If your home has a basement, chances are you’ll experience some kind of water damage at some point. Only 2% of houses with a basement will avoid the issue altogether, so it’s not a safe bet to make. The problem can be minimal at first, but over time can grow into more and more serious issues.
How Moisture Gets In
There are many ways that water can get into your crawl space. One of the most common ways is through leaks in the plumbing. You might not notice the leak right away, and this could be especially true if you have dirt in your crawl space as the moisture might not be instantly visible.
Water can also come in through the foundation walls. If a gutter isn’t pouring out to the right place, the soil next to the foundation walls can become too saturated and start to leak right through the wall.
Finally, water can come in through the crawl space vent. While the purpose of crawl space vents is generally to keep the crawl space dryer, in humid climates (or when it rains a lot, it can have the opposite effect.
Why Moisture Is Bad
It seems obvious enough…you don’t want water inside your home where it doesn’t belong. But beyond the obvious desire to not have to wade around in a pool of dirty crawl space water, moisture can cause some really nasty problems.
Chief among the concerns is mold–especially black mold. If the problem goes unnoticed, it can be deadly. And any mold, in any amount, can still cause health problems. So it’s extremely important to take care of moisture problems right away.
Rodents or other pests may also be more attracted to a damp crawlspace. And to make the situation worse, dead rodents and droppings create extremely unsanitary environments when standing water becomes an issue and it becomes harder to identify potential hazards.
Crawl Space Moisture Removal
There are a few things that can work in your favor for keeping your crawl space dry. But when a problem does arise, it’s also important to understand some steps to take for crawl space moisture removal. But always keep your safety in mind above all else. Protect yourself with proper clothing and a respirator if necessary.
If you’re not comfortable wading through standing water, with the potential for dead rodents and floating droppings, it may be a good idea to call a professional for help. Professionals have the gear and experience to deal with your problem efficiently.
With that in mind, if you proceed on your own, find the source of the moisture and stop it if possible. You’ll want to remove standing water (this can be done with sump pumps), then move on to mold removal by scrubbing mold off of any surface. Then you will need to clean out your crawl space (boxes, anything you’re storing down there) and check for water damage.
After crawl space moisture removal, re-evaluate your moisture barrier and determine if further steps need to be taken. Water protection can include encapsulation–which is basically covering your entire crawlspace with protective material that helps protect the structure and keep moisture out. You can also install sump pumps, and consider better drain systems, depending on your climate, needs, and budget.