“… I have wireless humidity sensors in the crawl space and noticed that the humidity was down from 85% to 62%, it really works! The crawl space is clean and healthy now.”
Sheng H., Los Gatos
“… I have wireless humidity sensors in the crawl space and noticed that the humidity was down from 85% to 62%, it really works! The crawl space is clean and healthy now.”
Sheng H., Los Gatos
“Allergies solved! For years every winter I had congestion that would last for months. After Ernesto and his team fixed the water under my house, no more allergies, no more congestion. Thanks Again Ernesto!”
Jeffrey P., San Carlos
“… our heating bills went through the roof and our hardwood floors were ice cold all day & night… [found] 1) no insulation 2) an ice cold draft from the 15 oversized vents in the foundation and 3) standing water… They completed the job in an exceptional and very professional manner…”
Matthias L., Pleasanton
For people who have a basement or crawl space that suffers from excessive moisture or who live in an area prone to flooding or receiving large amounts of rain, a sump pump can end up being one of the most important appliances in any home.
What are they and how do they work?
Sump pumps are appliances that are installed in basements or crawl spaces and are designed to remove water. The way they work is quite simple. Large holes are specifically built under the basement or crawl space. The water drains into these holes. Inside the holes are special devices called “float switches,” which are used to detect the level of water in the hole. As the amount of water rises, the float switch is activated. The sump pump then starts moving water out of the hole, and through the discharge pipe. Sump pumps run entirely on electricity.
You can probably already guess why sump pumps are so important; flooding is a huge problem for some homes, and sump pumps help prevent basements and crawl spaces from being ruined by flooding. At the same time, sump pumps also help prevent other issues too, for example by preventing moisture from seeping into basements and crawl spaces, sump pumps help protect against mold and other fungi, which can cause both health problems and structural damage.
How to get one?
Sump pumps can be found easily in almost any hardware store. Installation can range from being very easy to being a bit trickier. If you already have a sump pump hole built in your basement or crawl space, and you are good with your hands, then you could probably install the sump pump yourself. Otherwise, it is best to call a licensed professional to come install the sump pump. You want to make sure the sump pump installed correctly, since if it isn’t, you could end up paying for it by having your basement or crawl space flood.
It is also worth keeping in mind that sump pumps require pretty regular upkeep. First off, sump pumps generally do not give off any warning signs if they fail, so it is necessary to occasionally check the motor and make sure the sump pump is still running. A common trick is to empty some water directly into the hole and see if the sump pump starts up.
As with any pump, the sump pump needs to be regularly cleaned, since there is a good chance that rocks and other debris may get stuck in the pump and reduce its effectiveness.
Motor failure is also an issue to watch out for, especially if the sump pump is being forced to work overtime because of a sudden increase in rainfall. It is a good idea to keep a backup power source close by in case the sump pump’s motor fails.
Finally, the float switch can also get stuck, which will prevent the sump pump from working correctly. So it is a good idea to do regular checks to ensure that the float switch is working correctly.
A popular DIY (do-it-yourself) home project is the installation of a crawl space barrier. Barriers are sometimes installed in the crawl space when the house is built, but other times the crawl space is left with no protection. Crawl space barriers provide protection against water vapor, which leads to mold growth and can cause rusting and structural damage. If you are one of those people who is choosing to install a barrier themselves instead of getting a contractor to do it, then you might be wondering what tools and what materials you need to get the job done.
What tools you should get beforehand
If you are tackling a project as complex as installing a crawl space barrier, then chances are you probably already have most of the tools necessary to do the job, but just in case, you should make sure you have the following supplies before starting:
Choosing your material
Once you get all the tools together, you can start planning what kind of plastic you want to use in your crawl space barrier. You want to make sure you get a high-quality plastic; lower quality plastic just degrades far too quickly. You should also pay attention to a material’s “perm rating,” which refers to a material’s vapor permeability. Materials with low perm ratings do the best job at protecting your crawl space from water vapor.
You also need to determine how thick the plastic needs to be (your choices generally range from 8mm to 20mm). If you don’t know how thick the plastic needs to be, there are three factors that you should consider. Firstly, how much water vapor is there in the air? If there is a lot, then you should go for the thicker plastic, as it will do a better job of protecting your crawl space. Secondly, consider what your crawl space floor is made of. If it is a rough material, like dirt, then you are going to want to use thicker plastic to protect against tearing. Finally, consider what is actually in your crawl space. If you have wiring or ductwork in your crawl space, then chances are someone will eventually have to service those. If people are going to be moving around on top of your plastic barrier, then you need to get a thicker plastic to prevent possible tears.
Many people probably aren’t familiar with the term “vapor barrier,” and even if they had heard the term before, many probably couldn’t tell you what they did or why they were important. Many probably don’t know that vapor barriers play a key role in protecting their homes from major issues like mold infections, structural damage, rusting ducts, and other household problems. If you are one of those people who doesn’t know what vapor barriers do and why they are important, then don’t worry, because you aren’t alone.
What do vapor barriers do?
Water vapor naturally arises out of the ground. Simply put, a crawl space vapor barrier’s job is to keep the water vapor out of your crawl space. It may sound like a simple job, but it is actually very important.
Why is it important?
You may be wondering why it is important to keep water vapor out of your crawl space. There are a couple reasons why.
First off, when water vapor gets into your crawl space, it causes mold. Because of the stack effect (the process by which air travels up from the bottom of your house, out through the top), much of the air you and your family breathes starts out in the crawl space. If you have mold in the crawl space, then the air because infected with dangerous mold spores and will carry an extremely unpleasant scent. But, decreasing the air quality isn’t the only danger mold poses. Certain types of mold can get into wooden structures and start to cause rot. Structural damage caused by mold is a major issue that homeowners have to be on the lookout for.
Water vapor does more than just cause mold though. For example, water vapor can begin to collect and potentially cause issues with ducts or pipes contained in the crawl space. Plenty of people have ductwork or piping running through their crawl space, and this is all very susceptible to rust if you don’t take steps to prevent water vapor from seeping into the crawl space. The same logic applies for any wiring that you have going through the crawl space. Obviously, it goes without saying that you don’t want to have anything electric mixing with water.
One last point to mention is that excessive moisture caused by water vapor tends to attract various types of pests. Rats, mice, termites, etc., are attracted to dark, damp environments; so a crawl space that isn’t adequately protected is more prone to infestation.
How can you get one installed?
If, after reading this, you desperately want a crawl space vapor barrier you have two options. First off, if you have a good amount of skill when it comes to handiwork, you can try installing a vapor barrier yourself. There are plenty of do-it-yourself guides on the internet that can help you install the vapor barrier yourself. The second option (and the recommended one) is to simply call up a professional and have them install one. If a barrier isn’t installed correctly, it won’t work. So, it is important that the job is done correctly.
Cleaning out your crawlspace isn’t usually something that requires professional help. After all, it is just moving around boxes and other assorted items around, why would anyone need professional help to do that? Well, usually that’s the case, but sometimes there is something wrong in the crawlspace, (mold, leaking water, etc.) that will require a professional to deal with. Here are some signs that indicate that you need some professional crawl space cleanup.
A crawlspace is always going to smell very dusty and dirty. But if you start to notice a strong mildew smell, that’s a sure sign that there is leaking somewhere in the crawl space, which is then encouraging the growth of mildew or other types of mold. Other smells, like say a strong smell of fecal matter, are a good sign you have an animal infestation. Finally, a strong sewage smell is probably a good sign that something has gone wrong with your sewage pipes. Strange smells are the first sign that something is seriously wrong with your crawl space and that you will need to get professional crawl space cleanup.
Animal carcasses or droppings
The next sure sign to watch out for are animal droppings or even worse, animal carcasses. The droppings and carcasses carry diseases and the handling of them should generally be left to professionals, due to the risk of infection. The actual animals themselves (because if there are carcasses or droppings, you can rest assured that there are lives one still running about) are also a massive nuisance. Mice and rats have a tendency to destroy wood and insulation, meaning that they can cause quite a bit of damage if not dealt with promptly.
Mold loves to grow in dark, damp, and poorly ventilated areas, so it finds a natural home in many crawl spaces. Unfortunately, if you spot mold (make sure to be thorough when checking, mold loves to grow on studs, support beams, etc.), it means that you are going to have to call a professional to deal with the mold and find the source of the mold growth. Generally speaking, working near mold without the proper safety equipment is dangerous, and so actually dealing with mold should be left to professionals. It is also important that you deal with mold infections promptly, to both prevent the spread of mold and to limit its negative health impacts.
Wet or otherwise damaged insulation
If you ever notice that the insulation in your crawl space is damp, moldy, or otherwise damaged, you are going to want to get professionals in to determine whether any of the insulation can be saved, and if not, to rip it out. There are a couple reasons for this. First off, if the insulation is damp it becomes a fertile breeding ground for mold. Secondly, wet insulation loses its effectiveness; depending on how wet the insulation is, you may be able to just dry it out, but in other cases, if the insulation is too wet, it will need to be replaced.
Crawl spaces are fertile breeding grounds for mold. If you haven’t taken steps to ensure that your crawl space is moisture free, then there is a good chance that your crawl space, may have a mold infestation. Thankfully, mold is relatively easy to get rid of if you know what you’re doing. But it should be noted, that if there is a lot of mold, then it is better to just call a licensed professional to deal with the mold problem. But if there is only a moderate amount of mold, you can deal with it yourself.
Get all the necessary equipment
The first thing to do is to gather all the equipment you are going to need to get rid of the mold. Make sure you have proper clothing; when cleaning mold you want to make sure you have clothing that covers your entire body (overalls are a good example). You also want to make sure you have eye protection, and that the crawl space is well ventilated, to prevent you from breathing in large amounts of mold spores. Finally, make sure you have all the tools you need to actually get rid of the mold (a scrubber, a mold removing solution, a soda blaster, etc.).
Find the source of the mold infestation
Your next step is going to be finding the source of the mold. Mold doesn’t just grow on its own, there has to be a way for moisture to be getting into your crawl space. So it is important that you identify the source of the moisture. There are a lot of possibilities (it could be a leaky pipe, improper ventilation, etc.), so make sure you do a thorough check of your crawl space. Before dealing with the mold, you need to deal with the moisture. A common method is to use a dehumidifier to dry out the crawl space, then moving in to deal with the mold.
Dealing with the mold
Once you have gotten the moisture dealt with, you can move onto actually removing the mold. The traditional method is to use a mold killing solution, such as bleach, to remove the mold. What you do is spray the solution on the moldy surfaces, let the solution seep in for a couple hours, and then proceed to manually scrub the mold away (make sure to regularly wash your scrubber, this prevents the mold from being spread around). This is of course extremely tedious, but it does work quite well.
Another possible method is to use abrasive blasting to remove mold. Abrasive blasting requires a specialized machine, which blasts things like dry ice particles against the mold infected areas. It is a bit harder and more expensive than the traditional method of mold removal. But the upside to this method is that removes mold quicker and more effectively. Also, abrasive blasting is able to get rid of mold in areas that would be hard to reach with a scrubber (like corners).
Here Are Some Easy Methods To Keep Your Crawl Space Water Free
It is important that if you have a crawl space, that you keep it water free. Letting water get into your crawl space is an easy to way to get mold, pest infestations, and structural damage. Now the most obvious method for keeping your crawl space dry is to install a vapor barrier. Vapor barriers are one of the most effective ways of keeping your crawl space dry, but there are some other methods that homeowners can try if they want to keep their crawl spaces bone dry.
Check your gutters
Believe it or not, keeping your gutters clean and in working order can help prevent water from getting into your crawl space. When gutters are clogged, water spills over the gutters and can land near your house’s foundation, where it can find its way into the crawl space. This is especially noticeable during periods of extended rainfall. So, if you want to waterproof your crawl space, try making a habit of cleaning out your gutters (homeowners should clear their gutters regularly anyways).
Likewise, you will also want to make sure that your gutter’s downspouts are working properly. Downspouts should be extended enough so that the water that comes out isn’t dumped close to the foundation. So, if you want to keep your crawl space free of water, make sure your downspouts are extended far enough and if they aren’t, fix them as quickly as possible.
Issues with landscaping
In order for water to properly drain away from your house, your yard should slope away from your house. This way, when it rains, water flows downhill, away from your house. Sometimes during the building process, the grading can be done improperly, which leads to water flowing towards your house’s foundation, where it can seep into the crawl space. In order to fix this, you are either going to need to hire professional landscapers, or take on the project yourself (but only if you have some experience with home landscaping).
Get a sump pump
Sump pumps are appliances that are installed in basements and crawl spaces to help prevent the buildup of water. Holes are dug and filled with float switches. As water fills the holes, the switches are activated and the sump pump will suck the water out and prevent it from overflowing into your crawl space. If you choose to get a sump pump installed, be aware that they require regular maintenance (they can get clogged with debris, and the float switch can often get stuck). If you live in an area that gets heavy rainfall, you should seriously consider investing in a sump pump (or maybe even two), they are great ways to keep water out of your crawl space.
As stated earlier, the most effective way to waterproof your crawl space is to invest in a vapor barrier; but if you feel that a barrier is not enough, then these are some other methods you can try to keep your crawl space free of water.
To many people, a wet crawl space may not seem like a big deal. And a lot of people may be tempted to put off dealing with a wet crawl space because they don’t want to spend the money to properly dry out the crawl space. The truth is though, if you don’t deal with a wet crawl space quickly, you are going to have to spend a lot more money down the line to deal with all the problems associated with a wet crawl space. Here are just a few examples of problems that you will have to deal with if you don’t react quickly to a wet crawl space.
A lot of different kinds of pests (termites, ants, rats, mice, etc.) love damp, dark spaces to set up their nests. So a wet crawl space tends to attract these various types of pests. Not only can these pests do a lot of damage to your house (anyone who has ever had a serious termite or rat infestation can attest to that), but you are also going to have to pay a professional to get rid of them. Professional pest removal is both time consuming and expensive, so if you can deal with a wet crawl space before pests get into it, you will save yourself a lot of money and time.
If you let a wet crawl space go unattended, you are almost certainly going to end up with a serious mold infestation. Now depending on the level of mold, it may not be too expensive to deal with it. If there is only a little bit of mold, then you can probably take care of it yourself with a scrubber and some bleach. But, if there is a lot of mold, then you are going to have to call a professional mold remediation service, and that is going to cost you. If you deal with a wet crawl space quickly, you can avoid having to deal with a serious mold infestation.
If you don’t respond quickly to a wet crawl space, you run the risk of things within the crawl space, like joists, pipes, ductwork, wiring, etc., becoming damaged due to prolonged exposure to moisture. Wooden structures can begin to rot and things like ductwork and pipes can begin to even rust. These issues are going to need to be fixed by licensed professionals, which will cost you a lot of money.
If your crawl space is wet, then there is a strong possibility that any insulation in the crawl space may also be wet. Wet insulation is fairly useless. This means that the energy efficiency of your house is going to go down and you are going to have to spend even more to heat or cool your house. It’s not a huge cost, but it can add up over time.
So, don’t delay dealing with a wet crawl space, you are only going to end up costing yourself more money in the long run.
Wet, possibly water-logged… Dirty, covered in trash… Moldy, rotten… smelly, disgusting… Or Worse, humidity rots the exposed metal and cracks the Foundation!! Nobody wants to look at their Crawl-Space… But look what happens if you don’t!! “But what happened? Don’t I have vents down there?” People ask. Actually: even though vents are supposed to allow […]
Do I Need a Sump Pump System? In general, if there’s a significant moisture problem in your Crawl-Space or Basement, you do need a Sump Pump. Modern sump pumps are extremely reliable and the ones we install are rated to work without problems for many, many years. The standard cast-iron 1/3hp Zoeller pump we install […]
What’s the first things everyone thinks of, when thinking about Basements? Basements smell musty, and they leak. You need a sump-pump, which is loud, and can fail. Basement Before & After “So why” You ask, “would I want to bother with any of this? Isn’t the only way of stopping water from getting in my basement, is to […]
25- year guarantee on the materials (piping, moisture barrier polyethylene, etc.)
10 year free replacement of the sump-pump, which includes installation fees
5 year guarantee on workmanship