Water In crawlspace

The house I inspected today had a few small puddles of standing water on top of the vapor barrier. There was minimal water staining on the foundation walls and nothing appeared to be leaking. The gutters and downspouts were terminating at least 4 feet from the property. Grade was positive. Where could the water have come from. At what point should I recommend a contractor to identify the source of the water and attempt to correct it. The majority of the crawlspace was dry.

When I find water in a crawlspace, I write it up and recommend that a qualified contractor be hired to identify the cause and affect the proper remedy for the condition.

I never suggest why a material defect exists or how it should be repaired. It is inconsistent with the standard of practice, as well.

Ok thanks. You are right. It’s not my job determine cause or methods of repair. I just want to be a little more knowledgeable about the situation

Plumbing leak, perhaps? HVAC condensation?

hmmm could be condensation.

Several years ago, I ran across the same situation you describe. It was pretty dark and my first reaction was to stick my finger in the “water” and smell… it was cat pee! :vomit: (or some other kind of animal :shock: ). Stupid I know but I haven’t done that again since. Crawlspace puddles can come from many sources :wink:

Animals! I feel like an idiot. I checked everything I could think of but I never thought of animals or condensation.


Would you write:
Several puddles of standing water were found in the crawlspace. Moisture in the crawlspace can encourage microbial growth and/or damage structural members. Moisture can be due to plumbing leaks, condensation, poor site drainage, animals and a host of other issues. A licensed contractor should determine the source of moisture and correct the issue.


Several puddles were found in the crawlspace. Recommend a licensed contractor to determine the source of the moisture and correct the issue.

Any suggestions for improving the narrative are welcome

At least you didn’t taste it. :mrgreen:

Yes… define “puddle”.

One inch diameter,
One foot diameter,
Two feet diameter…

Thanks Jeff. Good suggestion


A non sealed vapor barrier can still allow moisture to accumulate above the plastic. It condenses for one of many reasons. Also holes in the plastic can allow moisture to migrate up. I have seen the cat pee but there was also droppings. Totally gross. You have some good narratives suggested.

What else can cause a puddle?
I did a place on the weekend and low and behold the HVAC tech ran the condensate line on top of the vapor barrier in the crawl.
Very dumb considering the utility sink was less than 4 feet from the High Efficiency Furnace. LOL
Plumber goofed too because he did the lines right under the crawlspace access.

We have lots of nasty crawlspaces here. I have refused a few due to either being unsafe or the fact I can see toilet paper.

I have also crawled in some and five minutes later came back out because I had seen enough.

The one thing I don’t do is crap and there are lots of different animals that will leave you gifts. Some so bad the plastic is covered in poop. I have also experienced dead cats and dogs.

To answer the wetness question you need to provide more detail. Water can come from only so may places. These include:
gutter drainage
outside grading
condensation from ductwork
and of course animal pee…:smiley: I posted a pic for your enjoyment. All the small grey pieces were dinner for the cave crickets.

I have several comments and sadly I have one made to blanket the crawlspace when all conditions exist. It prety much says the crawlspace is gross and need a full remediation.

Animal puddle…huh…???..test taste warranted by qualified contractor. :slight_smile:

I think its called the lick, sniff test myself.
Electricians just use the lick test…:shock:

If the crawl space surface is below the exterior grade, good exterior grading may not be sufficient to keep water out during moist conditions. Once the water gets in, a very good humidistat-controlled power ventilation, and/or perimeter drainage (drain tile and sump pump) system may be necessary to effectively remove the moisture and keep the crawl space dry if that were the case.

I’ve observed in my area that houses often tended to be built without basements – usually with crawl spaces that have surfaces well below the grade – in swampy areas, where houses were generally not built with basements until poured concrete foundations became the norm.

And of course, there are also plumbing leaks and animal urine. :smiley:

Don’t forget the TPR valve terminated in the crawl space. Even though I see what is supposedly a TPR drain line, I note the location before I go in the crawl space. You would be surprised how many are disconnected during a change out of the water heater.