Why is water standing in my crawlspace? The water may have come from a broken pipe, unusually high water table due to seasonal precipitation or storms, a foundation laid too close to the water table level, improperly graded yard, especially near the foundation or improperly designed roof drainage.
Can water cause problems? Standing water and/or seepage into residential crawl spaces can cause frustrating problems for the homeowner. These problems can be both immediate and long term. Wet crawl spaces are sources of high humidity, which can produce surface condensation, mildew & fungi, musty odors, and an unhealthy environment. Such moisture can cause deterioration of floor joists, beams, sub-flooring, insulation, and electrical-mechanical systems. Excessive moisture can eventually penetrate the sub-flooring and buckle the flooring or cause warping, making doors and cabinets difficult to close or open. Since crawl space or basement dampness always moves toward the drier upstairs areas, higher humidity will result in costlier heating and air conditioning bills. Finally, crawl spaces reduce the value of the house--at least by the amount that would be required to repair the damage and to eliminate the cause of the problem.
How do I get rid of the water and humidity? Proper drainage is necessary to eliminate water in your crawlspace. Once the water is eliminated from the area, the humidity levels will go down, and to further ensure a dry crawlspace, a dehumidification system should also be installed. A sealed crawlspace is the suggested treatment to prevent further water and humidity problems. Some homeowners are reluctant to discuss or admit their water problem, for fear that the publicity of an actual or even a perceived problem would reduce the value of their investment. Homeowners, in such situations, should immediately seek professional assistance in assessing the source and extent of the problem and in finding a remedy.
Information in this sheet was excerpted from Wet Basement and Crawl Space Problems, Causes, and Remedies by Dr. Bruce A. Tschantz, P.E.; Professor of Civil Engineering University of Tennessee Knoxville, TN 37996 September 1997
A good Web site to visit for more information about what can be done with your crawlspace is www.crawlspaces.com. The site has many links to information about crawlspaces.
A good resource in the event of flooding is FEMA: Actions to Take Following a Flood: www.fema.gov/hazards/floods