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As pier and beam home owners know, crawlspaces in spite of their practicality and the many advantages that they offer, are unfortunately quite prone to moisture, standing water, mold and pests. But perhaps their greater disadvantage (let’s face it however, soil moisture is the nemesis of every single home in our state, regardless of what type of foundation you have) is surface water.

Specially during the rain season when rainfall can vary from 1’’ to 5’’ in a single day. Surface water can lead to many problems, the most important one being foundation damage. It can lead to rotting of the wooden beam and joists supporting your structure, not to mention sagging and buckling floors and uneven door and window frames. High humidity levels will also become perfect environment for mold and mildew to thrive.

And if left unchecked even small amounts of water sitting beneath your house could lead to movement and sinking of the foundation.

So the question is: what can we do to prevent this? Installing a sump is a great way to deal with this issues. A sump pump is basically a device made for pumping water out of low lying areas. By relocating the water they stop moisture from accumulating on the surface of the ground. It will prevent flooding and it is a great tool to have around if you have poor water drainage.

There are different types of sump pumps but the most commonly used are automatic. They have sensors which are called float activators and are also comprised of a catch basin. This way when the sensors detect that water has reached an undesirable level turn on the pump automatically, pumping water out of the crawlspace. Sump pumps are a specially good drainage solution when you have an area where water comes in from several different directions, moving water away quite quickly therefore minimizing possible damages to the foundation. And given how flooding is an issue in our metroplex these pumps have become increasingly popular.

Sump pumps however are very difficult to install when the ground is saturated with water, so the ideal thing is to wait to install it once it is relatively dry. And in order to make the sump pump a more effective way of getting rid of the water the ground under the house will have to be slopped to a central collection point.

One thing to take into account is that sump pumps will always work better when in conjunction with other means to get rainwater away from your home. Sometimes crawlspaces are lower than the yard around them so water will naturally flow into it. So the first thing to do is keep water away from the crawlspace as much as possible and this can be achieved by surface drainage systems or by trying to slope the ground away from your home.

Circling your home with a french drain is a great way to deal with rainwater and you can actually connect the sump pump to your french drain so the water can be more effectively redirected away from your foundation.

Remember that if there are any concerns about standing water and crawl spaces, contacting a qualified drainage contractor is the best course of action. And in case you suspect there might already be some foundation damage, or you would just like to make sure of its state or to know  more about different prevention and maintenance services for your foundation don’t hesitate to call us. You and your foundation will be happy you did.

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