crawl space inspections

Here in the northwest, most of our homes have a crawl space. My question is, when the crawlspace has standing water in it, do you put on your scuba gear and go for it, or do as much of a visual as possible and note a reason for not a full inspection.

I have encouuntered houses with 1 to 2 inches of water under the vapor barrier, and several with 2-3 inches of standiing water on top of the vapor barrier.

You would obviously note the water/moisture problem in the crawl space, but would you slosh in to make further inspections?

NO under house swimming for me.
Pest control chemicals/devices, potential sewage, electrocution… are reason enough even if no water is standing but it’s muddy and I can/will get the house dirty coming out of the interior floor access.
Dry it out and I’ll complete the inspection at a later date for a fee.

I agree, I never go into a crawl spaces that have standing water near the hatch. For obvious reasons such as hazard to your health (could be electrical) but as inspectors we just don’t know whats down there. I for one don’t want to come up soaking wet and get in my truck. I will report on my findings and then come back for a reinspect when the water has been removed.

Steve as you can see I to am in the NW and understand your problem , I was previously in the Vancouver area for a while but now in Boise and we seem to have standing water here to.

Good luck hope it helps

If possible, I go where it’s dry and do what I can do. But I avoid getting wet. I always specifically disclaim, giving locations, parts of the crawl space that were not accessible. For example: “the left rear corner of the crawl space was inaccessible due to standing water. This area includes the spaces beneath the laundry and kitchen. Defects may exist which were not discovered.”

Here is water coming from a sump pump in the crawlspace and discharging next to the entry door. The pump would cycle off with 2 inches of water still in areas of the crawlspace.

Flat, low neighborhood area with no way to drain water anywhere.

Same house had solid aluminum wiring, roof at end of life, hvac at end of life, Zinsco panel, rotten gable siding, many brick cracks, 10 plumbing problems inside the home and 15 yr old water heater in the house.

Interior looked good cosmetically, seller is a young house flipper that did not get an inspection before he bought it.

What bothers me is that these houses eventually sell, when a buyer comes along that can not afford an inspection.

Feb22 2008 011.jpg

Maine I love my dry basement, and I can walk in it too. ha. ha.

Don’t envy you guys, I would not crawl in a wet crawl.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:


While it is not the greatest thing in the world, with the requirements of the SPI, there is very little you can do except have the waterproof coveralls. There is no way to perform a Complete Pest Inspection without being able to probe all the sills and posts. Heck, even the new Washington State test building had 2 inches of standing water and muck under it during the last classes. Prime area for wood rot, termites, moisture ants, and fungi.

Now if it was waste water, you can refuse to enter. But how do you know? You don’t. It is a judgement call. Just be ready to explain to the State if there is a complaint filed.

For those of you that don’t live in Washington, in order to report this conducive condition, you must have your Structural Pest Inspectors license. While there has been much debate on this board, it IS a conducive condition and you CANNOT report it without your license. Now that may change with the new legislation. It looks like it may pass this time, but you never know.

Give Pete Doane or me a call. We can tell you horror stories about the homes out in Aberdeen and Hoquiam and other areas on the coast.

So without a Pest lic. how would you comment in your report?

Steven as a matter of fact Washington Administrative Code WAC 16-228-2005 Section I states that: These rules will not require inspectors to make extraordinary efforts to gain access to areas deemed inaccessible by the inspector. Or areas that imperil the health or safety of the inspector.
This is the way I read it and have used this as my standard for inspecting in Washington when I was there. With water in the crawl space this can be a safety hazard, how do we know if their are electrical wires laying on the ground.

Now we know that WAC 16-228-2025 Section F states that standing water or evidence of seasonal standing water in a substructure is a conducive condition.

Then it states under WAC 16-228-2035 section 3 Substructure crawl areas must be inspected when accessible. The report findings must state that inaccessible substructure crawl areas may be vulnerable to infestation by WDO’S and should be made accessible for the inspection. Which I interpret as when the water is removed I will come back and do a thorough inspection.

It really comes down to the requirements of your state. If they don’t require anything then you can report on the conducive conditions. However if you see any WDO’S then refer out to a licensed Exterminator/Inspector. Now in Washington an Inspector cannot report on any conditions conducive to WDO’S like Steve said. So what some inspectors do is contract out to companies that do perform the WDO inspection. This allows them to still perform the inspection and not lose any business. And even better they provide the full report. I have mentioned in other threads that anyone performing inspections in areas that have WDO’S should get some kind of certification even if the state does not require it. This only furthers your knowledge in the inspection industry.

Good luck hope this helps.

Joe you hit the nail on the head here. if the hatch area is not full of water then enter. If you do encounter water in other areas then your, right report that those specific areas are unaccessible to further evaluate. And then you must start drawing diagrams and maps (yeah what fun).:slight_smile:

I was trying to understand what Wash. Law says. Seems silly that you can’t comment on conducive conditions at all (at least that is what I understand). “Standing water noted n crawlspace” is all you could say? What if client asks, “Can that lead to termites?”
As I understand it, without a Pest lic. you can’t answer that question (in Wash).

I couldn’t type it all sorry here is the link

If someone ask me I would anything is possible.