A sump pump in a basement is usually common, especially in rainy cities like Charlotte, NC. However, what many homeowners have not heard of is a crawl space sump pump. A sump pump is a device that collects water that has seeped into your basement or crawl space and drains it out. It’s a great solution for those who live in rainy areas where foundations often get flooded. In a basement, this solution makes sense, but what about a crawl space?
How Does a Sump Pump Improve My Crawl Space?
Just because it’s smaller than a basement and out of sight does not mean that you should ignore your crawl space. Unfortunately, since it’s a relatively small area, it’s difficult for homeowners to get a bucket and remove standing water on their own. Not only that, but it’s also impossible for homeowners to remove all the water from a crawl space when doing it manually. More than likely, there will be leftover moisture.
A sump pump can help you with foundation maintenance and automatically keep the water out from under your home. It can also remove the water before it even enters your crawl space—before dealing with any damage. Without a sump pump, you would either have to endure the multiple downsides of having a wet crawl space or clear the water out yourself (without knowing if you did a decent job or not).
Here are some of the downsides a sump pump can help you avoid:
High Energy Bills
The state of your crawl space has a significant impact on the air quality and temperature of your home because of the stack effect. The stack effect refers to the way air circulates throughout your home when there is a temperature disparity between the outside, your crawl space, and the inside of your home. A wet crawl space will always be warm because moist, humid air is warmer than dry, cooler air.
Hot air is lighter than cold air, so the heat from your wet crawl space rises into your home and changes the temperature. The hot air in the crawl space warms up the inside of the house, which might incentivize homeowners to lower the AC or keep it running longer. When an AC runs on a low setting for a long time, the compressor must consume more energy, which, in turn, raises your energy bills.
A dry crawl space has less influence over the temperature of a home. A sump pump that can keep things dry will help you lower your energy bills, especially during the summer.
Crawl spaces are usually covered and partially underground, so they never see the sun. Dark, wet places are almost always riddled with mold, and your flooded crawl space is no different. Mold in your crawl space can show up anywhere from the concrete walls to the wooden posts that hold up your floor.
Again, just because it’s out of sight does not mean that mold in your crawl space should be ignored. The stack effect doesn’t just help warm crawl space air infiltrate your home; it also spreads mold spores around your house.
Mold spores are unfertilized mold cells that grow once the conditions are right. The warm air that rises into your home carries the spores along with moisture. So if you have a mold problem in your home, it’s probably because there is also mold in your crawl space. Long-term exposure to mold and spores can be detrimental to your health, especially if you have allergies or a poor immune system. Keeping your crawl space as dry as possible will help keep your foundation strong and your home’s environment healthy.
Mold in a crawl space doesn’t just harm your physical health; it also can harm your home’s structure. The wood in your crawl space is vulnerable to mold since it isn’t covered in any strong, protective bark. The fungus grows on the wood and eats it, slowly debilitating the structure as it does so.
For supportive structures like your floor joist, the structural failure from wood rot results in uneven floors. Depending on the kind of fungal infection it is, the wood rot will either soften up the wood or break apart to the point where it cracks. It isn’t uncommon for a home with a wet crawl space to have sagging or bouncy floors.
Besides the structural failure caused by wood rot, a wet crawl space can destroy other parts of the foundation because of the freeze-thaw cycle and frost heave. These are things that only occur for about two months a year in North Carolina crawl spaces, but years of this kind of damage have a devastating effect on your home.
The freeze-thaw cycle refers to the process that water goes through as it turns into ice and then thaws again. As water turns into ice, it expands by about 9%. While it may not seem like it, expanding ice has enough force to tear through different objects, including concrete. The ice creates micro-tears in any concrete walls, floors, and pillars that were saturated with water during the winter. The damage is small at first, but years of being subjected to the freeze-thaw cycle will accelerate the decline of your home’s foundation.
Frost heave is somewhat similar to the freeze-thaw cycle. With frost heave, the moisture that is on the ground freezes and expands, and, as it does so, it exerts an upwards pressure capable of displacing the soil that surrounds it. This, in turn, displaces the pillars. As time goes on, the soil around the pillars is so eroded that the pillars themselves begin to shift. If the pillars themselves are already weakened and torn up by the freeze-thaw cycle, then they just might crumble. This affects their ability to support your house, causing different types of structural failures, such as warped window frames, uneven floors, and wall cracks.
What Are the Advantages of a SafeDri™ Crawl Space Sump Pump?
If you want to ensure that your crawl space stays healthy, you need to choose a sump pump that goes beyond what a normal sump pump is designed to do. At Dry Pro, we understand that a sump pump should do more than just drain water away—it should also protect the crawl space while still being a convenient addition to any homeowner’s waterproofing system.
This is why we offer sump pumps from our SafeDri™ series, an award-winning line of sump pumps designed to make life easier for homeowners everywhere. SafeDri™ sump pumps have multiple advantages over other sump pumps; in a place like Charlotte, NC, they are absolutely crucial.
The installation of a SafeDri™ sump pump also comes with the addition of reliable maintenance help. Our sump pumps are made to be more durable than most, but even they benefit from regular checkups.
Instead of taking a chance with a contractor who may not know all the ins and outs of this specific type of sump pump, you can always count on our knowledgeable experts for the most accurate annual maintenance. You can schedule a maintenance checkup with a Dry Pro expert at any time.
Here are some of the many advantages our SafeDri™ series offers:
Durable, Cast-Iron Pump
Most standard crawl space sump pumps are made of plastic. A plastic pump is more likely to malfunction because it overheats, especially during the summer. Summer is some of North Carolina’s rainiest months. In fact, it is the fourth rainiest state in the entire United States during this period. Because of all the water, your crawl space sump pump will be running continuously. Any pumps made of plastic will easily overheat and melt, so a cast-iron one is necessary if you want longevity.
Our sump pumps have an airtight seal that is both safe for anyone that wanders into the crawl space as well as functional. This seal prevents leaves, insects, mud, and other forms of debris from entering the sump pit and clogging the unit. Our seal also makes sure that all the nasty, smelly groundwater that accumulates in the sump pit will not stink up the crawl space, so your foundation (and therefore, your home) won’t be invaded by any foul odors.
Many times, homeowners don’t know that there’s a flooding problem in their crawl space until it’s already too late. Our SafeDri™ sump pump series has a built-in alarm that alerts you when the water levels have risen more than the sump pump can take. It also lets you know whenever it detects a leak or when the power goes out, so you always stay on top of the conditions of your crawl space.
Our SafeDri™ sump pumps are designed to prevent problems. Our sump pump comes with a pump stand, which elevates the pump’s intake port to prevent any kind of clogging. Other sump pumps that aren’t designed this way tend to clog more often, which overheats the pump and shortens its product lifespan.
Superior Float Switch
The float switch is a little ball inside the sump pit that rises along with the water as it gets collected into the pit. Once the float switch reaches a certain height, the sump pump turns on and drains all the water away.
Cheaply made sump pumps have a simple ball attached to a wire that allows it to freely float around the pit. These kinds of float switches are problematic because they often either do not rise or fall, and there’s no mechanism in place to make sure they function correctly. When a float switch fails to rise and doesn’t indicate that it’s time to drain the water out, the crawl space gets flooded. However, if it stays up and keeps the pump running constantly when there’s no water to drain, which can burn out the motor. Our float switch has a controlled, linear motion to prevent it from getting stuck.
With every SafeDri™ sump pump, homeowners have the choice to install a battery backup. This is vital for homeowners in Charlotte because of all the scattered storms during the summer. The sump pump alerts you when the main pump has gone out and the backup kicks in.
Most sump pumps can be heard, especially in the room that lies directly above the sump pump. This can be annoying to listen to, especially during the summer when the sump pump runs constantly. Therefore, we’ve made sure that our sump pump runs as quietly as possible.
Crawl Space Sump Pump System
Your crawl space will always be the most humid part of your home. This is because there are many ways for water to enter a crawl space. Unless your crawl space is fully waterproof, there will always be some way for water to enter the space. A crawl space sump pump is part of the waterproofing solutions you should invest in for your foundation because it’s able to drain out water that enters the crawl space from places such as:
Vents, Doors, and Openings
Crawl spaces are not waterproof, and this is by design. It was once believed that vents and openings could help with the airflow in a crawl space, but now we know that this isn’t the case. Vents and openings do nothing more than allow water and warm air into the crawl space, doing the opposite of what they are meant to do and increasing the humidity levels of the foundation. Even newer houses are still being built with vents due to outdated building codes.
Crawl space doors also are not waterproof. They are simply meant to provide easy access into the crawl space, but they do a poor job of keeping water out, especially if the door is old and made of wood. Some crawl space doors are located inside the house, sometimes in the laundry room. If there’s ever any kind of flooding because of a broken washing machine, then it’s quite easy for water to seep through the door.
The Walls and Soil
The concrete walls that make up your crawl space may seem solid and impenetrable, but if you look closely, you can see that it has pores. Concrete is a porous material, so moisture can very easily permeate through the walls. Charlotte, NC gets around 15 more inches of rain annually than the rest of the United States. More than just water vapor permeating through, crawl spaces in this region see water seepage from the walls, especially during the rainiest months between May and August.
If you have a dirt crawl space, then the water also could come from the soil because of the water table, which is an invisible line that indicates where the zone of saturation starts. The zone of saturation is where the soil is permanently saturated with water. The depth of the water table can vary greatly throughout the same city, and it can even be just a few inches below the surface. Because of how much it rains in Charlotte, NC, the water table can rise to the point where groundwater leaks into the crawl space. Therefore, homeowners with dirt crawl spaces often find standing water in their foundation even though they have vent covers or they’ve patched up any openings along the concrete walls.
The entire purpose of a sump pump is to drain water out of a crawl space. However, if you’ve heard of other waterproofing methods, you might be wondering why you might need so many different waterproofing solutions to keep your crawl space dry. Remember, a good crawl space waterproofing system is made of different pieces that all do their individual part to protect the foundation.
What a Vapor Barrier Does
A vapor barrier is a plastic sheet that is used to encapsulate a crawl space. This impermeable barrier can block out water so that it doesn’t enter the crawl space. You might be thinking that a sump pump isn’t needed because you won’t need to drain water if it never gets into the crawl space in the first place.
However, while it is true that water and water vapor can be stopped with a vapor barrier, the sheets usually aren’t applied to the roof of the crawl space where all the floor joists and insulation is. Water always can find a way to seep through the top of the space, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What a Sump Pump Does
Besides being there in case water manages to bypass the vapor barrier, the sump pump plays a significant role in draining out groundwater. The groundwater that surrounds the crawl space is still dangerous, even if it doesn’t enter the crawl space itself. This is because of the way it behaves during the winter.
Because of the freeze-thaw cycle and frost heave, the groundwater around your crawl space can still damage the foundation. The concrete walls outside the crawl space can still deteriorate because the vapor barrier only protects the inside, not the outside. The crawl space posts can still shift about due to soil erosion too, so a sump pump is needed to avoid foundation damage.
With a SafeDri™ crawl space sump pump, your foundation waterproofing system transforms into a powerful, cohesive arrangement. More than just individual parts doing their job separately, our other waterproofing products can work in tandem with the sump pump to create the perfect waterproof environment.
Crawl Space Interior Drain
Our CrawlDrain™ crawl space interior drain can be installed around the perimeter or your crawl space to drain groundwater from the surrounding foundation. Unlike other interior drains, CrawlDrain™ is installed inside. It has a unique, anti-clog design that ensures its efficiency year-round. It’s also capable of collecting moisture from the walls of the crawl space—a feature that is only possible thanks to being installed inside.
CrawlDrain™ can be connected to the sump pump. Instead of having to rely on another drainage system, all the water that needs to be drained can be sent out through the exact same drainage system. This makes installation a lot less expensive and complicated since no excavation needs to be done and no extra materials need to be used besides the drainage pipes.
No crawl space can truly stay dry without a dehumidifier. With our energy efficient dehumidifier, all the moisture in the crawl space will be absorbed. This helps purify the air in the crawl space and avoid foul odors. Our dehumidifier cycles 90% less than conventional dehumidifiers while still collecting more water daily.
Like the interior drain, the dehumidifier also can be connected to the sump pump. With other units, you would have to empty out the basin, but our DryPro dehumidifier makes life more convenient than that. You can control the humidity levels in your crawl space while knowing all the moisture collected will be reliably drained out by the sump pump.
Quickly Schedule a Free Inspection with Dry Pro
At Dry Pro, it is our mission to make our customers’ lives easier. It’s why our friendly, award-winning service is recognized all throughout Charlotte, NC. We’ve been servicing the Greater Charlotte area since 1999, ready to offer thorough inspections, permanent solutions, and flexible financing options for all those who wish to have a healthy foundation.
Don’t hesitate and get in contact with us. You can schedule a free inspection with one of our field experts by simply giving us a call or using our online contact form. You’ll get a written quote the very same day, along with unforgettable service.