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How to Keep Water Out of a Crawl Space

Water in your home's crawl space can create a whole host of problems, from foundation damage to mold and mildew growth. The best way to prevent these problems is to keep water from entering the crawl space. Cleaning gutters and extending downspouts farther from the foundation will offer immediate relief if the problem isn't caused by a high water table. More sophisticated drainage systems might be necessary for homes that can't help but come in contact with water.

  1. Keep gutters clean and free of debris. Clogged gutters cause water to pool, drain down the side of the house and end up in collecting in the soil around the foundation, where it can enter the crawl space.

  2. Position downspouts so all water draining from the gutters runs away from the house -- at least 6 feet away, if not more. Inspect every part of the house for areas where water might need to be diverted away from it.

  3. Keep runoff from downspouts from flowing into window wells, if there are any. Install plastic covers over window wells to waterproof them.

  4. Ensure that the ground gradually slopes away from the house. The Kansas State University Extension recommends a slope of 1 inch per foot, extending 15 feet away from the foundation. Backfill around the foundation as it settles over time to maintain the slope, the extension recommends.

  5. Repair any leaks in drains, pipes or hot-water return lines that enter the crawl space.

  6. Insulate cold-water pipes in the crawl space to prevent condensation buildup.

  7. Reduce water use as much as possible during a sewer system backup, if your home is prone to them.

  8. Install footing drains when building a home that will be vulnerable to water damage from high water tables. These drains collect water from the foundation and send it to another drainage site. Make them slope downhill or down a slight grade, or install a pump system.

About the Author

Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Dannah Swift has been writing since 2009. She writes about green living, careers and the home garden. Her writing has appeared on various websites. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing a certificate in paralegal studies.