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Water entering crawl


Richard Moore
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I got a call from a client I did an inspection for in January. Typical 1999 2 story on a crawl. Evidently he was in his crawl (reason unknown) during a period of heavy rain and noticed water coming in (how much is not clear). When he pulled back the moisture barrier he found that it was coming in at what appears to me to be the water service entrance sleeve. He sent me this photo.

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I should explain at this point that the gentleman is ESL and communication is not that clear (he also sent me a picture of the GAS meter as a way of explaining that this wasn't near the water meter!). Anyway...he says it only comes in during heavy rain and he doesn't appear to be blaming me, he just wants to know what is happening. There was snow on the ground during the inspection and I don't remember anything strange about the crawl other than it was very toasty down there due to three disconected heating ducts. The home appeared to have normal below-grade roof drainage and I wouldn't have expected site drainage problems (although I believe this is a clay area).

I'm going to go out and see what I can see, but I suspect water is accumulating in the backfilled trench and entering the outside end of the sleeve. My questions are...

How far do these sleeves normally extend away from the foundation at the exterior? Are they normally sealed? Can they be effectively sealed? Finally, do I recommend a plumber, a general contractor, or a drainage guy as it seems some digging or excavation is going to be needed?

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Sleeves are normal cut flush to the concrete wall and sealed on the exterior and interior to stop water and insects, but I can see from your picture that they look like they are extending abut a foot pass the concrete wall, so I would expect to see about the same length outside. A labor to dig the three to four foot hole and seal the sleeve

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Originally posted by Richard Moore

Thanks Monte.

Any particular product used for the seal, or just a good quality silicone caulk?

If it were my house, I'd dig down to the sleeve and dump in a 25 pound bag of clumping cat litter (the kind made of bentonite). That'd plug up Hoover Dam.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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