crawl Space Dehumidifier
It’s important to dehumidify your crawl space after removing all the water. If your crawl space humidity is too high, it can end up condensing on the inside of your crawl space, which can lead to the same problems all over again.
Although some crawl spaces don’t need dehumidifiers, some of them do. If your crawl space seems to tend toward very high humidity, you may want to consider installing a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels to a healthy amount.
When you get help from a JES expert, you’ll get plenty of options. This expert can let you know whether or not you need a dehumidifier, according to the potential problems you may experience. A professional will also give you information on the best energy-efficient dehumidifier for your needs.
- Ensure Complete Encapsulation
If you have a dirt floor crawl space, you’re going to want to ensure encapsulation of your crawl space. Even if the top of the dirt looks dry, you only have to dig a few inches down to get to moist soil.
In these instances, it’s important that you pursue complete encapsulation of the space. This is the only way you’re going to be able to avoid wet crawl space problems in the future.
Encapsulation is something that can really only be achieved by experts. You should contact a JES professional to make sure the job is finished properly.
Damp Crawl Spaces FAQs
Seeing water in your crawl space is a scary and confusing experience. Does a damp crawl space really have an impact on your home as a whole?
The cost of fixing a wet crawl space varies wildly between crawl spaces. Every crawl space is different, and a problem that looks absolutely the same on the surface can actually be very distinctly different. The only way to get an accurate cost estimate is to schedule an inspection from a JES crawl space repair expert for your individual crawl space.
There are many ways you can fix a crawl space that has a lot of water in it. You need to remove the existing water, first of all, which might mean utilizing a sump pump or another type of pump. Then it’s important to pursue waterproofing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Water in your crawl space may be a normal occurrence for you, but you shouldn’t just let it happen. If you do happen to be in a position where water in your crawl space is a regular occurrence, it’s important that you pursue waterproofing and mitigation solutions like a sump pump.
Getting moisture out of a crawl space is a multi-step process that can be very difficult for homeowners. Especially if you have standing water in your crawl space, it might be a good idea to just schedule an inspection by a JES crawl space repair expert.
Even if you’re not buying or selling your home, you should still pay attention to moisture in your crawl space. High crawl space moisture can lead to high electric bills, mold or mildew, and even wood rot developing in your home. It’s crucial that you handle the problem as soon as it starts.
Sellers with damp crawl spaces may want to fix the problem on their dime before putting a house up on the market. Unfortunately, because damp crawl spaces can be such a huge problem, it’s common for people to refuse to purchase a house with a damp crawl space, leaving you with your home on the market for months.
If an inspector lets you know that a prospective home has a damp crawl space, it’s important that you take into account the cost of repairing the home and drying out the crawl space before you buy it. At the very least, the seller should work with you to develop a solution.
For the most part, a fan will not actually dry out your crawl space. Certain types of fans may be able to help in specific situations, but a fan that brings outside air into your crawl space will actually raise the humidity of your crawl space and may make your problems worse.
Ventilation fans work in the idea that your crawl space needs to “breathe” and you should introduce outside air into your crawl space. In fact, this can make your crawl space moisture problems even worse than they already are. For the most part, it’s important to pursue crawl space encapsulation instead of relying on crawl space ventilation.
Leave Your Crawl Space to the JES Experts
When you’re trying to make sure you have a healthy crawl space, it’s important that you fix problems as soon as possible. You also want to make sure the problems are fixed for good.
If you’re trying to find out who to call for water in your crawl space, look no further than JES. You can request a free inspection, so you know what’s going on with your crawl space. Then a JES expert will walk you through the current problems and help you understand what you can do next.
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