WHO TO CALL FOR
WATER IN CRAWL
Finding water in your crawl space can be a shocking discovery for a homeowner. Although you may not check on – or even think about – your crawl space very often, it is still important to make sure it is dry and regularly maintained. A damp crawl space can lead to structural issues with your home as well as mold spreading to other parts of your house.
This guide will walk you through the phone calls you should make if and when you do find water in your crawl space. For a more thorough explanation of the potential causes and remediations, see our guide on What Causes Water in a Crawl Space and How to Fix it.
If you have a good home insurance policy, then there’s a strong chance that your insurance company will cover the cost of water damage. Assuming that there is no immediate danger from the water in your crawl space, your first call, therefore, should be to your insurance company to find out if you’re covered.
As a general rule, the insurance company will cover water damage that is ‘sudden and internal.’ In practice, this means that they will cover the following causes of water in the crawl space.
Insurance companies WILL cover:
Where an insurance company will not cover water damage is where the water was caused by one of the causes listed below.
Insurance companies will NOT cover:
Seepage from the ground
Backups from water or sewage pipes
Poor maintenance of pipes
If the cause is one of those covered by your policy, you are in luck. Homeowners insurance covers the structure of the home, which usually means that they will cover water in your crawl space because it presents a real danger to the structure of the house. Moreover, they will cover personal belongings that may have been damaged.
If you’ve previously had work done on your home, you should call your previous contractors in case the issue is a result of their work.
There’s a chance that the water in your crawl space as a consequence of recent contractor work if you’ve had any recent (i.e. within the last three months) work done on the following areas:
That’s not to say that the contractors are necessarily to blame, or have undertaken poor-quality work. However, if they provided a warranty for their services, you may be able to get them to fix their work without charge.
Although it is too late when the water is already in your crawl space, if you have any type of contractors working on your home, you should always ask about the warranty provided.
The four types of warranties are:
If you have had waterproofing work undertaken on your home then you should call the company that provided the work. Again, be calm rather than accusatory; the company will most likely look to rectify their mistake as soon as possible.
Ultimately, if you have a leak in your crawl space, you’ll need to get it fixed, and this will involve some level of waterproofing. You can do some of the work yourself with things like hydraulic cement or other materials such as waterproof paint or paneling (to be discussed below). However, the first step is to speak to an expert to see what they recommend.
The average cost of waterproofing a crawl space is around $5,000. If you are going to spend this much, be sure to get a few quotes and a consensus on the best course of action.
After all, if the waterproofing is done right, you won’t need to spend any additional money on the problem.
If you are unsure as to the source of the water in your crawl space, call a plumbing company. A plumber will be able to visit your home and make a judgment on where the water is coming from.
If the water has come from a burst pipe or an overflow somewhere, the plumber may also be able to stem the flow of water and thereby solve the most immediate problem.
Where a plumber will not be able to help is if the water has entered your home from outside, since this is a problem with the structure of your house and with the waterproofing of your crawl space. However, a plumber will usually be able to determine if this is the case and make recommendations based on this.
If water is in your crawl space as a result of heavy rains or storms, you may have a problem with the drainage in your home. If your sump pump is not working, or your drains have become clogged, a plumber will be able to fix the problem.
If water has entered into your crawl space then there is a chance that it has come through cracks in the foundation of your home.
This obviously suggests larger problems. If the plumber identifies the foundation as being the cause of the water in your crawl space, then your next call should be to a company that specializes in foundation repair.
If you do need to get your foundations repaired, then the costs can run to between $5,000 and $10,000.
However, you can do some of the work yourself, such as patching holes in the wall with hydraulic cement paste. This option will cost around $15 for a 10lb pail.
As mentioned above, one of the primary causes of water entering your home can be the grading of your yard. If your yard is sloped towards your home, water will run and pool near your home. The hydrostatic pressure generated will eventually cause cracks in the foundation, which will lead to water entering your crawl space.
A second potential cause of water in your crawl space is your flower beds. Overwatering can lead to the same problem outlined above. Put another way, you don’t want water pooling around your home.
Instead, you want it running off towards the street, where it can flow safely into a storm drain.
Some solutions that your landscaper may suggest are as follows:
|REGRADING||Will lead to water running |
away from your home
|Can be disruptive and |
|INSTALLING A FRENCH DRAIN||Will prevent hydrostatic |
pressure from building
|Can become clogged with|
|$1,000 - |
|Simple and cheap to do||Will not necessarily solve|
the problem of poor
|$200 - $600|
It may be the case that your crawl space is flooded because of a burst pipe or backed-up sewage. In this instance, you’ll need to notify the city or your local authority.
When you think of a burst water main, you imagine an above-ground spray; however, the truth can be a little less dramatic. Many city water mains are in old pipes, and tend to crack, rather than ‘explode.’
The following are signs you have a break in a water main:
If you do have any of these signs, you should call 311, or whatever your city’s equivalent is. This is a non-emergency phone number to alert your local government to the problem.
You may be in luck – if it’s the city’s fault, then the city will pay to have it replaced, and your insurance may cover any costs you incur.
Since you most likely don’t use your crawl space, it’s unlikely that you’ll notice water in there immediately. Additionally, if there’s only a small amount of water, it may not seem too problematic.
However, water in your crawl space can have major ramifications if not addressed quickly.
It can weaken the foundation of your home. If water has seeped in through cracks in the wall, then it can lead to more cracks.
It can lead to mold spreading through your home very quickly.
Water in your crawl space is also symptomatic of wider structural issues, such as a fault with waterproofing.
Knowing who to call, therefore, will get the underlying problem addressed as quickly as possible. It can also end up saving you a lot of money if the solution is covered under either insurance or warranty.