A vented crawlspace is designed to stay dry. It’s important to keep it that way to avoid any water damage to your home. Unfortunately, things can happen that will challenge the integrity or your crawlspace. If your crawlspace is getting wet, here are some areas to look at.
#1 Foundation Walls
As a house settles, cracks can appear in the walls of the foundation. If the cracks aren’t repaired, they will allow the groundwater, as well as any weather-related moisture, to seep into your crawl space. Depending on where the cracks are, the water can start to erode the wood frame of your home, create pools where insects can breed, and even allow mold to grow.
#2 Plumbing Leaks
The purpose of a crawlspace is to allow easy access to the internal components of your home. One of those is your plumbing pipes. They will generally run vertically through your home until they reach the ground level, where they will run horizontally towards the main drain where the wastewater is deposited. Those ground level pipes, as well as the main drain, will be located inside of your crawl space, under the flooring of your home. If there is a leak from any of those pipes, you would have an issue with moisture in your crawl space.
#3 Duct Condensation
You could also have heating and cooling ducts running through your crawlspace. It’s not uncommon for condensation to form on the outside of the ducts, especially in the warmer months when the ducts are flowing cold air and the air outside is considerably hotter. If the ducts aren’t wrapped with moisture-reducing insulation, that condensation will drip onto the floor in your crawlspace, causing moisture to buildup.
#4 Through the Soil
Of course, the ground is wet underneath your home and inside of your crawlspace. But, there should be a vapor seal on the bottom of the crawlspace, over the soil, to keep it dry. A vapor seal is basically a strong plastic liner that covers the entire floor area and forms a bond on the sides of the foundation around the crawlspace. If the vapor is damaged, or nonexistent, moisture will easily get into your crawlspace.
While the vents themselves can allow a little rainwater to get inside, it’s usually not enough to worry about. If you have a crawlspace, the best way to make sure that it’s dry is to have it inspected on a yearly basis to make sure that there aren’t any issues that you may not be aware of. Anytime you are dealing with potential water damage to your home, being proactive is much better than being reactive.