A crawl space is like that cabinet where you store your tax information. There’s important stuff in there, but you never take a look inside. Further, because you’re so rarely in your crawl space, a problem inside can cause significant damage to essential parts of your home before you notice that anything is wrong.
Crawl space water damage is common, so you should check it out every few months, and act quickly if you notice something is amiss. What should you be looking for, and how do you deal with crawl space water damage if you find it? Let us explain.
Sources of Crawl Space Water Damage
If you open up your crawl space and find standing water, your first thought will probably be to wonder where it all came from. It’s even more puzzling if you see the signs of water damage on the door leading to the crawl space, but don’t find anything inside. What’s going on? To understand, you need to know the possible sources of crawl space water damage.
1. Excess Humidity
Some homes, especially older homes with broken window seals, have humidity problems. The crawl space can exasperate this problem, especially if it is unsealed, or just dirt on the ground. If so water will evaporate out of the ground and into the crawl space. This can cause all sorts of problems, from mold growth to poor air quality in your home, to water damage. You may find the entire crawl space covered in a thin sheen of water. Likely, that water is always there, consistently doing damage to your home.
2. Leaky or Broken Pipes
If you walk into the crawl space and find a puddle of water, chances are you have a leaking or burst pipe. Different kinds of water may be leaking out, including fresh water on it’s way up to the tap, or used water on its way down from your toilet. The smell should indicate sewer water. A musty smell, like clothing left in the drier, is probably from clean water that has just been sitting in the crawl space for some time.
3. Roof Leak
It’s fairly unlikely that a problem all the way up on your roof could make it’s way down to the crawl space at the bottom of the home before you notice it. But, some homes have crawl spaces directly attached to the roof. In that case, you may find that the ceiling and walls on your crawl space (or just the wooden joists that make up the ceiling) have water damage.
Or, if a leak is being redirected inside the attic to the inside of a wall, it can then pour down into the crawl space. You may hear the sound of moving water if this has happened and you’ll also see signs of water damage.
Unfortunately, this is likely to be a pretty serious problem. You’ll have to call a professional roofer to locate where the leak is and get it patched up, before addressing crawl space water damage.