A wet crawl space can lead to a variety of health and safety problems in your home. These can include mold growth, rotted floor joists and pest invasions. The best way to avoid the headaches caused by these problems is to dry out and seal your crawl space.
To begin the process of repairing your wet crawl space, you must first determine how the water, or moisture is entering the crawl space. Check the foundation of your home for any cracks to see if moisture is entering that way. If you do find foundational cracks in your home, we recommend giving us a call since this could be a sign of a structural problem. Locate any leaks from pipes and insulate your cold-water pipes to prevent condensation from forming in your crawl space.
Once you’ve located, and sealed the source of moisture or water coming into your home, it’s time to begin the drying process. Remove crawl space debris and any wet materials, check your drainage and gutters to make sure they aren’t bringing unwanted water into your crawl space, and do not try to dry any wet or damp fiberglass insulation. If fiberglass insulation gets wet, it must be removed and discarded. Once it’s been thrown away, do not immediately replace it as you must spend more time cleaning, drying, and sealing the area to prevent further moisture invasion.
During the debris removal process, you’ll want to ensure all of the standing water is removed from the crawl space. Use a sump pump or a portable pump to pick up the water from your wet crawl space surface. If the crawl space area is built properly, all of the water should drain to one single low point, where a sump pump is already located to drain the water. If there are multiple puddles and standing water, once the water is removed it’s recommended to level the crawl space surface so that in the event water enters your home again, it’ll drain to that single pump location.
Once the bulk of the water has been removed, the focus should switch to preventing the growth of mold and mildew. This means dry out wood framing, sub-floor overhead, and the crawl space floor surface. The best bet to getting this done in a timely manner is to use a dehumidifier and heater to keep moisture levels down. When picking up a dehumidifier, keep in mind the size of the unit, compared to the size of your crawl space. The rate at which a dehumidifier removes water from the air per hour depends on the cooling capacity of the unit, ambient temperatures, the moisture in the ambient air, and the rate at which the moist air moves through the unit.
To increase the airflow in your crawl space, set up multiple fans around the area. Connect the dehumidifier dump to a floor drain or point the drain outside of your home where water will continue to drain away from the building. If your dehumidifier doesn’t include a drain system, attach some plastic tubing to direct the output flow of water.
Keep in mind: Using air moving equipment in a contaminated crawl space, before the contaminates have been removed means it is unsafe to breathe in that air.
Now that you’ve removed all of the water, wet debris, evaporated the moisture, and took steps to prevent mold in your crawl space, the next step is to set up efforts to prevent moisture from entering your crawl space in the future.
Put down a vapor barrier over the floor and up the wall to keep water vapor in humid air from diffusing through one side of a wall and finding a cool surface inside the wall. Don’t cover the vapor barrier with gravel or dirt, it will prevent you from seeing new puddles if a plumbing leak were to occur. Next, permanently install an energy-efficient crawl space dehumidifier to keep the space completely dry. If you’re able, condition the crawl space air by sealing off all vents and openings to the outdoors. To make that happen, seal off crawl space vents using foam board and spray foam.
Encapsulated crawl spaces don’t smell bad, they’re dry, and they protect your water heater and air handler systems. They prevent insects from moving in, and stops biological contaminants from entering your living environment.
In the end, the best thing to do when it comes to your crawl space, is contact a professional with experience. Selecting the right crawl space solution and a professional contractor will save you time, frustration, and money. Don’t hesitate to trust us when it comes to turning your crawl space into a worry-free zone!
Got questions about removing water or next steps for your crawl space? Click here to contact our certified water damage remediation and crawl space experts today!