Water can be a destructive force. Flowing water can create canyons, erode mountains and slowly change landscapes. Water can also cause many issues for homes. Accumulated water is a conducive condition to wood destroying insects and organisms, and may also cause the foundation to settle and possibly fail. With some knowledge moisture issues can be taken care of without the need to consult a contractor in many cases.
If you have water flowing or gathering in to your basement or crawl space there are some possible causes for you to examine first. Walk around your home and look at the ground surrounding the foundation. This is also called grading. The ground should slope down and away from the home. This will help rain water and melting snow to naturally flow away form the house. Try for a slope of 10 degrees for at least 6 feet.
Along with the grading issue another potential cause for water accumulation in the crawl space or basement can be the downspouts. This assumes of course that the house already has gutters and downspouts. During home inspections that I perform for home buyers I often find downspouts that do not extend far from the home. If the downspout does extend to away for several feet and to ground that slopes down and away from the home then all the water coming down the downspout will gather at the foundation and lead to problems. The farther you can get the water to flow away from your home the better. If the downspout enters in to a drain pipe that will carry the water even farther away. During a rain consider going outside to make sure that the buried drain line is not clogged. This task can also be accomplished with a garden hose.
Another issue that can result in water accumulating in crawl spaces and entering basements is if the gutters are clogged. Gutters are designed to collect water as it flows off the roof and to then direct that water in to the downspouts where the water will then be taken away from the home. If the gutters are clogged then the water will not be directed away, instead the water will overflow the gutters and pour over the side to the foundation where it may eventually enter the crawl space or basement. If you are not capable or do not desire to clear your own gutters contact a local gutter sweep to do this typical twice a year task.
By ensuring that the above situations are corrected or improved a large portion of water issues can be taken care of and help maintain a home that is both structurally sound and healthy.
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