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Community and Q&A

Water in my crawlspace

Poliana | Posted in General Questions on

Hello everyone,

My husband and I bought a house in July. The house was built this year (I think the project started last year). We love the aesthetics of the house, but we struggle with some things in the house: water in the basement, cupping floors, noise/hum/roar from the minisplits, bouncing floors in the kitchen etc. The major problem for us is the water in the crawl space. We installed 6 inch steel gutters, daylighted the downspouts, regraded the ground around the house. Unfortunately, we still have water coming in the our crawlspace. The house is situated on the hill. Your advice is much appreciated!

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Replies

  1. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #1

    The noise from the minisplits may be from adjustable louvers. Try moving the louvers around a little while the unit is running and see if there are spots where the noise is reduced.

    I’m not sure about cupping floors. For bouncy floors, check that there is blocking between joists — no blocking can mean more bounce and it’s easy to add if it’s not there. The next option is to sister the joists. It really depends on how the framing is laid out to figure out the best way to fix bounce.

    Make sure your downspouts drain away from the house. You might be able to reduce water entry into the basement by just getting longer extensions. I did that at my own house, and some extensions are about 8 feet long. Next year I plan to install a drainage system underground to get rid of the extensions and drain the water away.

    Other things to check: do you have drain tile? A sump pump that’s working properly? If you’re on a hill, is the water running down the hill and entering on the up-hill side of your house? A French drain on the uphill side of your house may help if that’s where the water is coming in.

    Try the easy things first (longer downspout extensions) if that looks like a probably water entry spot. All the other options are more work and more expensive. It is difficult to completely seal a basement or crawl space against water intrusion, so the usual solutions to water problems involve systems to either relieve outside water pressure on the foundation (exterior drain tile), or to deal with and drain away the water that does get inside (specialty strip drains and dimple mats on the inside of leaky walls).

    I recommend you NOT try products like Drylok until you know what is going on with your water problems. Block sealers are a huge pain to remove if you need to use something else, so I’d use them as a last resort.

    Bill

    1. Poliana | | #2

      Hello Bill,

      We daylighted the downspouts via underground pipes ( 10 to 20 feet from the house) + regarding. The builder paid for it. We paid full for the gutters. The house is still under builder warranty till February and NY State warranty for two years. The builder who also was the architect ( no license) is young ( 28) has been very difficult to work through those problems. My family moved in the house on July 20 and finally he agreed to regrade and daylighting. I had to go to the building inspector and make the builder/architect to solve some of the issues. Now, we still have water in the crawlspace. I wonder if the builder did water management before building the house - test the soil and other things. Now, I have to go back to him and say that we still have water in the cs. He is going to be difficult again and say "it's not my problem" Do you guys know who is responsible for water in the crawlspace, new house?

      1. Expert Member
        BILL WICHERS | | #3

        If he’s inexpierienced maybe he didn’t put drain tile (which is usually perforated corrugated plastic pipe now, not the old terra-cotta drain tile) where he should have.

        If you have water in the crawl space under a brand new house, I’d say that’s the builders problem to deal with. Normally, if you’re building on a site with unusual properties (like a high water table, silty soft ground, etc), the builder will (should) put in place things to deal with those conditions. In bad cases, special consultants and engineers would (should) be involved in the project.

        Bill

      2. Expert Member
        MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #4

        What does the NY State warranty say about your situation? That's where I'd start.

  2. walta100 | | #5

    Generally if your home is at the top or side of a hill getting rid of water is not a problem. If you are at the bottom of the hill or on a flat you are stuck without a place to send the water that is a big problem.

    If he is calling himself an architect in writing without a license you should be sure to document that as the state licensing board would take that very seriously. If he is not you should not use the word architect.

    Was a drain installed around the perimeter of your footing leading to daylight?

    Does water flow out of that drain?

    My wild guess is the perimeter drain not present or is blocked. If so the only way to fix it is to dig it up.

    Walta

    1. Poliana | | #18

      I just found the text where he said that the ground water is not his problem:

      I know that last statement sounds super obvious, but keep in mind that water could also be forcing its way up from under the ground through the floor of the crawlspace. Groundwater penetration from below is much less common of a problem but is still a possibility. After my discussions with professionals the consensus that I have gotten is that protecting against groundwater penetration from below is not common building practice. What everyone I talked to told me, is that the solution to this would be a sump pump; Bust a hole through the slab and into the dirt beneath to create a cavity for water to collect in, then a pump goes in that hole that automatically removes any water that collects there. If I was 100% certain that this was a groundwater problem only, then I would not consider it to be a warranty issue because it is not common practice to protect against water coming up from below. However, since it appears to be surface water, then we are going to deal with it

  3. Poliana | | #6

    Thank you guys. There is a footing drain installed around the foundation. Is it called tile drain ? I told him about the footing drain that it might be blocked or wrongly installed, but he ignored it. He called two contractors, the guy who built the drain and another one. They said it's surface water and we need gutters and grading. I never seen water coming out from the footing drain. Him and the drain guy told me that it's normal not to see water coming out from the footing drain. Although is a hill, the house sits on the flat area. Trying to send photos, but can't attach them.

  4. Deleted | | #7

    Deleted

  5. Deleted | | #8

    Deleted

  6. Poliana | | #9

    Please let me know if you can open the links.

  7. Poliana | | #12

    I live in New Paltz, New York. Architect's name is

    https://www.houzz.com/pro/lowell-deutschlander/lowell-deutschlander

  8. Poliana | | #13

    Here is what he wrote when he sold the house:

    Created by local architect Lowell Deutschlander, designer of the Rock and Snow Annex and Westwind Orchard Cidery, the house at 149 Mountain Rest is a tranquil forest retreat. Well situated at the base of the Shawangunk Ridge, and only minutes from downtown New Paltz, it is equally close to all that the mountains and village have to offer. Recreational opportunities nearby are endless, and shops and restaurants are less than 2 miles away! From the outside it’s the vernacular style of the Hudson Valley, inspired by farmhouses and mountain retreats. Soft and natural brown and gray custom stained siding blend into the wooded setting, and contrast with the light and airy interior. The first floor is accented with shiplap walls, bringing in the warmth and texture of wood but with the brightness of pine. Step down into the open living room to enjoy the total privacy and views of the forest all around. The covered back porch is a great place to enjoy both the morning sun and evening glow. Upstairs the 3 bedrooms and 2 baths (with laundry) feature clear pine trim, red oak floors and white walls, creating a soft, warm and calm feel.

  9. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #14

    Poliana,
    You shouldn't have water in the crawl space of a new house. It's time to hire a lawyer.

    1. Poliana | | #15

      Martin, did you open the photos? The hardest thing is that my little one has chronic Lyme and mold could affect her health. Some people say it's a very rainy season. Do you recommend a lawyer in NY?

  10. Poliana | | #16

    This is what he said about the footing drain:

    3) Everyone has said that just because the footing drains are not visibly flowing with water does not mean that they are not working. It is of course possible that the drain is crushed, and as part of our assessment we will be attempting to find that out without having to dig them up first.

    1. matt9923 | | #19

      I would make sure the footing drain are not crushed or improperly installed. Strictly septic in pine bush has a drain camera. I imagine he could inspect a footing drain the same way, prolbobly less invasive and cheeper to start with.

      1. Poliana | | #20

        Let's say you could use the camera for crushed drain, but if it's improperly installed how do you do it?

        1. Jon_R | | #24

          Possibly the camera could identify that the problem is in some specific area. You would still have to dig to fix, but far less than exposing all of the footings.

          You might be able to fix it with enough near surface work (underground roof, etc).

  11. Poliana | | #17

    I just found the text where he said that the ground water is not his problem:

    I know that last statement sounds super obvious, but keep in mind that water could also be forcing its way up from under the ground through the floor of the crawlspace. Groundwater penetration from below is much less common of a problem but is still a possibility. After my discussions with professionals the consensus that I have gotten is that protecting against groundwater penetration from below is not common building practice. What everyone I talked to told me, is that the solution to this would be a sump pump; Bust a hole through the slab and into the dirt beneath to create a cavity for water to collect in, then a pump goes in that hole that automatically removes any water that collects there. If I was 100% certain that this was a groundwater problem only, then I would not consider it to be a warranty issue because it is not common practice to protect against water coming up from below. However, since it appears to be surface water, then we are going to deal with i

    1. GBA Editor
      Martin Holladay | | #22

      Poliana,
      You wrote, "After my discussions with professionals, the consensus that I have gotten is that protecting against groundwater penetration from below is not common building practice."

      That's not true. If your crawlspace and basement have functioning footing drains -- and they should -- and if the footing drains are below the height of the top of the slab -- and they should be -- then water will drain out of your footing drains before rising high enough to enter your house. In light of what's happening, it's clear that something is wrong with the footing drains. They may be crushed, or they may have been installed too high (above the level of the top of the slab).

      1. Poliana | | #29

        I pasted what the architect told us. :(

  12. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #21

    I’d suspect there is a problem with the footing drain they installed. You can see in your pics that the water is seeping in between the footing and foundation walls. That’s probably due to water building up outside of the wall, and the drain should have drained that water away before it rose that high. I also see what appears to be water entering higher on the wall around an electrical box. That could be high water, or water coming down from above.

    I’d get the drain inspected to see if it’s crushed, blocked, or otherwise compromised. I’d also check that it’s perforated pipe and not solid (I’ve seen people install the wrong material before). Normally the drain would be surrounded by crushed stone to keep the perforations in the pipe from clogging. If the drain was installed correctly and is not damaged, then it should be draining off the water in the ground before it comes inside.

    Bill

  13. Expert Member
    Peter Engle | | #23

    On a site like yours, you should not have any water problems in the crawl space. Whether the water is rising from the ground or seeping through the walls, both are probably covered by the NYS warranty, and you should carefully read the provisions in there. You should make sure to file a warranty claim before the end of your warranty date. If the problems can be resolved without warranty coverage, filing the claim doesn't hurt any. If not, you need your claim filed in time.

    There are several possibilities from your photos. The crushed and/or inoperable drain is certainly one of them, and scoping with a camera might be able to find that.

    It is also possible that the footing drain was set on top of the footing rather than alongside it. This is a somewhat common mistake, and it allows water to pool on top of the footing before finding its way to the drains. Similar problems include not using clean stone around the drains, not properly sealing the wall/footing joint, and several other underground issues. You probably can't tell that without digging it up.

    Some of your photos seem to show water leaking through wall penetrations, particularly at the well equipment. That suggests water perched against the outside of the foundation wall, and that should not be happening. Was that before the gutters were installed?

    Since the builder isn't being very helpful, and since you are probably going to be doing some digging, you want to get on that as soon as you can. Though we had a big snow last week, the ground might not be permanently frozen yet and digging may still be OK. With a warranty date approaching in February, you don't have much good time to figure out what's going on.

    Before you start talking to lawyers (a very likely necessity), you need someone who knows houses to have a look. You are not going to fix this yourself, and it seems that the builder is also unable or unwilling to figure it out. I have a friend in Kingston who is a very knowledgeable home inspector and building scientist. Her name is Arlene Puentes, company is October Home Inspection. She knows how houses should be built, how they fail, and she is probably well-versed in NYS warranty and claim requirements. Give her a call to take a look. She can probably help figure out the water problems as well as give the rest of the place and your other issues a good once-over.

    1. Poliana | | #31

      Thank you Peter. My house is a tight house with HRV system, minisplits. Does she have experience with those?

  14. Jon_R | | #25

    Sometimes I think that people having a house built should install a motion activated video camera in a tree and document the entire build process.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #30

      Better make sure the surveillance is mentioned in your contracts. Here in Canada you would also have to post signs notifying workers on site of its presence.

    2. Poliana | | #32

      My house wasn't built by me. We really loved the aesthetics, the fact that it's a energy efficient home. We are very upset with the water in the crawlspace.

  15. Expert Member
    Peter Engle | | #26

    Jon,
    That's not at all a bade idea, and you might be surprised at how easy this is, and how useful. One of my current clients had a home security system that included video cameras on the outside of the house. The system was active during construction of an addition on the house. Review of the video showed significant deviations between the plans and what the contractor installed, in addition to some weird and outrageous behavior. That video is going to play an important role in the coming lawsuit. Several of my cases have been strongly influenced by owners taking photos of project progression, just to record the vents because it's fun to watch your house being built. When everything goes south, those photographs provide valuable evidence of what happened.

  16. walta100 | | #27

    I did in fact put a time lapse camera on my home site. It takes a photo every 5 seconds during daylight hours. You can play the photos as a move. Most of the subs know of the camera. The battery last about 4 months the memory card holds about a month of photos.

    This is a link to the camera I used.
    http://day6outdoors.com/index.php/products/plotwatcher-pro/

    This link is to one of the videos I edited out the photos when no one was on site and speed it up 15 days in 3 minutes. Pretty boring
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53pnsgH-kUM

    Walta

  17. STEPHEN SHEEHY | | #28

    Using a camera to look inside the footing drain is a good idea. About fifteen years ago, we had an addition built on our old farmhouse. The basement was always bone dry, until one day, after heavy rain, we had water all over. Eventually, it occurred to me that the footing drain might be plugged. Sure enough, a bunch of vines had grown into the drain, plugging it completely. once I removed the plug, an astonishing amount of water came pouring out.

    If it turns out that there is no simple fix, you definitely need a lawyer.

  18. Poliana | | #33

    My house wasn't built by me. We really loved the aesthetics, the fact that it's a energy efficient home. We are very upset with the water in the crawlspace.

  19. Poliana | | #34

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you for your answers. Here is some info:
    - the house was built between August 2017 - March 2018.
    - we put out an offer on the house in May. The offer was accepted by the seller, but with a condition: to finish the living room floor, install appliances, install the countertop. We said yes. He gave us a budget of $10,000.
    - closing day July the 19th
    - while living in our new home we realized that the concrete floor that was installed in the living room was very cold. We knew that the architect didn't install a radiant heat, but he told us that the spray foam under the slab was going to keep the concrete warm. Although I love concrete floors, we decided to install wood floors as the concrete was cold
    - while I was interviewing people to install my wood floors, they noticed ( 3 floor guys) that my floors are cupping. The architect told me that was just aesthetics. Already he was very annoyed that I called him with this problem
    - in August we told the architect that while we eat in the dinning area, which is situated in kitchen, the hear pumps, which are installed on dinning area siding, make a vibration + roar + hum that gives us headaches. He came, he said that was bad, but as per today nothing was fixed.
    - when I wanted to install the laundry machine and dryer, the room was smaller than the master plans drawings. The appliances that the architect recommended didn't fit there. The only appliances that I found to fit there, venting outside, were compacted Asko. Paid $4000.
    - after the countertop was installed ( quartz) we noticed that every time when we would walk around the kitchen the floors, whatever was on the countertop or table was rattling.
    - the architect agreed to move the heat pumps on the 24 inches high brackets installed on the slab, but he didn't want to cover the 50 holes that would remain in the siding. I told him that it's not professional to leave the holes like that or to leave the bolts on the siding. There are 5 minisplits + 5 heat pumps.
    - after installing the stove, two gaps - 2 inches each- on the right and left of the stove. The architect told us that it's aesthetics and he doesn't consider a problem.
    - before buying the house we asked the architect if I want ( one day) to install wood floors in the living room if there is enough clearance at the sliding door. He said yes. When we installed the wood floors there wasn't enough clearance. Luckily it doesn't look bad.
    - on September the 17th went in the crawlspace and found a 7 x 7 puddle of water.
    - we have been having water on the crawlspace since then ( sometimes less).
    - gutters were installed on November the 7th.
    - the regrading and daylighting was done on November the 15th. On the same day I collected about 2 buckets of water.
    - Friday it looked that the puddle was very small, but Saturday after the Friday night snow, we started to have that big puddle again.
    - another thing that I want to mention is starting with September our yard started to smell bad. Now, it pretty much smells everyday. I don't who should I call for this. I bought a dye test for the septic tank, but I am not very sure how to use it.

    What it's very hard is that we have been saving to buy a house, from 2005 when we moved to the US. We paid full price $569,000 thinking that is a energy efficient home ( we really wanted that) and we are not going to have problems. I am worried everyday about black mold building in the crawlspace, but hopefully the HRV helps a bit.
    Another thing that I didn't know was that the architect has to be licensed to be called an architect, have a master degree and apprenticeship a few years. We knew that was young ( 28), but we didn't know that he is not an architect yet. The websites where the house was posted for sale, called him " a local architect". More precisely his realtor wrote that with the "architect".

    The budget that he gave us to finish concrete floors, install concrete countertop and appliances was $10,000. He didn't mention before closing that he wanted to do this things by himself with a helper . We ended up paying $4000 appliances, $5800 quartz countertops ( the concrete was to expensive) $12,000 for the floors. I paid extra for the floors as I wanted white oak, 5 inches, but still - his budget was $3000. I really wanted concrete, but with no radiant heat was too cold.

  20. Jon_R | | #35

    > I am worried everyday about black mold building in the crawlspace,

    You should install a portable dehumidifier (for now).

  21. Expert Member
    Peter Engle | | #36

    Poliana,

    You've probably reached the limit of what we can do to help you online. You've really got to hire a local forensic engineer/inspector to help identify and diagnose your problems, and an attorney to get the builder's attention. He's advertising architectural services without a license, and that is probably an automatic consumer fraud issue in NY. Although if he has no assets, suing him will do very little good.

    1. Poliana | | #37

      Do you know a good civil engineer?

    2. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #39

      Peter,
      I can't see in any of the links provided where Mr. Deutschlander claims to be a licensed architect.

      1. GBA Editor
        Martin Holladay | | #40

        Malcolm,
        Some web pages (including this one) describe Mr. Deutschlander as an architect.

        But (a) Mr. Deutschlander can't be held responsible for possible errors on web sites he doesn't control, and (b) as far as I know, Mr. Deutschlander may well be an architect.

        On a web site called "CouchSurfing.com," Lowell Deutschlander announces, "I graduated from architecture school and since then I've been traveling about having all sorts of awesome adventures."

        1. Poliana | | #43

          I found out that he is not an architect from the building inspector. Yesterday, I found out that is illegal to call yourself an architect without license etc

  22. Expert Member
    MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #38

    I think we should be careful jumping into these disputes beyond offering practical construction advice. We are in no position to adjudicate between two contracted parties based on the information one posts on a discussion board.

  23. Poliana | | #41

    Please read carefully the text that I wrote. When we bought the house the realtor and the architect wrote " local architect" which made by the house. Plus the fact that the building an energy efficient.

    Please read this;
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/zya13uZrzQBh4qTn8

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #44

      Poliana,

      Please don't think I'm taking his side in this. I just think we should stick to what will help you with this specific problem, and not get sidetracked.

      You have water infiltrating your crawlspace. The most likely cause is a defective or broken perimeter drain system. A less likely cause is ground water infiltrating through the slab. Dealing with both of these is the responsibility of your builder. Making him do the necessary repairs is something you need a lawyer with experience in construction for. Your other experiences with him doing additional work, or whether he is a licensed architect probably aren't helpful things to concentrate on if you want this resolved..

      1. Poliana | | #45

        The guy with the camera is coming on Friday to check the footing drain. We are installing a dehumidifier tomorrow.

        This the humidifier:https://www.sylvane.com/ultra-aire-70h-dehumidifier.html?product_id=93452&s_cid=cse_gpl&gclid=Cj0KCQjw9ZDeBRD9ARIsAMbAmoZz_kqqyXmDcojsfKazPIYThRoDWvy-PolVVXtL61w_PQ7_DSB2dDwaAjy3EALw_wcB

  24. Poliana | | #42

    *made us buy the house.

    When you see local architect and you are the type that supports small businesses.....

    You need to understand that we found out that he is not architect now, not before the sale.

  25. Deleted | | #46

    Deleted

    1. this_page_left_blank | | #47

      Based on the premise that this is temporary use, and you want to reduce humidity in a particular area, that unit is both extreme overkill and not even well suited for the job. That is an inline dehumidifier that you'd put in series with either an HRV or HVAC system to dehumidify the whole house. I guess you could just place it on the crawl space floor, but much more sensible would be a portable dehumidifier. You should be able to get one with similar capacity from a liquidation or surplus store for under $200. e.g. https://princessauto.com/en/detail/70-pint-dehumidifier-with-pump-refurbished/A-p8750440e

      1. Poliana | | #50

        The problem with cheap humidifier is they crack up very fast.

  26. Expert Member
    Peter Engle | | #48

    You do want to look at dehumidifiers with decent low-temperature operation. That crawl space is going to get cold in the winter, and it might still be damp. Operation down to 50 degrees would be nice. Some of the cheaper ones start to ice up at 65-70 degrees.

    1. Poliana | | #51

      This one has low temperature operation. The cheaper ones wouldn't work there.

      1. Poliana | | #53

        The specs say

        Low Temperature Operation - Operates in temperatures as low as 49 degrees F and includes an auto defrost function to automatically melt frost build-up in chilly conditions

  27. Jon_R | | #49

    Be sure to have the dehumidifier connected to a drain (vs using an internal bucket).

    1. Poliana | | #52

      Yes, thank you.

  28. walta100 | | #54

    The best fix is a working exterior drain to carry away the water. If for some reason that cannot happen (like no one wants to pay to move the dirt and fix the drain) you want an interior perimeter drain and sump pumping the water away.

    I see a dehumidifier as a temporary band aid that may help by increasing the dew point in the crawlspace. It takes a lot of electricity to collect and discharge a gallon of water with a dehumidifier.

    The Ultra-aire looks a lot like a clone of the Honeywell dehumidifier I used at my last house. It is a great unit but I think it is too expensive for use as a band aid. Almost any dehumidifier from the local box store that has digital controls will have defrost circuits and should be fine in your crawlspace. This one has a pump and defrost for $230

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Whynter-70-Pint-Portable-Dehumidifier-with-Pump-ENERGY-STAR-RPD-702WP/204619887

    Walta

    1. Poliana | | #56

      The dehumidifier was bought for something else and not for the water in the basement.

  29. Poliana | | #55

    A few explanation and good news:
    The dehumidifier was bought by the architect as our floors were cupping in the kitchen. No water in the basement at that moment. It's going to be used mostly during very humid season. Hopefully the water in the crawlspace is going to be fixed.
    The architect sent us an email:

    With water in the basement: If it turns out that this re-grading did not do the trick, then I will take whatever steps are necessary to make sure the water stops coming in. That being said, we need to wait a little bit to see if it subsides. This could still be water stuck within the footings from before or it could be water still in the ground. I would like to wait for one week to see if there is any noticeable difference.

    Great, let's wait and see. Fingers crossed.

    Also, if the water is still an issue than I can not move ahead with relocating the minisplits yet. I am sorry for the continued inconvenience, but if we may have to do more digging on the outside than I need them to stay up on the wall for now.

    That makes sense; we were thinking the same thing.

    With the smell: how persistant is the smell? is it something that happenes every single day? At my house we have smelled septic gases before and it turned out that the system was not damaged but that instead the gases from the roof vent were being blown down to the ground by wind. Also, have you noticed any areas near where the snow might have melted much faster than the ground around it? Typically the tank itself generates heat and will melt out a somewhat square spot on the snow above it. If there is also a large patch of melting between the tank and the field then that may indicate the pipe is crushed. (the tank is located downhill from the door within the "L" of gravel)

    As far as I can tell, the smell is not near the septic tank or septic field. It seems to be further back. We haven't noticed any areas with snow melting faster, but we didn't pay attention either. I'll wait for Poliana to return from an errand later today to give you more information on the smell.

    She's mentioned it a couple of times and I thought I had felt it too, but my nose isn't that good. This past weekend I spent time on the side of the house (building an igloo for the kids) several hours each day and I noticed it a few times each time, somewhere near the white pipes (I think new pipes) hidden under a bunch of rocks.

    I'll get back with Poliana's info a little later.

    The tank and field were all properly installed and inspected by the department or health, if there is a problem it is most likely a pipe that got crushed somehow.

    1. Jon_R | | #58

      You should check for any signs of wastewater saturating the surface in the field. Some say that 1 cup/week of baking soda down the drain helps (better pH).

  30. walta100 | | #57

    Did the footing drains get inspected with a camera? Did you get a copy of the video? If any problems were found you should get a report. Did you pay for the camera inspection or did the builder?

    If you have any questions about the septic pipes pay to have the camera inspect them at the same time.

    Walta

  31. Poliana | | #59

    Hello everyone! I hired the guy with the camera. I paid him $250. It took about 20 minutes to check the drain. Unfortunately his cord is 60 feet long. He measured two sides of the house, found that one pipe was bent, but nothing broken. Another thing that we noticed was that the footing drain was very dry although we still have a big puddle of water in crawlspace. The architect regraded the ground on the 17th, but we still have a lot of water coming in. We told the architect and his response was professional:

    Well Im sorry to hear that,

    And Im sorry that you had to have your yard dug up but it did not stop the problem.
    We will now need to move into more comprehensive measures to stop the water. I think that the next step will be to dig up the footing drains and repair or redo them depending on what we find. If the drains are not below the slab, or if they are not properly installed with fabric and stone, then we will need to replace them. If this does not stop the water, then I would next like to install a sump pump system inside the crawlspace. I am also going to investigate wether a drain can be added to the crawlspace while we have the exterior opened up.

    I will get back to you shortly to try and schedule the work.

  32. onslow | | #60

    Poliana,

    Sorry to hear about all the failures to respond to your problems. I do wish you luck in getting resolution soon. As I have followed the thread regarding the water issue, it now occurs to me that you may have a leak in the municipal water line or if you are on well, the line to/or in the house. How one would get an apparently intermittent and variable leak rate is a question that points away from that choice, however.

    If you have municipal water, it may be a good idea to see if there is a metering device that can be checked for flow/usage during a mandated "no water" period for the house. The meter might be located in a pit outside or perhaps in the crawlspace. If it is in the crawlspace though, only leaks beyond the meter will be revealed. If it is outside, try to find the whole house shut off valve and watch the meter. If it is still recording usage, the leak is between the two points. It may be necessary to ask the local water provider if there is a way to locate leaks between street and house if your meter is inside the crawlspace. I think gas leaks can be "heard" with a device, perhaps water leaks can be as well. Also, have them check their mains as well in case the leak is tracking the main line to your newly dug line to the house. Is the house situated lower than any part of the lines outside?

    If you have a well, then checking the cycling on the pressure might reveal leakage on the house side, perhaps cracked or failing hose bibs. I am guessing that you have frost proof hose bibs, which I have had fail in assorted annoying ways. One failed at the valve seat which was located well inside the wall line. The welded component at the interior end had cracked and water would leak variably according to how tight I cranked the handle on the outside. The pressure of the sealing washer against the seat would open the cracked weld in addition to relieving one side of the sealing washer. Fortunately, I caught that one before the weld came completely free.

    If it is the line from the well, I will hope others here can provide a way to check the pump to pressure tank state in a way that might reveal losses during the demand cycle.

    Beyond that, a very long shot idea might be a very messed up section of the footing drain behaving like a pooling trap that only sends water into the crawl space when it overflows. Somewhat like the traps under your sinks. Given that the footing inspection revealed dry runs for 60 feet on two sides, it would take a very messed up drain plan to fulfill this scenario. However, in conjunction with a street side line leak, it might explain why regrading has not proven useful.

    1. Poliana | | #61

      Thank you. It's well water. One thing that I noticed is that during dry days the water shrinks a bit, but comes back when it rains. Also, the puddle per today is bigger than it was on September the 17 when we found it for the first time.

      Here is a video taken today
      https://photos.app.goo.gl/8Y8abctPqPjVTbLD7

  33. Poliana | | #62

    Hello guys,

    Here is what the architect wants to do next. I need your opinion. It doesn't sound right to me:

    I have notified the Mike, the excavator who did the grading work, that the problem has persisted. He asked about coming out with the machine and performing a test: Digging a trench to the bottom of the footing in front of the kitchen window, and out to daylight towards the woods. He thinks that by doing that it may give a place for water trapped between the footings to escape, and it may also allow us to see how high the water table is. He said that if water immediately began to flow out into the trench, that he would then add a permanent drain and backfill most of the trench with stone. If it did not immediately start to fill with water then he asked to leave the trench open until it does. The weather for the rest of this week looks to be dry and he would be willing to come out there any day this week. I did not think that you would want to have a big trench opened up back there but I wanted to run this idea by you anyway.

    1. matt9923 | | #63

      I may be missunderstanding but what he wants to do is what the footing drains are supposed to do. Digging to see what is going on is the only way to fix this in my mind and experience. Let us know

      1. Poliana | | #64

        I agree with you.

  34. Poliana | | #65

    Email from the architect:

    Poliana,

    I understand that this is a huge inconvenience for you, and I understand that you want the job to be done properly. However I must respectfully point out that it is not appropriate for me to hire contractors of your choosing.
    My concern in this matter is to make sure that you do not have water in your crawlspace; I am focused on creating that outcome. I want to provide you with a dry basement and at the end of the job to have the premises look like they did when you purchased the house. I more than willing to talk to contractors that you want me to use, and look into having them do the work. But I am not obligated to hire someone that you have chosen.

    All that being said, I have put a call in to Marco Kuhn. We talked for a long time, and I agree with you that he seems to be very knowledgable and has a great attitude. I asked him about doing the work and unfortunately he said he was not interested.

    Moving forwards, the first thing that that I will be doing is exploratory work to ascertain with certainty what the state of the footing drain and wether or not that is actually the problem. This will involve:

    1) Having a camera sent up the pipe. I have contacted both the company that Mihai recommended as well as a bunch of other ones. Whichever one of them is most quickly available I will have send a camera up into the pipe and see what they find.

    2) I will also be digging exploratory holes to see how much groundwater is against the footing, and to see wether water is able to enter the footing drains or not.

    Once I have definitively answered these questions then we will be able to know with much more certainty what needs to be done to create a dry crawlspace.

    I am making every effort to have this work done as quickly as possible, hopefully within the next few days even. I will be letting you know as soon as I can about timing to make sure that it will not conflict with your schedule.

    As I had said in a previous email, my tactic is going to be first to try exterior solutions first, THEN to install a sump pump. I believe that a sump pump should be installed only if the exterior solutions can not work.

    I am 100% certain that this issue does not have anything to do with the well. When it rains hard you get more water in there, that seems to me like proof that surface water is the culprit.

    Also, in my phone calls to find a camera, all of the septic companies and camera operators that I have spoken too have said that they are having lots and lots of problems this year with septic systems being inundated with water and not able to drain properly. They have said that you will notice the smell when this happens. They have also said they are having lots of customers with leaking and flooded basements this year.

    I will get back to you as soon as I know when the camera will be able to come there.

  35. Poliana | | #66

    Architect email:

    The test holes will be done partially by backhoe, with the small machine, and then finished by hand.

    If the footing drain has damage or clogs, than it will be repaired right away. The hope is then that will alleviate the water infiltration. If however the drain is not clogged, and does not have water in it, and is found to be at the same elevation or lower than the slab, then we have a much more complex issue and I have to assume that the water is in fact coming up from below and not penetrating from above. Solutions to that problem could involve removing the spray foam on the walls at the edge of the slab and creating a new seal to essentially keep water from being able to come up. And or a sump pump.

  36. Poliana | | #67

    I think we are moving in the right direction. Sending positive thoughts out in the universe.

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #68

      If the architect is actively working towards resolving the issue you’re seeing then you’re on the right track. Let’s hope whatever problem they find is a quick and simple fix so that you can put all this behind you.

      Bill

      1. Poliana | | #69

        Although is very overwhelming what is happening, I try to stay positive and optimistic. Hopefully our young architect/builder is going to learn from those mistakes. Nobody wants to go to court.

  37. Poliana | | #70

    Hello guys,

    Here is what is happening. The builder brought the guy with the camera and the guy who installed the footing drain. I have some struggles.

    Here is what the architect wants to do next which I am not ok with:

    Hello guys,

    I spoke with David from septic detectives about the results of today’s explorations. He told me that he did not see anything wrong with the drains. Since the drains are not crushed and they are not full of standing water then I have to assume that the source of the leak is coming from groundwater and not surface water. The water table is so high this year because of all the rain, and the water must be forcing it’s way up like a spring.

    The next step I am going to take is to seal the edges of the slab with hydraulic cement in order to see if we can keep that water out. This will involve cutting away the foam at the edges of the slab in order to expose the concrete wall. Then we will fill that gap with the hydraulic cement.

    Before I can consider installing a pump, I am first going to exhaust the options available for attempting to keep the water out.
    Keeping the water out is better than dealing with the water that has already gotten in.

    I would like to get the work going on sealing the edge of the slab as soon as possible. Will it be a problem if that happens later this week or this weekend? It should be just one day of work at most."

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #72

      Poliana,

      I replied to this post in your other thread on footing drains. You may find it less confusing to keep all your questions in one place.

  38. onslow | | #71

    Poliana,

    At the risk of sounding repetitive, has anyone considered the potential of water following disturbed earth. Generally, footings are set on undisturbed soil, so I am not sure of what might have occurred on the site that would create a pathway under the footings. The fact that your foundation drain lines are dry strongly suggests, as you note, surface water immediately near the house is not the issue. Perhaps an original test trench done to check soil profiles has created a hidden pathway below the footing drain line level which conducts water inside the foundation perimeter to make your crawlspace wet.

    You say the house is on a hill, but it is not clear if you are part way down slope from higher elevations or what. Water table behavior on sloping lands can be a tricky thing to predict. The soil profiles might be cut by the foundation dig in such a way that a more permeable layer lies across the footing elevations which could allow water to pool upward. Imagine cutting a sandwich at a very shallow angle rather than perpendicularly. The bread would then look like a white field on either side of a line of jelly. The jelly representing a soil layer that moves water more freely than the bread layers. Only problem with this scenario is the whole slab should be soaked not just one spot.

    If you are experiencing water in the crawl space as a distinct puddle then I would look for the water to be arriving from a leak in plumbing that might only show up after lots of showers or laundry loads. Plastic pipe might shift just enough after lots of hot water to leak with apparent randomness.

    If the whole slab of the crawl space is wet, then it suggests a ground source. Unfortunately, sealing the edges with hydro cement will not slow the water in a meaningful way. You will need to create a collecting sump well below the slab level and pump out the pit to stay ahead of the water.

    1. Poliana | | #73

      Thank you. How to check the leaks? Should I see water with soap if it's from laundry or shower?

    2. Poliana | | #74

      The slab is wet around the perimeter. The water comes from two directions.

  39. walta100 | | #75

    My first question is how far were they able to get the camera up the drain? You should be able to get a copy of the video most of the videos have a counter in the corner of the screen showing how many feet of cable have been extended. I recall your first video was 60 feet. That is almost nothing the footing drain on my house must be 300 feet all the way around the house and garage. Given the ruff surface of most corrugated drain pipes and the lack of water, I think 60 feet is about as far as anyone could push a camera up hill in a dry ruff pipe.

    If it was my house I would pick the wettest spot indoors and find that spot on the outside and ask him to show video from that spot or to dig this one spot and show you a dry pipe. Only once I see a dry pipe do I want to start working indoors. If he does not want to dig I would be tempted to dig the hole myself.

    I think the idea that he can make a long term watertight seal between the wall and slab almost laughable. If the problem was limited to a leak around one pipe hydraulic cement is great. Not for 150-200 feet around the edge. Is he going to seal every control joint in the center of the slab and all visible cracks?

    Did you say you had septic problem also? I have to wonder if the two problems are related.

    Walt

    1. Poliana | | #76

      Hello Walt,

      I hired the camera guy. He checked 60 feet on both sides of the house ( total of 120 feet). He couldn't go further as he couldn't pass the corner of the house.
      The whole perimeter of the slab is wet but the water comes in from two points.
      Are you saying if the drain is dry then it's ok? It was dry when we checked with the camera. We couldn't reach with the camera on the other side of the house where we get the water ( second point).

      We have smell outside of the house almost everyday. Not sure if it's from the vent or the leach field or septic tank.

  40. Expert Member
    Peter Engle | | #77

    If the drain pipe was installed too high (above the footings and foundation stone), then the drains won't work. They may be dry and not crushed, but useless to drain water below the level of the drains.

    It is very unlikely that ground water could build up enough pressure to enter your crawl space and make puddles if there were proper exterior (and preferably interior) foundation drains and a free-draining stone bed below your slab and around the footings.

    If the water in your crawl was related to the septic system, it would probably smell bad inside, too. The septic odors seem to be a different problem.

  41. walta100 | | #78

    If the pipe is dry and installed below the top of your slab it is hard to understand how you could have water in the basement.
    The best drain would be installed so the top of the pipe is below the top of the footing see photo #5. This rarely happens as it is a lot of work. The footing concrete form is often dirt. No one wants to dig next the footer and make room for the drain.
    What happen most often is the drain is set on top of the footing see photo #7 this works as long as bottom of the drain is below the top of the basement floor. To elevate the slab the contractor must fill the basement with gravel so top of the slab is above the drain pipe.
    If your slab was installed level with the footing the drains will be dry and the basement will be wet.
    I like this article
    https://pro.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Foundation-Drainage.13702.html

    For your septic odor a smoke test may be helpful.
    This video is great.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5rANaDEJm8

    Walta

  42. Poliana | | #79

    4 months passed and we still have water in the crawlspace. The builder (architect) is going to bring a civil engineer today. He didn't make the exploratory holes to see if the footing drain is working or not. It's such a stressful situation for my family.

  43. Poliana | | #80

    Hello,

    Does the code say to waterproof/ coat the footing drain?

    We still have water in the crawlspace. The architect didn't fix it yet.

    1. Deleted | | #81

      Deleted

  44. Deleted | | #82

    Deleted

  45. BobHr | | #83

    Looking at the first picture it looks like the ground is higher to the left side.

    Using the first picture as a reference where is the water leaking in?

    I didn't read all the posts, has anyone commented on the siding being to close to the ground? You should have 6 inches of ground clearance. Makes it suspectible to rot and termites.

  46. Poliana | | #84

    Hello everyone,

    The architect hired a civil engineer. Here is what the engineer Said:

    "We have spoken to Lowell with regard to examining the interior condition of the foundation walls for evidence of leaking/moisture. This will involve removal of sections of the insulation. Several locations should be examined at various elevations (near top of grade and near floor level) and possibly in the areas of the wall penetrations."

    I don't understand what they want to do. Could you please help me a bit?

  47. Jon_R | | #85

    Sounds like they are trying to determine where the water is coming in from. So they want to cut away some interior foam.

    That's fine if they repair it afterwards.

  48. Poliana | | #86

    Thank you. I was wondering if it helps. We have a few facts about this:
    1. The wall and footing don't have any waterproofing
    2. No water comes out at the ends of the footing drain
    3. No gravel underneath the slab to help with the water flow
    4. Based on the drawings the footing drain is not installed along the footing.

    I wonder what they are to achieve by removing the foam.

    Here is a second email from the civil engineer:

    The details surrounding the slab installation and footing drains are clear, however, with no exterior waterproofing the condition of the foundation walls and the effects of groundwater along the walls is not. With the evidence of moisture around the wall penetrations, it should be determined if the groundwater has infiltrated the walls and/or behind the insulation and at what elevation

  49. walta100 | | #87

    Let them grasp at this straw. It sounds like he wants to look for water coming in thru the wall that seems very unlikely as wall will definitely be above drain so it will be dry.

    My guess is it was built as shown in this drawing.

    The gray is undisturbed soil used as a form to pour the footing, so the only place to put the drain is on top of the footing. That would be good as long as the top of the indoor slab is above the top of the drain. I am betting the top of the slab is not far over the top of the footing. The only way to be sure is to remove a small part of the slab and expose the footing. If this is the case the low cost fix maybe to add 4 inches of clean rock covered with a thin slab.

    Walta

    1. Poliana | | #88

      Thank you Walter! I am still confused! Where do you want to add 4 inches of gravel? Why do you want to remove small part of the slab?

  50. walta100 | | #89

    This is all a guess that the current slab is below the drain. If someone remove part of the slab and they find the top of the footing 1 inch below the top of the slab this could be a good plan. If they find 10 inches of dirt and concrete over the footing this plan will not help.

    You may not have the head room for this plan. If you have 48 inches or more of head room no problem. If you have 14 inches or less of head room no way will this work. Somewhere in between is a number yes it could happen but it will be a miserable job.

    Walta

  51. Poliana | | #90

    It's November 2020 and we still have water in our crawlspace. The architect replaced the footing drain and waterproofed the foundation around the crawlspace. He did the work during the summer 2019. His plan was to have the work done in two fazes: one was water proof and change the footing drain. Second: in a case that we still have water coming through, then he will do a drain under the slab. The water came back, but the architect doesn't answer to our emails anymore....since April. My husband hired lawyer......

    1. Expert Member
      BILL WICHERS | | #91

      Sure sounds to me like any perimeter drain that may have been installed probably wasn't installed correctly. Walter has posted several good pics showing the proper location and installation of a perimeter drain at the level of the footing, which should prevent most bulk water problems in a basement or crawlspace.

      I'm not sure how you would add a drain under the slab without at least sawcutting the slab in a bunch of places.

      Unless you're in an area with very unusual groundwater issues (like a subterranean stream), I think that something was either not installed or not installed correctly with your house regarding drainage and/or foundation waterproofing. You'll probably need to do some excavation to determine exactly what is going on.

      Bill

  52. joenorm | | #92

    How much water are we actually talking about here?

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