Pipe Burst in Crawl Space


Old 05-20-09, 09:14 PM
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Pipe Burst in Crawl Space

I have a cottage that I keep open year round. My furnace failed this past winter and pipes froze under the house. Water kept running into my crawl space until the pump finally failed. Subsequently, skunks moved in after I left the access door open to dry out the crawl. I am currently working with my insurance company to repair damage and cleanup the mess. I have a few questions:

1. the cottage is on sand. Is it possible that all the water could have allowed the footings to sink? Some of the doors in the house won't close anymore.

2. the skunks left behind a mess (fecal matter and urine). Plus the excess water under the house has me worried about health risks. It smells like a bathroom in the house. Insurance company referred me to a flood cleanup crew. Are they steering me toward the right people?

3. Anyone have any advice on what I should be demanding from insurance? I'm thinking at the very least that I need the crawl completely sealed (it wasn't before). Not sure that I'll be able to make a claim on the footings. The building is old and not the greatest construction. The floors were uneven before this disaster, but at least the doors all worked.

My biggest concern is that I am rather uneducated in this kind of stuff and I am concerned that the insurance company is going to be trying to get away with putting out as little as possible rather than truly taking care of the problem.
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Old 05-21-09, 03:49 AM
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1. It depends on how the deep the footings go. If they are shallow, it is likely they have suffered and the building has settled.
2. Flood cleanup crew, definitely. They know what they are doing, and have the equipment to do it with.
3. I am not a fan of sealing a crawlspace. Others on the forum are, so you will get differing views on it. IMO sealing a crawlspace encapsulates any existing moisture and prevents it from ever leaving, even migrating moisture from the living space. Here in the South, we are required to install foundation vents on all sides of the structure to allow for cross ventilation in order to keep moist air moving and eventually drying out. In Michigan, it may not be a sound method, since your warmer season is short, and your winters are much harsher. Our other guys (Airman1994 will chime in shortly, so hang in there)

The insurance company is a business. They are looking at bottom line just like you are. However, in an enumerated loss, they will work with you. They surely don't want the moisture to eek itself up into the living space, causing mold (more $), getting into the attic space and causing moisture problems, or mold on the decking (more $), warping the decking, deteriorating the roofing (more $). So you see, if they get in there and help now, they will alleviate further cost on their part. You didn't say, but I am sure an adjuster has been there already, right?
Old 05-21-09, 05:42 AM
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Chandler asked and he shall receive. 1st thing that must be done is to remove the water and RH. Dehumidifiers must be put in the crawl and home for a couple of days. Once it is dried the doors might work if they or swollen from the RH.
Next crawl must be sprayed with a sanitize to kill anything that is down there. Then at least a 6 mill VB should be placed on the ground and run up the walls to ground height. All seams should be sealed. Close vents because this will let in any moisture that is in the air to a all ready cool area.
Old 05-21-09, 12:23 PM
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Thanks for the replies, fellas. I appreciate it.
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