Removing Water From A Crawlspace: 5 Steps to Remove Sewage or Water From A Flooded Crawlspace
Of all the places that you can have water damage in the home, water in your crawlspace is certainly among the hardest to clean up. It’s often a cramped, confined space, which makes removing water from a crawlspace more difficult. The addition of mold or sewage can make it even less pleasant. If you have a flooded crawlspace, we’ll address how to remove the water, prevent mold and odors from developing over time, and make basic repairs to the structure.
5 Steps to Removing Water From A Crawlspace
- Repair the Water Problem – Locate and fix the source of the water to prevent further water damage in your crawlspace.
- Pump or Vacuum the Water Out – Extract the water from a crawlspace as quickly as possible to limit the damage and to prevent mold.
- Dry Out the Area – Use fans and dehumidifiers to dry a wet crawlspace. This helps save the structural materials in your crawlspace and prevent mold.
- Access the Structural Damage – Inspect the damaged area for signs of deterioration. You may need to repair or replace wood beams, foundation walls, or subflooring.
- Disinfect and Deodorize – After making repairs, you should disinfect and deodorize the area to prevent mold and smells from developing in the future.
Why Water In Your Crawlspace is a Problem
Crawlspaces include a number of structural elements for your home. From foundation walls to floor beams, they essentially hold your home up. Most utilities enter the home through crawlspaces as well. If water enters your crawlspace, it can weaken the structure of your home. Persistence water may also lead to mold that speeds up the deterioration of materials.
How to Determine What Caused Water Damage in a Crawlspace
The key to removing water from a crawlspace is determining what caused it.
Water From Below
If you cannot identify the source of the water, it’s likely coming from below. It is most likely entering your crawlspace through the floor or your foundation walls. This is usually common after heavy rains, flooding, or winter thaws. The water is usually groundwater is will contain some level of contamination.
Water From Above
However, if you can see a leak or source of the water, it’s coming from above. The most common causes are leaky pipes, dishwater and washing machine floods, and overflowing toilets. A supply line will contain a little risk of contamination, while the risk is much higher is the water is from another source. Overflowing toilets, sewage backups, and drain issues pose the highest risk.
How to Remove Water From A Crawlspace
1. Repair the Water Problem
If the source of the water in from above, you need to repair the problem before you begin drying a crawlspace. Otherwise, you will just continue to have water problems in your crawlspace. If the cause is a water supply line, start by turning off your main water shut off valve. However, you may need to begin removing water from your crawlspace before you can make repairs in some cases.
If the source of the water is from below, begin removing water from a crawlspace as soon as possible. However, you still need to address the water issue. You may need to waterproof your foundation walls, make repairs to the mortar between bricks, or fix wall cracks and floor seams. In some instances, you may need to install a sump pump as well.
2. Pump or Vacuum the Water Out
After making repairs, remove as much standing water as possible. Use a pump or a wet/dry vacuum to remove the water. When using a wet/dry vacuum, empty it regularly to ensure the best suction. Avoid pouring the water down a drain or into the sewers. Instead, pour it way from your home in a wooded or grassy area. If the water damage was caused by a sewage backup, consider bagging the wastewater in heavy duty contractor bags. When using a pump, make sure it has a long drainage hose to prevent the water from re-entering your home.
3. Dry Out the Area
Once the standing water or sewage has been removed, the area needs to be dried quickly to prevent permanent damage to the wood beams, bricks, and other building materials. This also limits the risk of mold. Place fans or dehumidifiers throughout the area and adjust their placement every few hours to ensure the fastest drying time.
4. Access the Structural Damage
The next step to dealing with water damage in your crawlspace is to access the structural damage. If the damage was addressed and repaired immediately, the structure is unlikely to need repairs. However, if the water damage occurred over an extended time, was not cleaned up quickly, or if there is a significant mold problem, you may need to replace wood beams or make other structural repairs.
5. Disinfect and Deodorize
You should always disinfect and deodorize after water damage in your crawlspace, even if the water did not contain sewage. Due to the confined space, it’s easy for musty odors to develop over time. They can then seep through the flooring into your home. As for mold, it occurs naturally around us. If you have a persistent source of moisture again in the future, mold is likely to appear.
Removing Water From a Crawlspace With a Dirt Floor
Most modern crawlspaces will have a concrete floor that was poured during construction. However, dirt floors are common in older homes or as a way to keep construction costs low. Crawlspaces with dirt floors are more prone to water issues since water can seep through the ground at any time.
Removing water from a crawlspace with a dirt floor poses an additional challenge because of all that dirt. Not only can it clog pumps and wet/dry vacuums, but it also retains water. Place the hose near the surface of the water to limit the amount of dirt you suck up. This is more labor intensive but helps prevent clogs.
If sewage backed up into your crawlspace, you will also need to remove and replace the dirt. While this may seem unnecessary, the soil may continue to harbor mold, bacteria, and parasites. As the water levels rise during rainy weather, this can lead to mold or health problems.
Help Removing Water from a Flooded Crawlspace
Restoration is here to help remove water from a crawlspace. The water damage companies in our network are experienced in cleaning up crawlspace floods, sewage backups, and other water issues. Find a local water damage restoration company now or call 1-888-443-3110 to talk with our on-call contractor in your area. Our on-call restoration companies offer 24-hour emergency services, 30-minute response time, and a free estimate.