How to find and fix water leaks in a crawlspace

Water leaks in a crawlspace can be a nightmare for homeowners. By the time you notice that there is a leak the leak may have been there for months slowly causing more and more damage to your home. You should get in the habit of routinely checking your crawlspace to check for leaks.

That way you may be able to avoid a costly and potentially dangerous leak later on. There are many things that can cause water to leak into your crawlspace. Plumbing inside the home can cause leaks in a crawlspace. So can drainage problems outside, heavy storms, or wear and tear on the pipes. If you have noticed water damage or dampness in the crawlspace the first thing you need to do is find the source of the leak.

Finding Water Leaks in a Crawlspace

The best way to find out where the water in the crawlspace is coming from is to turn off the water supply and then check all the plumbing in the house that is above the crawlspace. Leaking drains and plumbing are the more common source of crawlspace leaks. Check each piece of plumbing to see if you notice any water coming from that plumbing. Also check the structural integrity of the pipes and fittings to be sure they are not the problem. Tighten joints and reseal anything that needs to sealed to eliminate as many potential sources of a leak as you can. This might take some time but it’s worth doing. Even if the leak isn’t in the plumbing you may prevent a future problem by checking to make sure everything is in good working order.

Checking Outside

Once you’re satisfied that the leak isn’t coming from inside the house it’s time to check the outside. Check all drainage pipes and connections to be sure they are clean and working properly. A clogged drainage pipe is another common source of water leaks in a crawlspace. A high water table can also be the source of leaks in a crawlspace. In order to check the height of your water table dig a shallow hole about 2 to 3 feet down. Check it the next day to see if it’s filled with water. If it is full of water that’s a sign that your water table is high and could be causing the leaks in the crawlspace. If that’s the case you may need a new drain in order to keep the water out of the crawlspace.

Drying The Crawlspace

Once you've found the source of the leak and fixed it you need to make sure that the crawlspace gets properly dried out. A wet crawlspace can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. It also can be a fire hazard if the water is anywhere near electrical wires. Ventilation and air circulation are essential to dry out the space. Fans and portable heaters can dry out the space quickly, but you should also wash down the walls and floors of the crawlspace with a bleach solution to prevent any mold growth.