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  1. #1
    David J. Edens's Avatar
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    Default Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Okay gentlemen (and the occasional lady out there)- the crawlspace for a house inspection today was on a mostly level lot and the back right corner had a positive slight slope. The crawlspace was almost completely dry under the moisture barrier except for about a gallon of standing water near a block pier. It rain hard yesterday. How should I word the treatment of this without overblowing it-or am I? How much water is too much before we recommend a waterproofing contractor? Thanks again!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by David J. Edens View Post
    Okay gentlemen (and the occasional lady out there)- the crawlspace for a house inspection today was on a mostly level lot and the back right corner had a positive slight slope. The crawlspace was almost completely dry under the moisture barrier except for about a gallon of standing water near a block pier. It rain hard yesterday. How should I word the treatment of this without overblowing it-or am I? How much water is too much before we recommend a waterproofing contractor? Thanks again!
    David,

    I see moisture in crawlspaces quite often. In my opinion, as long as the ventilation is adequate, some moisture/water is not necessarily anything to worry about. However, if you saw standing water marks on the foundation, that would indicate higher levels of water that might be a problem.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Minor Crawlspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    However, if you saw standing water marks on the foundation, that would indicate higher levels of water that might be a problem.
    Even then it is not always something to worry about.

    In South Florida, in old Hollywood, there are areas of the city which are known to flood when it rains hard, and I do mean flood.

    The homes are from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and have crawlspaces which typically have about 2 feet below the floor joist to the ground.

    I would frequently go in those crawlspaces and find high water lines, hundreds of different high water levels, on the foundation walls. The crawlspaces were designed to be high enough, and open enough, that the water never ever quite got to the height of the floor framing, some showed high water lines within a 1" of the floor framing, but those would be the highest high water lines.

    With all the ventilation they had, when the rains left and the water subsided, which would take several days to a week in cases, it all dried out and there were no ill effects from the water.

    That is, unless you count high subterranean termite pressure (very high count of termite colonies) as an ill effect from the water.

    There was a lot of termite damage on those older homes, because there were so many termites around that area.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Had a home sometime back on top of a little hill. and the sub-structure was 6" of standing water all the time. very odd. some kind of a spring.

    As Gunnar stated as long as the ventilation is very strong standing water will have no effect. part of this is due to our are in Calif. back east. and in Jerry's area this may not be a very good thing under any condition.
    I like a very dry sub-structure with very strong ventilation. makes for a happy home. in the subarea that is.

    Wood boring beetles are a bigger problem out west the the sub-termite.
    if i find beetles the damage is 10 to 20 K if i find sub-termites 1 to 3 K.

    Best

    Ron


  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. That's all I have to add to that.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm and Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Best

    Ron


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    A couple of bummer hummers !

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    David
    I think that having standing water or evidence of standing water, is not normal, being that it is "not normal" it should be reported.
    Where Jerry lives flooding may be a regular and normal occurrence.
    If in your area it is normal to have water in the crawl, well then, you might just let it go. However, just by your asking, I think it's not.
    As for recommending a waterproofing contractor.
    Do you believe it's needed?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  9. #9
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    David yes do report it. i just state to have the condition inspected by a licensed contractor. if i can not find out just how the water is getting in.
    I don't like plastic in sub-areas. can't see the dirt can't see any problems. and we get water under the plastic and on top of the plastic but the problen never got corrected.

    Best

    Ron

    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 11-26-2008 at 11:58 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Water in a crawl here is always a problem. With our expansive clay soils it is going to be a problem just like water standing next to a foundation due to improper grading on the outside.
    I would be asking how the water got in, how is it going to get out, and what effect is it going to have on the structure.

    Jim Luttrall
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    When you see water in the crawlspace you'd better be extra careful for sure. We lost an inspector several years ago in the Dallas area who was electrocuted while crawling under a home with some water ponding. Live wiring was laying on the ground. As soon as he crawled over it, the wire hit the moisture and that was it.

    Fireman had to cut a hole in the flooring to remove his body.

    rick


  12. #12
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Thanks Jim and Rick. I did not have the energy to add more than my Hmmmmm last night.


    Even if you are in a flooding area it is still not alright in the slightest to never mind have standing water but there needs to be a means of getting rid of it and the moist soil. Water in or just a damp crawl is absolutely good for nothing and only causes a whole host of problems. Report the standing water and also go further into it to take any means necessary to remove the moisture as well.

    • As far as Ricks post about water in a crawl. I do not go in crawls that have mucky soil in them or there is large amounts as in all over water in them. If there are wires in the crawl I never crawl over them. I just report them.



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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Ted,

    I know several other inspectors that if they notice any wiring down what so ever in the crawlspace, they won't enter it at all.

    rick


  14. #14
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Ted,

    I know several other inspectors that if they notice any wiring down what so ever in the crawlspace, they won't enter it at all.

    rick
    If the crawl is dry I will go into it and test the wires to see if they are live but I never crawl over them. If it is wet in the crawl I advise to have steps taken to figure out what is causing the water problems and dry the crawl out and after they do that advise to have other trades check the rest of the systems. I almost never go back (can't remember the last time) to a home with a crawl. If it is wet then there are concerns for others to handle and they can check out the rest of the crawl. I never get an argument. I should add that I have finally decided to put large price tags to inspect a crawl and I do not get many. Maybe a crawl a month. I don't really miss out on work anyway because I don't get many calls for crawls.

    I had one person say that it was my job to go into crawls so why should I charge more. I told them it is only my job if I take the job. I gave him a good price and he hired me anyway. He at first balked that I charged extra for crawls and I tacked more on and he still hired me. Go figure. One thing about charging a little more is you wind up getting more and more larger homes and they go up in the amount of calls and the crawl incoming calls go down. Funny how that works.

    The older I get the more I hate crawl spaces. I never liked them anyway.

    The older I get the more I appreciate the time I have left and take fewer risks. I do not need to meet a snake face to face or turn my face into a black widow while crawling around down there.


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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post

    I had one person say that it was my job to go into crawls so why should I charge more. I told them it is only my job if I take the job. I gave him a good price and he hired me anyway. He at first balked that I charged extra for crawls and I tacked more on and he still hired me. Go figure. One thing about charging a little more is you wind up getting more and more larger homes and they go up in the amount of calls and the crawl incoming calls go down. Funny how that works.

    The older I get the more I hate crawl spaces. I never liked them anyway.

    The older I get the more I appreciate the time I have left and take fewer risks. I do not need to meet a snake face to face or turn my face into a black widow while crawling around down there.
    Ted,

    You should tell them that your willing to discount the inspection if you don't crawl under the house. If just that they won't know if there are plumbing, foundation, drainage, wood decay, electrical,etc.. issues under there that your not going to see to help them save a 100.00 on the inspection fee.

    I always keep an extra pair of disposable coveralls in the truck if someone decides they'd like to crawl under their with me. Many act as if they are going to and I've had a few put on the coveralls. As soon as I pull the cover back from the floor and drop down in there, I immediately roll to the side out of sight. They never seem to follow for some reason.

    Actually, I've had one ole gal go right in behind me and crawl the whole house. I'd would have hired her on the spot if she'd had needed a job, but she was a vice president of a bank.

    I have lost count of the number of crawlspaces that I've crawled into in the last 22 years but I'm sure its probably over a thousand or more. Once I was under one for 7hrs. straight on a termite job. Glad to feel that cool air hit the face when I came back up through the crawlspace entry hole that afternoon.

    Of all of those, I've seen only 2 snakes. I've seen numberous black widows, brown recluse, and a mother possumm with babies hanging onto her back. Now she scared the sh*@ out of me.

    rick


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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Standing water in a foundation crawl space is not a good thing regardless where the home is. The question that begs asking is why?
    Hey, if you want to live in Florida and understand the average mean height above sea level is only 100 feet and you don't mind seasonal hurricanes including the likely chance of being under water within the next 50 years due to rising seas because of a warming climate then Im fine with that.
    However, going back to my original premise, standing water is not supposed to be under a home in Duluth, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, or Healdsburg and such an occurrence should be reported and the appropriate qualified drainage contractor retained for a full evaluation and resulting advice concerning corrective measures. Remember the old saying, water on wood, no good.


    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  17. #17
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post

    One thing about charging a little more is you wind up getting more and more larger homes and they go up in the amount of calls and the crawl incoming calls go down. Funny how that works. .
    Its is true if you charge more you will get better jobs. better people to work with. and fewer complaints.

    I bided on a home the other day 5000 SQ feet. gave the buyer a price of $ 750.00 I was under cut buy another inspector his bid was $ 450.00
    i think he was just way cheap on this home.

    I did get the termite inspection at 750.00 just did not get the home inspection side of $ 750.00. dang it.

    Best

    Ron


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Minor Crawlspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Standing water in a foundation crawl space is not a good thing regardless where the home is. The question that begs asking is why?


    To clarify, which I thought I had, but by several posts I see I had not:

    I said "when the rains left and the water subsided, which would take several days to a week in cases, it all dried out and there were no ill effects from the water.", which means it dries out when the rains stop and the backed up drainage systems begin to work again.

    Hey, if you want to live in Florida and understand the average mean height above sea level is only 100 feet and you don't mind seasonal hurricanes including the likely chance of being under water within the next 50 years due to rising seas because of a warming climate then Im fine with that.
    WC Jerry,

    Where did you get 100 feet from? Which landfill were you standing on top of?

    Most of South Florida is only 7 feet to 8 feet above sea level.

    Some parts of Miami-Dade county are up to around 25 feet above sea level and some parts of Palm Beach county are up around 22 feet above sea level - but most of Broward county is down around 7 feet to 8 feet above sea level. And I'm not even talking about "ground level", I'm talking about the elevations of "the slabs", which is higher than "ground level". (yes, double EEK!)

    It is not unusual to have "the top of the slab / the living level" at 8 feet 6 inches, with the garage slab down 7-1/4" from there.

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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    You got 750. for a termite inspection alone.

    We're lucky to get 150. here for one. We have some fools around here doing them for 50. bucks.

    In and out in 20 minutes.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    You got 750. for a termite inspection alone.

    We're lucky to get 150. here for one. We have some fools around here doing them for 50. bucks.

    In and out in 20 minutes.
    So Rick

    Don't you have relatives in California. At 750 for a termite inspection it might be worth moving. Let me see. 10 a week at 750. Hmm. I might move myself. I am sure that was a fluke but who knows. You here all kinds of things about California folks.

    I pay my folks over here 70 for a termite. There are folks that do them for 50 but I don't use them at all. The gong rate for termite inspections for home inspectors is around the 70 dollar mark from many. Now if they do one for a home owner directly they may get the max of 125. There is one Franchise that does termite inspections for free with no report. If they find termites then they get to sell them a treatment. I guess they must be confident that they will get a lot of termite treatments.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    How can you do a termite inspection in 20 min.

    I did have the Infrared as part of the job.

    Rick just what is a termite inspection in Texas

    Just looking for a termite only or will it cover the complete home. in Calif
    a termite inspection is almost the same as a home inspection.

    What would they charge for a 5000 SQ home?

    for termite we get around $ 225.00 for a track home under 2000SQ.

    and around $ 350 to $ 400 for a home insp.

    Best

    Ron

    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 11-26-2008 at 08:45 PM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    hey crawl guys and gals

    crawl spaces around here are plentiful.

    i charge $30 for crawl space inspections and that is is noted in my inspec aggrement and pricing, and if i find one at inspection and client didn't know or not reported in inspection request--i won't go if he they are not willing to pay. we have alot of water heaters and furnaces here in colorado in crawl spaces and we all know crawl spaces add on 45 minutes to our reports with appliances in them and the webs and crap we find, so i add on an additional $15 pops for that.same thing for attics. {heating source}

    with our expanding clay soil here in the rockies, i always recommend vapor barriers installed to keep moisture off upper wood or metal supports, as well as helping with radon levels. and i always write up any water found in crawl space, any kind, and try to look for those imfamous gutter extensions or lack of. and always recommend evaluation on why there isn't a sump pump

    let's face it water anywhere is not good , unless you are diving into a pool in Cabo San Lucas with a cool beverage waiting when you hit dry land again

    happy turkey day to all

    charlie


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    About 3/4 of the houses I do have crawls. And, water is a constant problem. 50 year old houses that have had no vapor barrier and/or poor ventilation are pretty much always infested with wood beetles. So, in this area, it has to be mentioned pretty hard. In fact, our Dept. of Agriculture that governs the Pest/Dry Rot reports stipulates that any 'damp soil' must be called out... yeah, right... if every house with damp soil didn't get funding there wouldn't be any houses selling.... wait, there aren't any selling

    A gallon of water is probably not enough to get too excited about but the 'where is it coming from' question that is important. If it were a new house I'd state what I saw and recommend future monitoring and drainage measures, as needed.

    If it's an existing house it would be almost impossible that there is just a gallon of water lying somewhere and there is no other evidence.

    Whenever I'm stumped on something like this I just write what see and put in a picture. Also, note if there are additional signs or if there are none.

    Here's just a couple pictures from this week -

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  24. #24
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    About 3/4 of the houses I do have crawls. And, water is a constant problem. 50 year old houses that have had no vapor barrier and/or poor ventilation are pretty much always infested with wood beetles. So, in this area, it has to be mentioned pretty hard. In fact, our Dept. of Agriculture that governs the Pest/Dry Rot reports stipulates that any 'damp soil' must be called out... yeah, right... if every house with damp soil didn't get funding there wouldn't be any houses selling.... wait, there aren't any selling

    A gallon of water is probably not enough to get too excited about but the 'where is it coming from' question that is important. If it were a new house I'd state what I saw and recommend future monitoring and drainage measures, as needed.

    If it's an existing house it would be almost impossible that there is just a gallon of water lying somewhere and there is no other evidence.

    Whenever I'm stumped on something like this I just write what see and put in a picture. Also, note if there are additional signs or if there are none.

    Here's just a couple pictures from this week -
    That's a freaking swamp. If I had to live in that there would be trenches bringing the water to a central location to run the water into a pump.

    I see how much good the plastic is helping that crawl. Are most of the crawls that wet up there? Does no one know about proper drainage technics in that part of the country. Anything is better than that.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Minor Crawlspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Ted, Ted, Ted,

    You did not realize the purpose of those moisture barriers was to prevent the water from soaking into the earth below?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Those pictures are pretty extreme but also very common around here..... In answer to the question, No, people don't know how to build things right.

    Poor grading around the house, poor drainage in the crawl itself, overall poor soil characteristics on the lot and so on.

    In my opinion the county inspectors do an awful job at enforcing the code as it relates to water problems. Most of the time the builders aren't held accountable within their warranty period so there's no motivation to do things right.

    This board is funny.... it's amazing how different things are in different areas. Having only inspected in this area I just figure wet crawls are just a way of life for everyone.

    I just look at it as job security.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Minor Crawlspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ted, Ted, Ted,

    You did not realize the purpose of those moisture barriers was to prevent the water from soaking into the earth below?
    Don't worry... the builders around here have a fix for that, too. Just razor knife the plastic and all the water goes away..... of course, they have to put down new plastic but that must not seem important at the time.

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  28. #28
    Eric Shuman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minor Cralwspace Standing Water-How to Call?

    Quote Originally Posted by David J. Edens View Post
    Okay gentlemen (and the occasional lady out there)- the crawlspace for a house inspection today was on a mostly level lot and the back right corner had a positive slight slope. The crawlspace was almost completely dry under the moisture barrier except for about a gallon of standing water near a block pier. It rain hard yesterday. How should I word the treatment of this without overblowing it-or am I? How much water is too much before we recommend a waterproofing contractor? Thanks again!
    Report what you see. Homes are supposed to have proper drainage where the water from rain flows away from the house/foundation. If water is collecting under the house I would report it, regardless of whether it is one gallon or 100 gallons. It may be very simple reapair but it's not right.

    Eric


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