Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 38 seconds
Nobody really wants to admit that they have one especially if you haven’t been down there for a while or ever. I just bought a new to me 1988 home and what I found told a story. Fortunately, I had a prepurchase inspection and so there was not much shocking to deal with. As a teaching tool, here is what I found and what I did not find.
What I Found
- I knew that there had been a substantial flood. 30K worth and so there was a nice new Visqueen on top of the old stuff which I thought was weird.
- The ground was flat and free of debris
- The metal ductwork had insulation falling off of it. The insulated flex lines were well supported
- The plumbing lines were well supported.
- The gas line was well supported.
- There were no open electrical boxes
- When I started to reattach the insulation by wrapping it all the way around the duct I detected that the ductwork had separated and was filling the crawl space with nice warm air.
- At some point, the dryer vent had fallen off and had filled the crawl space with warm air and lint was hanging all over the joists in a focal area of about 10′ square.
- The PEX plumbing repair was obviously needed and there were polybutylene pipes everywhere. (A ticking timebomb) In this shot, the new PEX is installed already.
- I did see that the shower pan drain was very loose and leaking so I loosened it further and added silicone to the connection and tightened it back into place.
What I Did Not Find
- Wet areas or previously wet areas with high water lines.
- Cut floor joists. This is the number one bad thing we find when looking at crawl spaces.
- Debris. What a convenient place to store debris. This house was clean but most I see are a junkyard of old heating and plumbing parts. general trash and junk.
- Crawl space vents that were in good working order. Closable in winter and openable in Spring-Fall.
- Evidence of infestation, no spider webs or dead or live mice.
- No foul odor.
- Evidence of bio growth or any plants or roots.
- Connection from the crawlspace into the envelope of the home ( This space like the attic must remain completely separated from the living space).
Frightening Thing I have Found in Crawl Spaces
As a Paramedic, my favorite question included something like what was the worst thing you ever saw. I refuse to answer that one but here are some things as a contractor I am willing to share.
- I saw a frog infestation, yes they were cute little guys that were hopping up into her home from the crawl access hatch. The soil was clay and she had a pond in her crawl space because of the shallow water table.
- I went into a crawl with mold everywhere. I couldn’t believe it then I freaked out once I figured out what was going on. A supply line had fallen off and was providing warm moist air to a test tube of mold growth.
- Spyders are a thing and Black Widdow spiders were everywhere. This was not a safe place to be. It needed a bug bomb first.
- The crawl space access hatch was opened to see water just below it like a lake. 53,000 gallons were pumped out. The pressurized irrigation was the culprit. Water filled his crawl from an opened foundation vent caused by a ball valve in the wrong position. (OOPS)
Crawl spaces are for running mechanical lines and keeping clean of debris and moisture. This is a good place to hide a safe and have good access from below to things like the water shut-off valve. (I had mine relocated into a wall for faster access). It needs to be rodent and infestation-free and mold-free. Not looking down there is not an option, it should be calendared for an inspection because things change and you must be confident that you are not experiencing a problem.
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about fixing stuff, call 208-639-1808
I do these things during non-Levco time to be sure it doesn’t interfere with the Remodeling business. Repairing things and understanding homes is just another passion of mine.