My Crawl Space is Flooded; Now What?

flooded crawl space

I read somewhere that if a house has ten problems, 15 of them have to do with water. Water anywhere in the house is all too common and causes a distinctive odor that can be described as musty. Candles and air fresheners might help somewhat, but you’re simply putting lipstick on that pig. If your house smells dank after having it closed up all day, and you can’t find the source of the water anywhere inside your house, check the crawl space. Crawl spaces are notorious for attracting and holding moisture, especially if they don’t have adequate drainage or a ventilation system. In this post, we’ll cover what you should do when you have a flooded crawl space.

What causes a flooded crawl space?

Strong, damaging storms with heavy rain can cause water to come into the crawl space. Water in your crawl space can also be the result of a plumbing malfunction. No matter how it got in there, getting it out can be tricky, but it’s crucial to dry out your crawl space to prevent potential mold growth, pest infestations, or water damage to your HVAC system or your home’s foundation. If your house has a flooded crawl space, here’s what you need to do.

What do I do if my crawl space is flooded? 

Follow these steps if you have a wet crawl space:

  1. Practice safety first. Electrical wiring may be in your crawl space, so turn off your electricity at the breaker. It’s also advisable to hire a professional at this point because unless you are in the habit of getting under your house, there may be any number of hazards down there that you don’t know exist.
  2. Determine the source. The next step in remedying a wet crawl space is identifying where and how the water is getting in. As we mentioned previously, the source may be rainwater after a heavy rain or burst pipes. However, rising groundwater or condensation from warm air hitting the cool space below can also be a source of moisture. If you have a poor or no drainage system, the chances of flooding increase significantly. While you may be able to ascertain how the water got in, a trained professional will know how to stop the water at its source. Call a restoration company that can make a service call to immediately assess the situation.
  3. Dry it out. Without adequate airflow, your crawl space will not dry completely. Some homes have crawl space vents to provide airflow, but these will not allow for proper drying. In normal, dry circumstances, the air must move at least one cubic foot per 50 square feet of crawl space area. And even with a little moisture, simply placing a fan at the entrance to your crawl space won’t do the trick. Out of these first steps, calling your local restoration company for this one will likely save you the most time, money and hassles in the long run. The professionals will create a drying plan and bring in state-of-the-art drying equipment to mitigate the water damage and completely dry your crawl space. Your restoration company will also perform regular inspections and keep logs on the moisture level in your crawl space to ensure that the area is drying properly.
  4. Be proactive. According to a post on This Old House, scientific studies have shown that “closed, unvented crawl spaces stay considerably drier than vented ones, regardless of the climates.” Consider closing off vents and sealing your crawl space. And, if your crawl space doesn’t have any type of water removal system, get something installed before water finds its way in again. Look into:
    • Sump pumps. Sump pumps are a great way to keep water out of your crawl space. Look for a sump pump with an alarm that will alert you to the presence of water in your crawl space. It’s also a good idea to choose a sump pump with a battery back-up, so your pump will keep working in the event of a power failure. Sump pumps with a submersible pump are also a great innovation, as they’re less likely to overheat when they’re working hard.
    • Drainage systems. If a sump pump isn’t an option, a crawl space drainage system will also work. The drainage system is installed around the interior perimeter of the crawl space. The drain itself will typically rest against the foundation footing of the house.

A flooded crawl space is not a DIY project, and you’ll get better peace of mind knowing that you have a team of experienced water damage restoration experts who will give your property the time and attention they would if it were their own. Trust the Indianapolis water damage restoration team at Hays + Sons to restore your crawl space to tip-top shape.

See also our Ultimate How-To Guide for a Flooded Basement.

About Hays + Sons

For more than 38 years, Hays + Sons has been the property restoration company that families, businesses and schools trust. We’re committed to helping you be prepared when the unexpected strikes, and whether you just want tips for water damage prevention and mitigation or currently have water damage, Hays + Sons has the capacity and expertise to help you get back to normal ASAP. 

The compassionate, experienced, and trusted residential restoration experts at Hays + Sons are just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

If you’re in need of water damage restoration, get in touch with us at one of our offices across Indiana or in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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