Why Is There Standing Water In My Crawl Space?

July 13, 2020 | Crawl Spaces

A frequent problem in Indiana crawl spaces, standing water can have a variety of sources.  We’ll explore some of the most common causes, as well as some solutions to fix them.

Rising Waters

The most common cause of water in your crawl space is groundwater.  Basically, water is percolating up from the ground into your home.  Why does this happen?  When a home is built, the first part of the construction is usually excavation.  You take a piece of ground that has been there pretty much forever, and then dig a bunch of the dirt out.  Then, you’ll usually put the footers, fill with gravel, and then build the stem walls.  After the foundation is finished, contractors will back fill the foundation with loose dirt.  When the house is finished, landscapers will usually come out and fix the grade, so water runs away from the house.  Or at least, that’s how it SHOULD be done.  The problem comes from back filling.  The loose dirt they use to fill back in isn’t usually compacted after filling.  And even if it is, it can’t match the compaction of the thousand-year old ground that surrounds the house.  As a result, water that lands around the house will seek the path of least resistance, which is usually under your house.  As the water builds, it pushes back up through all that dirt and gravel, and winds up in your crawl space.

The simplest solution for this problem is the installation of a good quality sump pump pit and sump pump.  This will help prevent the water from rising as high, as it will flow to the sump pump, and get pumped away from the house.  This is a project that you, as a homeowner, can usually knock out in a weekend.  It can be a lot of work, but is a project that can be DIY’d.  Of course, Altra Dry is also happy to do the work for you.

It’s Coming From The Walls

Another common cause of water is water that comes either through the walls or from the footer.  When the stem walls are built on top of the footers, there is a weak spot called the “cove joint”.  This is the place where the walls and the footers meet, and is a common ingress point for water.  As water pressure builds around the foundation, the cove joint is the path of least resistance.  Also, concrete blocks are a lot more porous than people think, so if there’s enough water on the outside of the walls, it can eventually seep right through the block and run down the walls to the floor of your crawl space.

The best fix for this problem is a perimeter drain.  A perimeter drain is a length of 4-inch corrugated pipe that runs along the bottom of the footer, around the inside perimeter of your crawl space.  This is tied into your sump pump and the whole drain is covered with gravel.  Properly installed, these systems will last for decades without much maintenance.

Blame The Plumbing

The least common cause is also the easiest to fix.  Sometimes, it’s just as simple as a broken or leaking pipe.  A quick trip from a plumber can resolve the issue.  However, if the broken or leaking pipe is a sewage line, the process becomes a little more involved.  You can see this post for more information on sewage losses in crawl spaces.

Whatever the cause of the water in your crawl space, Altra Dry has a dependable, long-lasting solution for your home.

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