How to Keep Your Crawl Space Dry
You don’t want to find signs of water in your crawl space. This area needs to be kept dry for many reasons. The existence of moisture can contribute to humidity, which can lead to mold. The foundation of your home is also down there, and moisture can lead to wood rot in these important support structures.
All of these scenarios can become quite dangerous for anybody inside the home if left unchecked. Air quality can suffer. The stability of the overall structure can be compromised. Repairing issues when they get to this point can be quite costly and time-consuming.
It’s best to avoid these situations altogether. And the best way to do that is to avoid allowing water to enter your crawl space. But how do you know it’s down there? And what can you do to keep it out?
How you can keep water out of your crawl space:
- Inspect After Rain
- Secure Crawl Space Door
- Check for Leaks in Foundation
- Sump Pump
- Watch for Standing Water Around the House
- Check Your Pipes
Inspect After Rain
A heavy rain is one of the most likely sources of water entering your crawl space. Consider it routine crawl space maintenance to inspect your crawl space after one of these events. It shouldn’t take long if you are able to get in there soon after the rain has stopped, or even if it’s still going.
You’re looking for pooling water or any signs that water had recently passed through. This could take the form of noticeably moist crawl space walls, dirt that looks like a tiny river bed, or the existence of water itself.
Secure Crawl Space Door
Crawl space doors are a necessary weak point in keeping your crawl space dry. You need to be able to access the area. And the fact that a door exists means you won’t be able to create a solidified wall all the way around your crawl space. This is okay, but could provide a path for water if your door isn’t properly secured.
Check for leaks. Enter your crawl space, close the door, and leave the light off. Do you see sunlight poking through along the edges of the door? If so, this is a possible entry point for water.
Check for Leaks in Foundation
The foundation walls keep the surrounding dirt from entering your crawl space, but they also keep the water that soaks into that dirt from entering the crawl space. Cracks in these walls can allow this ground moisture to slip through.
There will probably be marks on the dirt below the cracks if water has made use of this path. Seal up any cracks or holes to make sure water is unable to continue entering your crawl space through them.
Crawl space encapsulation is your best bet for controlling the environment within your crawl space. A liner will be placed across the floor of your crawl space, along the walls, and around any support beams. This keeps groundwater from raising up during a heavy rain. The vents will also be sealed up which cuts off another common source of water.
Controlling moisture and humidity is essential to a healthy crawl space, and this is the best way to accomplish this.
Many encapsulation systems will include the assistance of a sump pump. This is a device that is used to pump collected water out of your crawl space. It will be placed in the lowest area of your crawl space to allow any water that might enter the area to flow into a basin. The pump will then get rid of this water.
Consider your sump pump a failsafe for if any of your other systems fail. We can’t account for every possibility, so this is a great asset to proper crawl space maintenance.
Watch for Standing Water Around House
You should also notice what happens in the yard around your house during a heavy rain. Are there pools of standing water directly next to your house? Do certain areas tend to flood? This is evidence that the soil of your yard is completely saturated with moisture. This moisture could pose a danger to your crawl space, especially if your home is downhill from these pooling areas.
Consider any mitigation techniques such as french drains to lessen the impacts of this pooling water.
Check Your Pipes
The pipes that run beneath your home pose another danger to your crawl space. A small leak might go mostly unnoticed inside your home, but it can become a major issue if unchecked. Make sure any pipes running beneath your house aren’t experiencing a slow leak that can potentially grow into a larger issue.
Include this in your crawl space maintenance checks every so often. Finding a small leak before it blossoms can save you a lot of problems down the road.