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mhp8982 03-05-2011 10:42 PM

Flooding in Wood Foundation
 
We live in a house with a wood foundation, and it has an enclosed crawl space. There is no external entrance to it.. the entrance is in our master bedroom walk in closet. I'm no professional.. so those of you know know more about this, might know what I"m talking about.. but I believe there is no duct work, the heating system is just open into the crawl space.. and it sends it through there and up through the vents to heat the house...if that made any sense.

anyway.. here in Indiana where I live we've had some bad flooding the past week. Last Monday when we woke up we were completely flooded in. Later in the day we noticed the heat wasn't hot.. we checked the furnace and it was fine.. so we looked in the crawlspace and found that it was completely flooded.. luckily it didn't touch the floors.. it was about 3 inches from hitting the floors. We rented a pump and got most all of the water out.. the rest of it dried up by the next day. After it dried up, we noticed some of the plastic that is down, has some holes in it... so first I wasn't sure how we should fix this? or will it be a problem?

Last night we had a ton more rain, it didn't flood as bad.. and we watched it all night... and it stayed dry until this morning when it flooded the most. There isn't much water down there.. just a few little puddles. It rained all day. I don't think it's a constant problem.. only with this really heavy bad rain.. and it's flooding everywhere.... cause we've never noticed this before. I figure it'll be dried up by tomorrow again..it's not enough to need pumped out or anything.

Anyway.. I'm not sure with it being enclosed like that if we should be worried about any damage down there? It dries up quick.. and with the heating system blowing the hot air down there... it helps a lot. Should this dry it up enough to keep mold from happening. Would these couple of cases of flooding cause mold.. or would it take several times of this happening to do that? Nothing was damaged in the acutal house..or anything.. and the only thing down there are cable cords.. other than that it's empty.. Like I said, I don't think this happens on a regular basis when it rains... because it rained all day yesterday and last night.. and it was fine, until the really heavy flooding rain started. And this has never happened any other time it's rained while we've been here.

Is there anything we can do to help protect it from now on? We do have gutter extenders to keep the water away from the foundation. Is there anything we need to do to help prevent mold or anything? Any other thoughts or ideas or things we should be concerned about?

thanks so much!!

itsreallyconc 03-06-2011 06:16 AM

wood foundations may be fine in some circumstances but not when exposed to water on even an irregular basis,,, there should be immediate steps taken to prevent this condition including, but not limited to, installing a vapor barrier, trench drain, sump, pump, & check valve.

you'll, no doubt, get many more comments posted w/more opinions but we do this work for a living,,, if there's standing water outside the home such as a flood, you'll still have done the best you can,,, we'd certainly be concerned & resolve it now,,, worry is for when you do nothing.

Wildie 03-06-2011 10:28 AM

You didn't say if you have a concrete floor in the crawl space.
You did say that there is plastic sheeting down there, so I assume that its a dirt floor.
If you have major flooding outside, hydrostatic pressure will allow water to move up through the floor. So even if the wood foundation is properly sealed, a flood such as you have just experienced, water will come up through the floor.
The foundation is likely built from pressure treated lumber, so its unlikely that the water would damage this.
I would suggest that the first priority would be to install a sump pump and new plastic vapor barrier.
Having a concrete floor would be nice, but this is a big budget undertaking.

waterman1971 03-06-2011 10:32 AM

Hot air actually flows throughout the entire crawlspace? This air heats the home? No ductwork? That is amazing, learn something new everyday.

Jackofall1 03-06-2011 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by waterman1971 (Post 603575)
Hot air actually flows throughout the entire crawlspace? This air heats the home? No ductwork? That is amazing, learn something new everyday.

Is that even legal? I would think not! You really need a sump pit and pump badly, and some ducting. Hows the moldy smell in the house, smell like wet dirt?

Mark

waterman1971 03-06-2011 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jackofall1 (Post 603596)
Is that even legal? I would think not! You really need a sump pit and pump badly, and some ducting. Hows the moldy smell in the house, smell like wet dirt?

Mark

I was not trying to be sarcastic or imply the homeowner was lying, I was just trying to learn about something new.

mhp8982 03-06-2011 02:03 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I've been told by many people and the inspectors when we bought the house that the heating system is fine. Here is what the inspection says..

"HVAC system does not contain supply ductwork. Main plenum blows conditioned air into crawlspace and is forced up through registers in floor. This is done to help keep crawlspace conditioned and dry, reducing potential damage to wood foundation floor construction."

The first picture shows this....

And apparently there is a sump pit, but no sump pump... that is the 2nd picture.. and here is what it says about that.

"A sump pit was located near entrance to crawlspace, however no sump pump installed. Crawlspace appear sto stay dry and does not appear to have ever needed a sump pump. If standing water ever persists in crawlspace in future, recommend installing pump and routing drain to exterior away from foundation"

Today it is completely dry as I thought it would be.. yes there's a little smell.. but not horrible. It's getting better. I was going to say, we have never had any flooding problems or standing water until these big storms hit.. where everyone was getting flooded. I think maybe we could just watch it and do like the inspector said, and if it becomes a persistent problem, we can have a sump pump installed.

I was also wondering.. I heard if you put a lot of mulch around the house and slant it at about 5%.. around the foundation, it helps protect the wood foundation, do you know if this is true?

We already have the extenders on the gutters to keep the water away from the foundation on the outside.. the best we can. But everyone who has gone down there in the crawl space, like the cable guy, and the inspector.. said they can't believe how dry it stays down there.

mhp8982 03-06-2011 02:10 PM

oh and the house stays heated very well and heats quickly.. I know it has nothing to do with the crawlspace but it is amazingly well insulated because our gas bill was very low for the extra cold/snowy winter we had. Once heated, it stays heated for a long time, the furnace barely runs it seems..

waterman1971 03-06-2011 02:18 PM

That is pretty cool. Do spiders and insects crawl up through the floor registers? Are the registers protected with insect screening? I am sorry for hijacking your thread.

Jackofall1 03-06-2011 02:18 PM

Alrighty then, I don't think I would go that route but it is what it is.

As for the sump, I would be looking at installing a pump as soon as possible, this will help insure the crawlspace stays dry. You should have a look at the sump pit to ensure that it is has drain piping tied to it and is not just a hole in the ground.

Mark

mhp8982 03-06-2011 02:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by waterman1971 (Post 603791)
That is pretty cool. Do spiders and insects crawl up through the floor registers? Are the registers protected with insect screening? I am sorry for hijacking your thread.

no, we haven't had any problems with that at all. It is completely enclosed. the entrance is in our bedroom closet.. can't get to it from the outside.

Daniel Holzman 03-06-2011 03:31 PM

From your description of the flooding, it sounds like a large area was under water. Given those conditions, where would you drain your sump pump to? In order for a sump pump to work, you have to connect the pit to either a storm drain that is not flooded, or a low area such as a creek that can carry the water away. From your description, such an area may not be available, in which case the sump pump would simply recycle the water from your crawl space to outside, and back into the crawl space.

mhp8982 03-06-2011 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman (Post 603836)
From your description of the flooding, it sounds like a large area was under water. Given those conditions, where would you drain your sump pump to? In order for a sump pump to work, you have to connect the pit to either a storm drain that is not flooded, or a low area such as a creek that can carry the water away. From your description, such an area may not be available, in which case the sump pump would simply recycle the water from your crawl space to outside, and back into the crawl space.

You're probably right, I don't think there was much we could do in this condition.. with everything under water. We rented a pump to get the water out from Monday.. but we waited til the water had pretty much completely receded to do it. It worked fine. I think i'll watch for t his to happen in normal conditions when it rains... and if it does, then we will look into that. lots of places were under water and had lots of flooding all over the area. So it was probably bound to happen.. I'm just glad it didn't hit our floors and we got it out. It's dried up nicely. So far it hasn't flooded with just regular rain.

Does anyone know about the mulch thing?

Gary in WA 03-06-2011 09:06 PM

Plenum systems are fine, though I would make sure that horizontal trunk is dry inside as the supply hole is elevated above the bottom somewhat. The wiring concerns me unless rated "Direct burial".

P.t. wood is not waterproof; http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...-building-code

http://www.thompsonswaterseal.com/advice/faq.cfm

Gary

Derek1980 03-09-2011 01:15 PM

I would recommend placing a drain tile with sock along the perimeter of your foundation walls in your crawlspace, make sure you place the drain tile about 10 inches away from your foundation walls to make sure that you do not disrupt the integrity of your foundation. Make sure that both ends of the drain tile will end at your sump pump. Then make sure that your sump pump has a proper discharge mechanism. I would also consider placing a dehumidifier into your crawlspace to keep the moisture levels down, to prevent your wood from rotting or producing mold.


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