If you are living in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area, you already know that we get a lot of rain. For most of the year, it pounds our homes with moisture and many home are equipped to handle this much water, but some are not. Many houses in the Portland Metro area have inadequate gutter drains or just retain ground water that accumulates underneath the home in the crawlspace. Water in the crawlspace can become a big problem. If left untreated, it can lead to mold, rotting structural supports and many other issues. So, let’s suppose that you have a crawl space that has standing water and discuss what a typical drainage solution will likely consist of.
Here in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area, we live in a very wet place. Our homes are pummeled with rain throughout the year and, unfortunately, some of that water sticks around. Water accumulation in the crawl space underneath our homes is a major concern that can wreak extensive damage to the structural components of your house. As a drainage contractor in the Portland Metro area, I see homes all the time that have serious issues with standing water and design drainage systems to rectify these issues.
Water is the enemy of your home and we get a lot of it in the Portland Metro area. Your home is designed to repel water away from it, but sometimes it finds a way to sleek and slither its way into the vulnerable wood that holds your house up. When moisture gets to where it is not supposed to be, it can wreak havoc on your home. One area of the home that can hold a considerable amount of water in your home without you noticing is your crawl space. Standing water in the crawl space can create a whole host of problems for your home including mold, wood rot and more. So, how do you get rid of standing water in a crawl space?
When you step into your crawl space, you expect to see the usual things. Some spider webs, darkness and all the rest, but you would never expect to see what one of our customers saw. As he opened his crawl space hatch, he saw hot steaming water about a foot deep in his crawl space. What prompted this visit to the crawl space was the soaring water bill costs. He assumed that maybe a water pipe was leaking, but he didn’t expect to find a hot water pipe completely burst open, filling his crawl space with hot water.
Of course, the consequences were disastrous. Insulation was ruined, duct work was ruined, and the hot water created a mold creating factory down there. It was a mess that nobody wants to have to deal with and it all could have been avoided.
Now, this example is the extreme, but it is not uncommon to have standing water in the crawl space wreak havoc. Normally, it is a process that happens over time as water slowly accumulates, but regarless of how it gets there, it is important to have a system in place that will move it out of there.
Do you have water in your crawl space? If you so, you may be putting your home at significant risk. Water is the enemy of your home and can lead to conducive conditions that may create mold or even worse, major structural damage. Your home is not designed to have standing water present and it should be a high priority to make sure it doesn’t have to. Here are some simple steps that you can take to make sure that water is not ruining your home:
1) Take a look at your crawl space.
Most water issues in your crawl space can be corrected easily if they are caught in time. A flooded crawl space can do significant damage if left alone, while quick intervention may avoid major costs. Most people never realize that they have standing water in their crawl space until they find a reason to go down there. Why not put it on a calendar to spend 3 minutes opening your crawl hatch and shining a flashlight down there? This simple step alone may save thousands of dollars! We recommend checking your crawl space at least every 6 months, but it becomes especially important during our rainy season. In Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington this is for most of the year, but to make it simple, check in October and February.
With all the rain that we get in the Portland area, is it normal to have water in your crawl space? Our homes are constantly bombarded by rainfall nearly year round, so is it alright if some of that rain accumulates under your house? The answer is a little subtle because it depends on if that accumulated water becomes “standing water” with no way out. Many crawl spaces have moisture, but standing water is a different story.
Some properties naturally slope to a low point drain and when water comes in, it eventually finds its way out. Other properties have drainage systems in place, like a sump pump, that moves the water off of the property. What it really comes down to is “what happens to the water once it gets down there”? In order for a crawl space to stay healthy, it is important that standing water is not creating a conducive condition for mold or worse, moisture may start to affect the structural integrity of the home. If you have a crawl space that collects water runoff, you simply must have a plan in place to divert it. Here are some things to consider: