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WATER ENTRY IN BUILDINGS
AGE of MOLD - Old is the Mold?
BASEMENT CEILING VAPOR BARRIER
BASEMENT MOLD WATER IMPACT
BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
BUILDING DAMAGE ASSESSMENT & REPAIR
CONDENSATION on WINDOWS & SKYLIGHTS
DEW POINT TABLE - CONDENSATION POINT GUIDE
EFFLORESCENCE, Salts & White / Brown Deposits
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOD DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
FLOOD VENTS & FLOOD PORTS
FLOODS IN BUILDINGS-mold
FLOOR DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOUNDATION BULGE or LEAN MEASUREMENTS
FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
ICE DAM PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD INFORMATION CENTER
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
SEWAGE BACKUP, WHAT TO DO
SEWAGE BACKUP TEST & CLEANUP
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE PUMP CLOG DAMAGE
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
SWEATING (CONDENSATION) on PIPES, TANKS
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in BUILDINGS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Prevent future crawl space water entry: how to keep water from entering a building crawl space in the first place. Here we summarize the approach to preventing water from leaking into a building crawl area. The place to start is with an outside inspection for sources of leaks into the crawl area, but we also discuss using a sump pump to lower the water table under and around the building.
This article series describes the steps needed to get into, inspect, clean, and then dry out a building crawl space. We give a step by step crawl space entry, inspection, cleanout, dryout and keep dry guide explains how to get into or inspect a crawl space even if there is no ready access, how to assess crawl space conditions, how to stop water that is entering the crawl area, how to dry out the space, how to clean up and if necessary disinfect or sanitize the crawl space, and how to keep out crawl space water and moisture in the future.
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We noted earlier that it is almost always preferable to keep water from entering a building rather than allowing it to enter and then working to get rid of it. Here we refer to articles giving more detail on measures to keep unwanted roof runoff or surface or even subsurface water from entering a basement or crawl space.
Inspect the roof drainage system, gutters and downspouts to be certain that roof spillage is not ending up by the building foundation. Defects in handling roof runoff is the number one source of basement and crawl space dampness and water entry.
At WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS we catalog all of the steps you should consider in keeping water from entering a building basement or crawl space. Just about every step you would take to prevent basement water entry applies to preventing crawl space water entry.
Start outside the building: inspect the building roof drainage system and surface grading to be sure that roof runoff is not spilling where it is trapped against the crawl space foundation walls. The articles listed just below provide ample detail for more complete water entry source, cause & cure investigation for a crawl space.
Key building water entry diagnosis and cure articles:
In a crawl space where there is standing water, dehumidification and dry-out efforts will be ineffective. We need first to get rid of standing water and second (as discussed previously) keep water from entering the crawl area.
It's always better to keep water out of buildings than to let it come in and then try to get rid of it. But some building sites and conditions may still justify one or more sump pumps in the crawl space. Earlier we stressed the importance of making sure that the crawl space floor drains to one or more points where as sump pump can be installed if needed.
Not like this! We cannot show all of the ways to foul up a sump pump installation in one article, but our photo at left is particularly disgusting. Don't just throw a sump pump into a low area in the floor. The resulting lake will continue to damage the rest of the building.
A sump pump can, by lowering the water table under a crawl space floor, reduce the chances of water entering the crawl space through the lower foundation walls or floor. We have used this method with success in areas of seasonally wet soils, but we would not add a sump pump installation to try to dry out a crawl area (or basement) before first fixing all outdoor water entry sources possible.
Otherwise you may find you are simply cycling water: pumping it out of the crawl area only to have the same water cycle back into the structure.
At SUMP PUMPS GUIDE we discuss types of sump pumps and how they should be connected to electrical wiring and to drainage destinations. Keep in mind that the time you are most likely to need a crawl space sump pump is during hurricanes or tropical storms or in northern climates during times of heavy snow melt.
During a storm is just when electrical power may be lost. If your electrical power is not reliable you should consider a battery-operated backup sump pump system with enough capacity to keep the pump(s) running until power is restored.
CRAWL SPACE REINSPECTION: Inspect the crawl space periodically to make sure your crawlspace dryout measures have been effective. How often do you need to inspect the area? It depends ... on site conditions and building history. At least once a year you should look for any new leaks such as a leaky plumbing drain or an outside water entry problem. If you have been having trouble keeping water out of the crawl area, you should check more often until your confidence is restored.
Watch out: for steps 1-7 above, in some conditions, dust containment, negative air, and more protective gear or help from professionals may be needed.
Also see our other crawl space dryout and safety discussions beginning at CRAWL SPACE GROUND COVERS where we describe crawl space venting, crawl space poly over dirt, and crawl space heat, to illustrate current best-practices in keeping a crawl space dry.
Separately our series of basement dry out, clean up and leak prevention articles begins at BASEMENT LEAKS, INSPECT FOR. Also see MOLD CLEANUP - MISTAKES to AVOID for a master list of the principal ways that people foul up mold cleanup projects.
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