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Tag Archives: Crawlspace

RCS will clean your crawl space, as well as give you suggestions on how to keep you crawl space clean to promote a healthy living environment

sump pump basement

When Sump Pumps Fail

You may not realize how much you depend on your sump pump to protect you from a flooding basement or crawlspace. That is until it fails.

When a sump pump fails, it not only doesn’t stop water from flooding your basement, it can also make the situation even worse.

Find out what causes your sump pump to fail and what you can do to prevent it.

Causes for a Sump Pump to Fail

A few common reasons for a sump pump to fail include:

  • Power outages
  • A malfunction of mechanical parts
  • Age of the unit; an older model may simply give out due to its use over the years
  • Improper installation puts extra strain on the unit or not pump at optimum levels
  • Inexpensive units not designed to handle your needs

Sump Pump Failures Explained

You will realize pretty quickly when your sump pump fails but may not understand why it happened. Here are some common reasons:

Power Outage

When the power goes out and you don’t have a battery backup, it can spell disaster because you have no protection from basement flooding.

Other causes for loss of power is if the sump pump is accidentally unplugged or the circuit breaker is tripped.

Clogged Sump Pump or Discharge Lines

Many people install sump pumps without a lid, which creates a high risk for clogging. If your sump pump is installed without a lid, dust, dirt and other debris can get inside and cause it to clog.

A dirty sump pump can experience mechanical failure including the switches which can get stuck in either the on or off position or stop working when you need it most. Having a sump pump lid also protects children, pets and excess water from flowing back into your space.

Another cause for sump pump failure is due to dirt, debris or even rodents to get into and clog the discharge lines. Discharge lines are an important part of the system as they carry the water out and discharge it far from your home, protecting its very foundation.

Improper Installation

If the sump pump seems to be working but there’s no water in the pit, it’s a sure sign of improper installation. A sump pump is installed incorrectly if it’s not connected to the drainage system or there is no drainage system in place.

In order to work effectively, excess water flows to the sump pump where it then drains into the pit. If you don’t have a drainage system, such as drain tile, the sump pump can’t successfully drain water into the pit.

Make sure you have a clear – not clogged – drain tile system and that it’s pitched correctly for the sump pump to work at maximum efficiency.

Under Functioning

Your sump pump may perform well during lighter periods of rain, but during heavier rains, it might just not have what it takes to power through and keep up with all the excess water.

An inadequate pump can easily burn out or stop working during a critical time of removing excess water and preventing a flood.

Running Non-Stop

If the sump pump is running non-stop, it will burn out sooner than later. If your unit is running non-stop, call in a professional to diagnosis the problem. Under normal circumstances, your sump pump should not be running continuously.

The technician will check for problems such as defective or broken parts, clogged switches or adequate size and function.

Free Yourself from Sump Pump Failure

When it comes to basement flooding, prevention is the best course of action. When water is backing up in your basement is not the time to realize your sump pump isn’t reliable, designed to handle your needs or experiencing mechanical failure.

Consider these options before a minor issue takes a disastrous turn:

  • Make sure you invest in a reliable, high quality sump pump. Check with experts in water removal to assess and make recommendations in terms of which sump pump to buy. You may also consider a battery back-up model or more than one sump pump.
  • Install a drainage (drain tile) system.
  • Inspect and clean your sump pump regularly.

Conclusion

Your sump pump plays a critical role in home protection.  When it fails, you have to deal with flooding and water removal, water damage and all the dangers and issues that go hand-in-hand with a water back-up or flood.

When your basement floods, call in the water removal and mold remediation professionals at RCS in Santa Rosa. We can quickly remove the water, repair any damage and restore your home back to its safe, dry condition.

crawl space under home

Pests in Your Crawlspace

If not properly insulated, dry and protected, crawlspaces attract all kinds of pests and rodents.

Find out what to watch for and how to prevent a pest infestation in your crawlspace.

What Types of Pests Invade Crawlspaces

Primarily, moist, humid conditions attract all kinds of pests and rodents and encourage them to take up residence in your crawlspace.

Here are some of the most common invaders:

  • Spiders
  • Cockroaches
  • Earwigs
  • Silverfish
  • Spiders
  • Snakes
  • Mice
  • Rats

While some of these pests are harmless, some of them are destructive, spread disease and can destroy structural elements of your home.

Pest droppings and rodent feces and urine emit foul odors and release airborne viruses into air circulating throughout your home.

Rodents and pests like mice and termites chew through insulation and wood.

Bigger destructive rodents like possums, skunks and raccoons may also settle in. These larger rodents increase the risk of spreading disease, rabies, viruses and tick or flea infestations. If they choose your crawlspace as a nesting place, the babies may attract even more wild predators.

Signs of a Pest Infestation

Inspect your crawlspace seasonaly and keep an eye out for signs of unwelcome pests and rodents. Always wear a mask during inspections to avoid inhaling nasty fumes and dust.

Here are some of the common signs of a pest invasion in your crawlspace:

Foul Odors

Urine, feces and other fluid secretions can leave behind foul, pungent odors.

Droppings

Droppings are usually small, but typically hard and dry.

Bite or Chew Marks

Inspect the space for chew marks or damage, especially to wood.

Shredded Insulation

Rodents love using insulation for warmth, to keep dry and especially to line their nests. Other signs of nesting are piles of sticks, brush or twigs.

Burrowing Holes

Watch for signs of burrowing such as holes dug in the ground where rodents head underground for protection or warmth.

What Attracts Pests to a Crawlspace

Here are some of the things that attracts pests and rodents to your crawlspace:

  • Damp, musty conditions.
  • Cracks and holes in crawlspace walls.
  • Overgrown shrubs, bushes or brush.
  • Rotting wood.
  • Garbage or storage of containers holding crumbs (like a cooler).

Conclusion

Breathing in pest-infested air coming from your crawl space is neither pleasant nor healthy.

For solutions to keep your crawlspace dry and free from pests, contact the professionals at RCS in Santa Rosa. We offer tried and true solutions to eliminate pests and improve air quality in your home.

Solving the Mystery of Recurring Moisture Issues in Basements and Crawl Spaces

When it seems like every time it rains or gets humid outside, the lower level and crawl space in your home is damp, full of moisture and maybe even standing water.

Identifying the source of moisture and why it continues to be a recurring problem in these same areas is the first step to eliminating the problem for good.

Basements and Crawl Spaces = High Risk Areas

After or even during a rainstorm, you probably head straight to the basement to check for water. Despite taking preventative measures, you continue to combat moisture issues.

The common denominator for these moisture problems is water. The goal is to solve the mystery of how it’s getting inside your home.

If water enters the basement and/or crawl space and has no way to escape or dry out, moisture and dampness is going to continue to be your issue.

Unresolved moisture issues ultimately lead to bigger issues such as mold, odor, structural damage and pest infestations.

Breaking Down Potential Water Sources in High Risk Areas

Basements

If your gutters are failing, water slides down the sides of your home, pools around your foundation and gets inside. Make sure your gutters are clean, in good working order and downspouts direct water well away from the foundation of your home.

If you notice cracks in the basement walls, it’s another place where water is able to get inside. If there is carpet or cardboard boxes on the floor, the water will soak right in, remain wet and become moldy and musty.

Leaky pipes and faucets in the basement are another source for moisture and standing water problems.

Old basement windows may very well have broken or cracked seals allowing water to enter the home.

Crawl Spaces

Many of the same moisture issues that affect the basement also affect crawl spaces.
Excess moisture or water in crawl spaces may result from standing groundwater, failing gutters, faulty grading around the foundation, leaking pipes or leaky windows.

The bigger problem with crawl spaces is that you don’t check those spaces often, which gives water a chance to stand and pool without ever drying out.

Too much water in a crawl space causes damage to any insulation or mechanicals stored there. Standing water in a crawl space is a breeding ground for all kinds of insects or rodents, in addition to making conditions perfect for mold.

Call a Professional

When you’ve checked all the areas, repaired what you could see yet continue to experience water issues, call a professional to check the basement and crawl space areas. Keep in mind that dampness and moisture problems lead to bigger problems for you and your home down the road.

A professional service can find the source of the water, thoroughly dry affected areas and seal/drain the crawl spaces to prevent further problems and damage.

In Santa Rosa and surrounding Sonoma County areas, call RCS for expert moisture prevention recommendations, services and a free estimate.

cleaning crawlspace

Benefits of a Clean Crawlspace

A crawlspace is an area between the ground and first floor of a home. Typically, it’s a hollow area usually not higher than 3’ or just enough space to crawl through.

Crawlspaces should insulated and can be used to store mechanicals of your home like plumbing, electrical, HVAC ducts.

Disadvantages of a Crawl Space

While a crawlspace provides support and acts as a buffer between your home and the ground, there are distinct disadvantages especially if not maintained regularly.

Crawlspaces are not counted as livable space and not suitable for storage. Because of its small size and exposure to outdoor elements, a crawlspace is not the place to store anything that you don’t want exposed to the elements.

Water and moisture problems: Excessive moisture and standing water are serious problems in a crawlspace. If not cleaned and dried, the mechanicals of your home can incur damage, and energy bills will rise due to HVAC and electrical not working efficiently.

Excessive moisture causes musty odors which will infiltrate your home. If you notice a foul sewer smell in your home, it may be due to water or sewer damage coming from the crawlspace.

Mold: Where there is excessive moisture and water, there is mold. Once mold begins to grow in the crawlspace, mold spores become airborne and travel into your home. This puts your family at risk for allergies, asthma attacks and other respiratory issues.

Pest infestations: Crawlspaces make excellent homes for all kinds of pests and rodents.

The dark, damp area complete with insulation gives mice, rats and other unwelcome rodents an invitation to live there.

Where rodents live: there is excrement. This smell will seep into your home, and it’s not just unpleasant, but potentially dangerous to inhale.

How to Clean Your Crawl Space

If unable to fit in the crawlspace or are unsure of how to clean it properly, call a local professional to manage the cleanup for you.

Certified Restoration Specialists will remove wet/moldy items stored in the crawlspace, clean/dry any water or sewer damage and replace moisture and/or vapor barriers. The entire area will be sanitized.

Any damaged insulation is replaced, after a thorough vacuuming. All pest/rodent droppings are removed, and a pest control company may be brought in. Plumbing, electrical or HVAC referrals may also be necessary to repair/replace any damage in those areas.

Other issues are addressed based on the condition and assessment of the crawlspace.
Benefits of a Clean Crawl Space

Once your crawlspace has been cleaned, restored and sanitized, you’ll notice the benefits right away.

Safety of House Structure: After cleanup, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing there are no pests or water/sewer issues causing damage to the structure of your home.

Improved Energy Efficiency: New insulation and vapor/moisture barriers ensure your mechanicals are safe and running at maximum capacity.

Dry Conditions: A dry crawlspace prevents odor and mold from affecting the air quality inside your home.

Pest Control: A clean, dry crawlspace discourages pests and rodents from living under your home. This prevents bacteria from pest excrement, odor and rodent damage to insulation and mechanicals.

Improved Health: By far the most important benefit, a clean crawlspace prohibits mold spores, bacteria and airborne allergens from negatively affecting your health.

To reap the benefits of a clean crawlspace, contact the certified professionals at RCS. We will work with you during the cleanup process and show you how to prevent future problems. RCS proudly serves the Santa Rosa, Sonoma County and surrounding North Bay areas.

Humidifier front panel

Why You Should Use a Dehumidifer in Your Crawl Space

Crawl spaces are often overlooked spaces by homeowners. While they might not be frequently used, they still play a huge role in your living space’s overall condition. One major problem with them though is mold. If not removed, this fungus can cause serious issues. Because of this, it might be worthwhile to install a dehumidifier. Below you’ll learn more about this device and why it’s vital to use in crawl spaces.

What is a Dehumidifier?

This appliance regulates an area’s humidity levels. This helps with preventing the growth of mold spores which would otherwise cause both health and structural concerns.

To work, the machine will draw in hot air. It will then send it through cooling coils which collect moisture from it. The cool air will then be sent back into the space.

Why This Tool is Essential in Crawl Spaces

Crawl spaces are dark areas situated beneath your home. Because of this poorly lit and damp location, it collects a lot of moisture. Often, this moisture is unable to be filtered out causing it to circulate inside. With the added humidity, it encourages the growth of mold spores which can get sucked up into your home’s ductwork or eat away at structural beams.

A dehumidifier completely stops all of this by filtering through the air. You’ll notice that after a bit, your crawl space will have a better temperature. You might even find that your home’s air quality has improved.

What Type of Dehumidifier is Best to Use?

For crawl spaces, you want to use a commercial-grade dehumidifier. This tends to be more powerful than the ones you would use inside your home. They’re also waterproof which prevents them from sparking or breaking if they come into contact with water. Most of the time, those built for crawl spaces will be labeled as so.

Where to Place One in a Crawl Space

Ideally, put the device in the center of the crawl space. This way, it’s in the middle of the area giving it a better chance of filtering through all the air.

You can move the tool around the crawl space to different zones but make sure it mainly spends most of its time in the center.

Dehumidifiers are an excellent tool to use in your crawl space if you want to stop mold growth and improve your home’s air quality. If you have questions about them or would like one installed, contact RCS in Santa Rosa. Our team will be happy to answer any concerns you have and will get to work establishing one in it.

winter home snow

5 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Crawl Space for Winter

A crawl space is designed to protect your home from mold and improve its air circulation. Despite not being a regularly used area, it plays a crucial role in your residence’s durability. Because of this, it’s important to make sure it’s ready to handle tough conditions, especially in the winter. This article will explore why you need to protect your crawl space during this season and a few ways you can winterize it.

Common Crawl Space Issues in the Winter

The chilly months can cause a few unique issues in your crawl space. Because of the temperature fluctuations, it can result in high levels of humidity in the crawl space. This could cause mildew or encourage certain pests to live in it. Besides this, improper insulation could cause your heating bill to increase because cold air is escaping into your home.

5 Ways to Winterize Your Crawl Space

Add Insulation: A great way to protect your home from cold air is to insulate your crawl space. This works to conserve energy while improving your air circulation. The insulation will also protect delicate pipes that could freeze and eventually burst.

Shut Your Air Vents: You’ll want to make sure to close the crawl space’s air vents. Cold air can sneak into their slots and make its way into your home. It will also deter small pests from creeping into the crawl space to stay warm.

Install a Vapor Barrier: A vapor barrier is a tool you can install in your crawl space to stop moisture which can prevent mold growth. This will also work to regulate air temperatures so that cold air doesn’t blow into your home.

Inspect it for Leaks: To protect your home from water damage, consistently check your crawl space for leaks. During the winter, these leaks could cause hidden water damage that will end up being pricey to fix. In addition to this, do periodic inspections to ensure that there aren’t frozen pipes.

Ensure the Entrance is Sealed: Sealing the crawl space entrance is also crucial. If there are crevices around it, cold air will flow into the crawl space. This will also make it easier for pests, especially rodents, to sneak inside. If you notice areas of concern, fill them in with caulking. You might also want to apply weather stripping around the edges of the entrance which will block water from seeping into the crawl space.

Preparing your crawl space for the winter is important if you want to prevent potential water damage and cold air from blowing into your home. If you’d like to winterize your crawl space for this chilly time, RCS can help. Our crawl space clean-up service will ensure that any signs of dampness or small crevices are removed and sealed. This way, you can be confident your crawl space is prepared for the season.