If you’ve ever read my post about my fixer-upper house, you know that I bought a house that takes on ground water when the water table rises, and I get a nice little flood in my crawl space. It didn’t happen every time it rained, just when there was more water than the ground could hold, whether from rain or snow melting. And it was never that bad, nothing I couldn’t manage with my wet vac and a good fan.
I have a split-level, this is the crawl space under the single-story side where the kitchen and parlor are.
Annoying, but not the end of the world.
In the late summer/early fall, we went without good rain for quite a while.
Then one day in October, it rained. I had come home about 5pm, and the amount of water was more than I had ever seen.
It was getting dangerously close to the appliances, so I grabbed my wet vac and started pulling water out.
Me and this baby got out almost 200 gallons:
Y’know, this feels like a good spot for an affiliate link so let’s take a commercial break.. (read full affiliate disclosure HERE)
I love this (16 gallon) vacuum because it has giant wheels and a handle so you can push it like a grocery cart when it’s full, and a drain hole on the bottom. Word the the wise – when you take the cap off the drain, the water comes out strong enough to knock the cap out of your hand. If, like me, you wheeled the vacuum to the edge of your property to drain directly into the sewer, maybe you wanna be careful not to drop the cap.
I also own this little guy:
Cute, isn’t he? I purchased this for about $50 when I first bought the house, before I knew I’d ever have use for a wet vac. He holds 6 gallons of water. I don’t like him for water jobs because when he’s full, he’s hard to push – no handle and the wheels aren’t that great, and there’s no drain hole so you actually have to tip him over to dump him. And 6 gallons of water is heavy so that’s not the easiest thing to do.
I use it now as a dry shop vac only, which it does a good job with. After doing a few water jobs with it, I went ahead and bought the big one for around $150. I should have just gotten that in the first place instead of trying to be cheap.
Whichever you prefer, here are affiliate links for both:
Now, back to our program:
While I was pulling out all that water, the rain let up, and I took a nap.
Bad move. The flood gates of the heavens had opened up, and the noise of it woke me.
I ran downstairs and saw this:
The crawl space had filled up, and the water got right through my storage room and into the garage. Looking into the full crawl space, the water was coming in so fast there were actually ripples on the surface.
After taking that only picture, I quickly texted a buddy of mine who came over with a pump and helped me. In the 30 minutes it took him to arrive, I pulled out 100-something gallons.
Even with his help, we just couldn’t get ahead of it. It was now 11pm. I was spent. In my heart, I gave up. The water hadn’t gotten to the appliances yet, but it didn’t look like there was anything I could do to prevent that from happening.
Then I noticed something interesting. The water was now at the garage door. I decided that I would crack the garage door an inch just to let the water go out. This actually improved my spirit a bit. I couldn’t make it better, but I could stop it from getting worse, and protect my appliances.
Before I went to bed, I had to investigate that ripple.
There’s a hole in the concrete just about the width of a finger, right next to the sewer pipe.
That hole was the source of the flood. Here’s a video of the water coming in. I was holding my phone a few inches directly above that sewer line pipe cap thing:
I went to bed, expecting in the morning to find that I’d have a lot of vacuuming to do. I did, but not nearly as much as I expected. There was much less water than there was when I left it, most of it drained off on its own.
With this wacky warmish winter, there have been a few more instances where I’ve had to spend some energy under my house drying it out. I finally reached a point where I was disgusted enough to take out a loan to fix the problem for good.
Fast forward to today, and this is what the crawl space looks like:
So here’s what you’re looking at:
The white covering is not glued right to the wall. It sets just a hair above the surface, and serves to funnel any water that comes in down.
The floor is new cement around the edges. They dug it up, and installed what I think is best described as “underground gutters.” The water that comes in is collected in the underground gutters, and gravity escorts it to the corner.
That corner you see is a sump pump. Its basically a bucket with a machine in it that kicks on when it water accumulates and shoots the water outside through the pipes.
That hole by the sewer? They didn’t just patch it. They dug it all up and did some customizing around it so that any water that comes knocking on my door will promptly be escorted out before it ever gets a chance to touch my stuff.
That orange thing is an alarm. If the pump inside ever fails, I’ll know well before the bucket fills up and water escapes.
It hurt to spend that money, but I couldn’t be happier with the result – especially since now I can use it for STORAGE!!!
There was an option to upgrade, which I put off for now. At some point, I’ll have them come back to add a pump for double power and a battery backup.
So whaddaya think, quite a difference, huh??