Having a crawl space comes with all sorts of benefits. You can easily run all of your electrical wires and plumbing through it and use it for storage. However, that also means that all those things will be affected if there is a flood. Furthermore, if crawl space flooding isn’t addressed immediately, it can create a wide range of problems. The longer you ignore it, the bigger the damage will become. What causes crawl space flooding and how can you avoid this problem? Let’s take a look at some of the problem signs.
Telltale Signs of Crawl Space Flooding
If you use your crawl space as storage, you are probably worried that floodwater could potentially ruin your belongings. Luckily, there are several signs that can warn you that your crawl space has been flooded.
Mold needs two things to thrive: water and organic material. Since crawl spaces are full of wooden elements, food is not the issue. When water enters your crawl space, it instantly creates an ideal environment for mold growth. While mold is usually not toxic and won’t kill you, it can impact your health and the health of your family members. It causes respiratory problems and allergic reactions.
Just because mold is only visible in your crawl space doesn’t mean it is not present in your living area as well. Mold uses airborne spores to spread and these can easily contaminate the air you breathe. When you inhale them, they can impact your health, especially if you already have asthma or a weak immune system.
Standing water also leads to wood rot. This is a major problem since a lot of structural elements in your crawl space such as beams and joists are made of wood. Rotten wood is fragile and can easily break under pressure. This is not good news for the beams that are supposed to withstand the weight of your home. If they become infected, your home’s structural integrity can be compromised.
Various insects such as termites are drawn to wet timber. If there is water in your crawl space, chances are that it is also full of insects. However, that is not the worst problem. Mice, rats, and other rodents feed on insects, so they will quickly inhabit your humid crawl space as well. Before you know it, you will be dealing with a pest infestation.
These pests will destroy anything that stands between them and their food source, which means they will damage your beams and your insulation. Furthermore, they will breed under your home, making this situation far worse. In their search for food, they can find their way into your living space, causing damage and leaving droppings everywhere. Very soon, your comfortable home will become completely unsanitary.
Mold and pests can damage your crawl space and lead to structural damage. Repairing such problems can be expensive, especially if you didn’t address them on time.
Therefore, as soon as you notice water in your crawl space, take action. You need to remove it as quickly as possible and contact professionals who will conduct necessary repairs. Luckily, there are ways you can avoid water damage altogether. With waterproofing solutions from AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists, you can keep your foundation dry and clean.
Causes of Crawl Space Flooding
Is your crawl space flooded? If so, you are probably wondering where all that water is coming from. Several factors can cause crawl space flooding. Here are the most common ones.
Every yard has a grade and it can be either positive or negative. A positive grade means that the ground is sloping away from your home. Therefore, when the rain falls, runoffs are directed away from your property. On the other hand, with a negative grade, all the water will run toward your home and pool around your foundation. If there are any cracks in your crawl space walls, water will seep through and enter the area below your home.
Gutter and Downspout Issues
Without proper maintenance, gutters won’t direct water away from your home When they overflow or leak, large pools of water will develop around your house, and eventually, you will have flooding in your crawl space.
Forgotten hoses or sprinkler systems that do not shut down on time can easily flood your crawl space.
Broken Water Lines
Broken pipes and malfunctioning appliances can quickly flood your crawl space. Regular maintenance is essential if you want to avoid such problems.
When city water lines rupture, severe storms pass through your area , or there’s flooding from a nearby rivers, your crawl space will suffer. In this case, the drainage system can be overwhelmed by a heavy flow and malfunction.
Crawl Space Flooding Solutions
Crawl space flooding is not something you have to come to terms with. With high-quality waterproofing solutions from AFS, you can protect your foundation against water damage and avoid expensive repairs.
Crawl Space Drainage System
The biggest problem regarding crawl space water is that it can go unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years, depending on how often you check this area of your house. Of course, the longer the water stays in your crawl space, the bigger the damage. With our EZ Flow Crawl Space Drainage System, you can direct excess water away from your home.
You won’t have to worry about clogging issues since the EZ Flow has a special filter fabric material that keeps debris out. Our crawl space drain system is compatible with our other waterproofing solutions, such as our sump pump, encapsulation, and drainage matting. With these solutions in place, your home will be protected against mold and rot and you will live in a healthier environment.
A Sump Pump
To keep your crawl space protected against flooding, you should invest in a reliable sump pump. Without it, groundwater – as well as sudden plumbing leaks – can quickly flood your foundation. Here at AFS our foundation and waterproofing specialists recommend AquaStop Compact Crawl Space Sump Pump. Forget about outdated plastic pumps that easily overheat. This one is equipped with a cast-iron casing, as well as a reliable liner and a sump alarm. If you are worried that your pump will deactivate during a blackout, we have a solution for you. With our battery backup sump pump, you can rest assured that your crawl space is protected against flooding even when the power is out.
Thanks to our sump pump alarm you will be alerted every time there is a leak in your crawl space, so you can remain fully aware of what is happening in your crawl space at all times.
Standing water isn’t the only thing that can harm your crawl space. Even increased humidity levels can lead to mold growth and rot. Moisture can infiltrate your foundation in several ways, mostly through the dirt floor and the open vents. With encapsulation, you can isolate the crawl space from intruding moisture. This process includes sealing foundation vents and adding a vapor barrier to the foundation walls, columns, and the dirt floor. Furthermore, our experts will install an airtight crawl space door that won’t allow any moisture to pass through.
In order to keep humidity levels in your crawl space under control, we recommend that you install a dehumidifier. Since excess moisture leads to mold and rot, this appliance can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Not only will it remove excess humidity, but will also clean the air in your crawl space and remove allergy triggers. Why is this important? More than half of the air in your living area comes from our crawl space. In other words, if the air in your crawl space is low-quality, the air in your home will be as well.
Before you purchase a dehumidifier, keep in mind that the standard one you can buy at your local department store won’t be able to keep your crawl space dry. Those are designed for smaller, less humid spaces. If you want to get a powerful dehumidifier for your foundation, contact AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists and schedule an inspection. Our experts will recommend a dehumidifier that will ensure that your crawl space is protected against mold and other damage.
Crawl Space Flooding
If your crawl space has been flooded, you are surely wondering how that water got there. There are several ways water can end up underneath your home. Let’s check them out.
Through the Crawl Space Floor
To build your home, contractors first needed to excavate part of the soil, which was later backfilled. Naturally, the backfilled soil is not as dense as the virgin soil around it, so it is more absorbent.
Every time it rains water will saturate the soil underneath your house. If you have a dirt floor in your crawl space, water will enter through it. Without proper waterproofing methods in place, this type of issue will keep recurring.
Through the Walls and Vents
If you have cracks in your crawl space walls, water will surely find its way through them. Cracks in brick, mortar, and concrete are like a welcome mat for leaks, which is why it is important to repair them on time. Since concrete is porous, water can also infiltrate your crawl space directly through the walls, even if there are no cracks. Of course, this process is much slower, but can still increase humidity levels in your crawl space.
On the other hand, water can also find its way in through the open crawl space vents. In the past, it was believed that these vents prevent mold growth and rot, but since then it has been determined that they do completely the opposite. Not only do they let moisture-laden air in, but they also let rainwater and snow inside. During the summer they let humid air in, which is immediately cooled in the dark crawl space. As a result, condensation forms on all surfaces, soaking materials it touches.
From Plumbing Leaks
Most crawl spaces house water lines. While this is convenient, at the same time it increases the risk of crawl space flooding. When one of these pipes bursts, it can quickly flood the entire foundation. What is even worse, you may not notice what happened until the damage is already severe and requires expensive repairs.
Plumbing leaks can destroy your insulation, soak your wooden beams and joists, bring unhealthy fumes into your home, trigger mold growth, and damage your foundation. To avoid such unpleasantries, contact professional contractors and invest in a crawl space drain system and a sump pump.
Some homeowners believe that a dehumidifier on its own can keep their crawl space dry. While this appliance is an important part of your waterproofing system, it cannot protect your foundation against water damage by itself.
A Dehumidifier Cannot Remove Flood Water
When large volumes of water suddenly rush into your crawl space due to heavy rainstorms or pipe leakage, they will remain there even if you have a dehumidifier. While this device can remove excess humidity from the air, it cannot remove water.
Therefore, apart from installing a dehumidifier, you will also need to invest in other waterproofing solutions such as a sump pump and a drainage system. Only with these systems in place, you will be able to protect your crawl space against water damage.
Ensuring Regular Maintenance
Installing waterproofing systems is not the only thing you can do for your home. Also, make sure that your yard is properly graded. When it rains, water should rush away from your home, not toward it. If your yard has a negative grade, you will need to regrade it as soon as possible.
Furthermore, make sure you regularly maintain your gutters and downspouts. These pipes can easily get clogged by leaves and debris, so inspect them at least once a year and see that there are no blockages. In addition, check them for cracks and holes. Gutters and downspouts can get damaged by tree branches or hail, so make sure they are in good condition. If they malfunction, all the rainwater that has ended up on your roof will soak the ground around your foundation and enter your crawl space.
Call Us Today!
Are you tired of removing water from your crawl space? Do you want to ensure that this area stays permanently dry and clean? Contact professionals at AFS today and schedule a free, no-obligation inspection! Since 2000, we have helped thousands of homeowners keep their homes stable and dry.
With AFS, you know that you are receiving the best possible service. All of our products include a written, transferable warranty and are built to last. Our services are available in Huntsville, Birmingham, Nashville, Chattanooga, Columbus, Biloxi, and throughout the surrounding areas in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi.