Is your crawl space filled with water after a burst pipe?
If so, you’re not alone!
ServiceMaster of Lake Shore provides crawl space water removal and restoration services throughout Chicago and the suburbs, so we’re familiar with this unpleasant situation.
We’ve used our expertise to compile a complete guide on what to do about a burst pipe in your crawl space.
Let’s start now.
Why Do Pipes Burst in Crawl Spaces?
Before we focus on fixing the problem, let’s determine why it happened in the first place.
Here are a few of the most common reasons pipes burst in crawl spaces:
1. Cold weather
The elements can wreak havoc on your crawl space if you live in an area with cold, harsh winters.
Since crawl spaces are usually less insulated than the rest of the home, the pipes within them are vulnerable to freezing temperatures.
When the water inside of pipes in your crawl space freezes, it expands and can cause the pipe to burst.
2. High water pressure
High water pressure can damage pipes and cause them to burst. This is especially true for pipes weakened by corrosion, age, or other factors.
3. Corrosion and Aging
Over time, metal water pipes can experience corrosion. Corrosion weakens the pipes and decreases the maximum pressure they can withstand.
Corrosion may also clog the pipes, thereby increasing their internal water pressure.
5 Signs of a Burst Pipe in your Crawl Space
Wondering how to know if you have a burst pipe in your crawl space? Look for these telltale signs:
- Your water pressure is unreliable. If your water pressure increases and decreases randomly, the problem could be a burst pipe down in the crawl space.
- The water coming from your taps is discolored. Over time, burst pipes start to rust. That rust leaks into the water passing through them, giving it a brownish tint.
- The water smells bad. If you’ve noticed that the water from your taps has an odor, it could mean there’s a leaking sewage pipe somewhere in your crawl space.
- You can hear water. If you hear dripping or whooshing sounds from your crawl space, it could indicate a pipe leak in your crawl space.
- Your water bill is suddenly very high. Has your water bill skyrocketed? If so, a broken pipe in your crawl space could be wasting water.
How to Dry Out Your Crawl Space After a Pipe Burst
While it’s an often-overlooked area of the home, the crawl space is the foundation of your house.
As such, it’s an important area to maintain and protect.
If a burst pipe has impacted your crawl space, follow these steps to dry the area out:
1. Stop the flow of water
First things first, you’ll need to stop the flow of water. The fastest way to do this is to turn off your home’s main water supply valve.
If you can’t stop the water because it’s coming from a burst city pipe outside your home, contact your local water department immediately.
2. Clean up the water
Next, you’ll want to clean up as much water as possible. Most people use towels, mops, or pumps to do this.
Be advised, however, that this can be a dangerous process. Water damage is divided into three categories: category 1, category 2, and category 3 damage.
Category 1 water is potable and safe to clean up on your own. Category 2 and 3 water contains varying degrees of contamination and may not be safe to clean up on your own.
To protect yourself and your home, contact a crawl space water damage cleanup expert like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore in Chicago to protect yourself and your home.
Our team will evaluate the severity and source of your water damage and make a cleanup plan that protects your space and the people in it.
3. Dry the crawl space
Once you’ve removed excess water, it’s time to dry the crawl space.
Even though the standing water is gone, building materials like foundation walls, joists, studs, and drywall will still be damp and damaged.
We recommend using high-volume fans or industrial-grade dehumidifiers for the fastest drying time. These powerful tools help remove excess moisture and prevent mold and mildew growth.
Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we utilize a wide selection of industrial-grade drying equipment to dehumidify and dry crawl spaces like yours.
4. Clean and deodorize
Next, you’ll need to clean and deodorize the space.
Use EPA-approved cleaning products to treat any signs of mold and get rid of leftover bacteria.
You’ll also want to use an air scrubber to eliminate lingering odors.
5. Repair your crawl space
Finally, you’ll need to repair your crawl space.
Depending on the extent of your water damage, this may mean replacing rotted wood or repairing damaged bricks or other building materials.
For comprehensive repair you can trust, rely on ServiceMaster of Lake Shore if you’re in the Chicagoland area. Our team provides professional water damage restoration services to make your crawl space feel new once more.
What are the Dangers of Water in Crawl Spaces?
The negative effects of water in your basement go beyond some soggy drywall and a big mess.
Here are a few of the major problems a wet crawl space can cause:
1. High energy bills
Dampness in your crawl space creates a cool environment. In that case, your home must work harder to keep the temperature up. This consumes more energy and leads to higher utility bills.
Mold can start to form in just 24-48 hours of water exposure, and it grows quickly.
Because of this, even a little water in your crawl space can lead to an out-of-control mold problem.
When inhaled, mold spores can cause respiratory problems and make you and your family sick.
3. Pests and Dust Mites
Dust mites and pests like termites, cockroaches, and spiders love damp, humid environments.
If your crawl space provides an ideal habitat, these pests will set up shop within it, leaving droppings that float through your HVAC system and cause adverse health effects, like allergies and asthma.
How to Prevent Water Leaks in Your Crawl Space
Ultimately, it’s easier to prevent water leaks than repair them. With that in mind, here are a few smart tips to keep your crawl space dry:
- Test your water pressure. Purchase an at-home water pressure gauge, measure the PSI in your pipes, and keep it between 40-60 PSI.
- Address corrosion at the source. Protect your pipes from corrosion by investing in plumbing pipes treated with anti-corrosive finishes, preventing high water pressure or water temperature, “softening” your water, and investing in routine plumbing services.
- Insulate pipes in cold weather. Before winter rolls around, learn how to avoid frozen pipes. One option is to protect your pipes by wrapping them in insulative pipe wrap. You can also crack the door leading to your crawl space. This promotes airflow and raises the temperature of your crawl space below freezing.
- Install a sump pump. A sump pump removes water if there is a leak or flood in your crawl space.
- Keep water away from your foundation. Clean your gutters, add a moisture barrier to the ground of your crawl space, and fix foundation cracks to keep water away from your foundation that can lead to water damage.
Has a Pipe Burst in Your Chicago Crawl Space? We Can Help!
Are you dealing with a burst pipe in your crawl space? You don’t need to confront it alone! Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Lake Shore, we provide comprehensive burst pipe and water damage restoration services for clients in and around the Chicago area.
Contact us today to learn more or to submit your service request!
Crawl Space Burst Pipe FAQs
For water damage restoration services you can trust, call an experienced water damage restoration professional like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore in Chicago.
In older homes, you may have some water in the crawl space after a storm or heavy rain. Any water infiltrating your crawl space should evaporate or drain out quickly. If the water doesn’t subside (or is not removed), it can create mold or mildew growth.
In most cases, a dehumidifier set between 30%-45% will be adequate to dry out a crawl space in a day or less, although the specific timeline depends on the size of your crawl space and the amount of water present.
In most cases, the answer is no. Leaving a crawl space to dry out on its own may result in excess moisture in your crawl space, which can create subsequent problems like mold and mildew growth.