When I started Energy Vanguard in 2008, I didn’t know how the company would evolve and had thought early on that I may get back into home performance contracting. I did a couple of jobs, the last one being a crawl space encapsulation for my friends Tony and Gabriella. They had a house over a moldy crawl space, and Gabriella had developed a cough since moving in. When I inspected the crawl space, it seemed an excellent candidate for encapsulation, but on the day I arrived to start the work, I discovered a water mystery that I had to solve first.
The photo at right (above) shows a shot of the crawl space. The back corner on the right side was dry when I had done my inspection, but on the day I arrived to start sealing it up, that corner was full of water. It was raining pretty hard outside and had been all night.
With standing water in the crawl space, I couldn’t begin work. You never want to encapsulate a crawl space if there’s a bulk water problem because water under the plastic will find ways to get on top of the plastic. It’s meant as a vapor barrier, not a liquid barrier. Ideally, you get rid of the water by stopping it from coming into the crawl space. If you can’t do that, you need a drainage system and perhaps a sump pump to handle it.
So, we started searching for the source of the crawl space water. My first target was the outside of the foundation wall right there where I discovered the water. It was on the right side of the house. I went outside, dug down into the dirt there, and found that it was dry. The water definitely…