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Help! There Is Water in My Crawl Space: What to Know & What to Do

frozen busted pipe

Many of today’s homeowners grew up with old-school crawl spaces where damp and moisture were simply the accepted norm.

But over the past few decades, improvements in home construction have made it possible to keep crawl spaces damp-free and humidity-controlled.

This is good for you while you are living there and also good for your home’s resale value.

In this post, find out the main causes of crawl space humidity and water, why you want to remedy this as soon as possible and what you can do to fix it fast.

How Do Humidity and Water Get Into Your Crawl Space?

There are three main pathways humidity and water can take to get inside your home’s crawl space.

Plumbing

If you are like most Canadian homeowners, you probably spend your winter with one eye on the weather forecast and one eye on your plumbing pipes.

A frozen, burst water pipe in winter can instantly rack up thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in home damage.

Even a pipe leak can contribute enough water to pool inside your crawl space. A vapour barrier can do only so much until conditions are favourable for evaporation to occur.

Belowground water

The relationship between the soil surrounding your crawl space and the water content in that soil is always tenuous at best. If the water table rises, a storm blows through or all that snow begins to melt, the water will look for someplace to go.

This can cause water to push its way through micro-fissures and cracks in the walls or floor until it finds its way into your crawl space.

Aboveground water

Aboveground water may be generated by a storm, lawn watering or snow melting, but the most frequent reason it gets into a crawl space is poor drainage or grading.

Clogged window wells and gutters, blocked drains, too-short downspouts or improper landscape grading can all send aboveground water straight toward your foundation and inside your crawl space.

The Dangers of Crawl Space Humidity and Moisture

In previous decades, it was standard operating procedure to ventilate crawl spaces.

Today, construction science understands that ventilation typically makes all the main crawl space problems worse, not better.

An unfinished or ventilated crawl space creates an environment ripe for exactly the sort of home maintenance problems homeowners tend to fear most.

Pests and critters

Water may be relatively plentiful inside your crawl space, but it can be hard to come by outside in certain seasons of the Canadian year.

Any reliable water source is likely to attract local wildlife, including insect pests and larger critters such as rodents and reptiles.

Dust mites, termites, ants, spiders, mice, rats, snakes and raccoons will readily take up residence inside a dark, damp crawl space with plentiful moisture.

Mould and mildew

Bacteria and fungi are similarly attracted to places where moisture is consistently present. The main danger of a damp crawl space is that when mould or mildew begins to colonize, that new colony will then send out spores into your home aboveground as well.

These spores will gravitate toward more humid areas in your home, including the laundry room, bathrooms and kitchen, and unfinished interior spaces such as attics.

Higher utility bills

A damp unfinished or ventilated crawl space can also contribute to higher year-round energy bills.

This is especially the case in the more extreme weather months during winter and summer, when the environment in your crawl space has an impact on the temperature and humidity level of your home’s ground floor as well.

How to Fix Your Damp Crawl Space

Now you understand how moisture and humidity can enter and affect your crawl space. And you now know that in many cases, ventilation can actually make the problems homeowners face with an unfinished crawl space even worse.

But what is the solution?

How can you fix your damp crawl space and make it safe and usable again? There are four main steps you need to take that will permanently fix your crawl space environment problems.

Dehumidification

The first step is to dehumidify your crawl space. This is easy to do: just set up a dehumidifier to suck the moisture out of your crawl space and dry it out.

Insulation

Once your crawl space is dried out, it is time to take the next steps. It is important to install the right type of insulation, which is made to be humidity resistant. The right insulation will actually serve as an effective moisture barrier while stabilizing your crawl space environment.

Drainage

Drainage is another key to keeping moisture and humidity out of your crawl space. If window wells or drains get blocked or your sump pump stops working, you could be right back in the same predicament again the next time it rains heavily.

Installing proper floor drains and window wells, adding downspout extensions and gutter guards and adding a sump pump backup system will all help permanently route new moisture away from your crawl space.

Encapsulation

Crawl Space encapsulation is the crawl space version of interior basement waterproofing. Once your crawl space has been encapsulated, it essentially becomes a temperature-controlled, pest- and critter-proof, usable space.

The encapsulation process serves as a form of crawl space waterproofing, protecting your crawl space and home from mould and mildew, pests and critters, and leaks.

Get in Touch

Are you worried that your home’s crawl space has become a hazard to your home? We can help!

Following the four-step crawl space upgrade process outlined here can help lower your homeowner’s insurance premiums, increase your home’s future resale value and give you present-day peace of mind.

With our fast and FREE EasyQuote process, you can find out exactly what you need to do to upgrade your crawl space and protect your home.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.

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