Crawl Space Encapsulation Sump Pump

Crawl space encapsulation is difficult work and many don’t want to spend the time or money to install a sump pump. Homeowners that have dry crawl spaces are certainly not convinced a sump pump is necessary or even a dehumidifier.

Do I need a Sump Pump in a Dry Crawl Space

I am empathetic with every homeowner asking the question of, “Do I need a sump pump?” The fact is when we inspect a crawl space more than half the time there is standing water or evidence of standing water on the vapor barrier. Standing water and high humidity can lead to mold and foundation problems. In those instances, recommending a sump pump is easy.

What is a tougher recommendation is advising the homeowner to install a sump pump when there is no evidence of standing water. If you are looking only at current circumstances, it makes no sense to install a sump pump in a dry crawl space.

I Wish I Installed a Sump Pump

We preach a worry-free crawl space. This means planning for future contingencies. We have been fixing crawl spaces for many years. Not saying we have seen it all, but we have seen a lot. It is heartbreaking to tell a homeowner we have to rip out the vapor barrier and redo the crawl space encapsulation. This happens because crawl spaces typically flood given enough time.

image of sump pump

Why Did My Crawl Space Flood

If you are wondering why your crawl space flooded, it can be for several reasons. Typically, it is from a footer drain problem. After several years of shifting dirt and clogging footer drains, the water has nowhere to go. Many times the footer drain is plugged or never gets run to daylight. We see this for french drains and downspout extensions as well.

Read our last article:

Crawl Space Encapsulation Vent Fan

The second most common reason is pipe leaks. Flooding from pipe leaks is very common due to cold weather or too much pressure. Sewer pipe leaks are the worst to deal with. Think about all the times you have had to deal with a leaking toilet or faucet. All that water has to go somewhere and it is usually your crawl space.

These are just two of the reasons we recommend installing a sump pump even in a dry crawl space. We hope your sump pump will never turn on but it is nice to know it is there when you need it.

I hope you found this information useful. Please comment below if you have any questions or would like to say hello. I am also putting a video for you to watch that could help further explain crawl space sump pumps.

Contact us if you need help fixing your crawl spacebasementatticduct-work, or yard drainage by clicking here.

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14 thoughts on “Crawl Space Encapsulation Sump Pump”

      1. Hi Michael … I read/ watch your videos all the time … very informative!!!
        I bought a house 14 years ago with a crawl space … the space was dirt … insulated with batting between the joists and housed a few critters over the years!!
        I finally saved and had a contractor out to encapsulate. He had recommended digging up the outside to replace/install a drain and have a sump pump installed … took me a bit to wrap my head around this as I never have noted water in the space … had the job done … had the place cleaned out … spray foamed … dehumidifier installed … Looked and smelled wonderful!!! House was warmer in the winter! Was so glad with the job … until …
        This is the first spring/summer post job completion … sump pit in … 3 drains from outside walls …
        On the south side of the space … when it rains, there is water under the plastic … waterbed like!! I climbed in once and noted the drain from that side had a slow trickle … the west and north side seem ok! Again … never had standing water previous …
        Last rainfall … quite heavy … my crawlspace took on water above the plastic … the pump was running and as the rain let up, the water eventually drained … what I found interesting here is I thought the water came up from the over flowing pit (?) but the pit sits up about 4-6 inches above the ground … and when the water receded it was able to go below this … so a leak around the pit!?!
        I contacted the company … he came out had a look … talked about heavy melt, frozen ground … monitor … still having problems …
        Does this sound odd …
        Could this simply be that I am now draining more water as the water soaks down the rocks around the house quicker and into the plastic drain pipes …
        Or is this a crappy job!?!
        Thank you!

        1. Hi Cara, not sure where you are located but contractors can make things worse if they don’t know what they are doing. For example, sump pits and pumps should always be buried and the top of the pit should be at dirt level, not sticking out of the dirt. If they did that incorrectly, there is a good chance other repairs may not be done as well as they should. We see this many times when we have to redo crawl spaces that other contractors have “fixed”. Sorry but hope that helps and thank you for watching our videos and reading our blogs.

  1. Michael, my crawl space is largely dirt, but has a large “valley” on one side that is mostly cement. The company I’ve had out to give me an estimate on encapsulation has said that they don’t feel confident in being able to get a sump pump set up in that valley, and they’ve recommended putting one in at the higher end of the crawl space where it’ll be easy to dig the pit. They said this would still help with potential groundwater issues, but it still doesn’t seem like a very effective solution.

    Does it make sense to you (without seeing the crawl space itself, granted) to do this? If not, is the solution to just forgo the sump pump, or to buy a LOT of dirt and fill in the valley? Thanks.

    1. Hi Peter, it would do some good to install a sump pump as you describe but it would most likely only deal with the water near the pump. If the lowest part of the crawl is the concrete valley, I would not expect a pump installed higher than the valley to address any valley water. Not sure who installed the concrete or why but be careful it is not there to secure the footer or for some structural purpose if someone recommends breaking it up to install a pump. I don’t see filling in the valley with dirt addressing flooding, the water will still sit on the concrete valley and mix with the dirt. I hope that helps.

      1. Hello Michael
        I don’t have standing water in my crawl space , however one company says I need to install one along with encapsulation and a dehumidifier because the dirt is very moist. Another company says I don’t need a sump pump. I’ve also asked both companies about the vent fan and they said it was not recommended. I’m so confused as to what I need to do. I live in Georgia and I wish Crawl Space Ninja serviced my area. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

        1. Hi Reneeta, Thanks for reaching out to us. Keep in mind my advice relies on how we choose to address crawl space issues based on our experience and recommendations from state and federal organizations. According to, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, anytime the dirt inside the crawl space is lower than the dirt outside the crawl space you should install a full perimeter waterproofing system. This is because of the risk of future flooding through the foundation wall and the water table rising from below during heavy rains. This is also whether you currently see or have a standing water issue or not. The EPA Indoor AirPlus (Environmental Protection Agency) program recommends an active vent fan blowing 1 CFM of air out for every 50 square feet of crawl space to address odors and soil gases that may occur after the vents are sealed during encapsulation. Both of these are recommendations and not mandatory which is why many contractors choose to not follow these guidelines. If it were my house, I would follow the recommendations. Sorry we are not in your area of Georgia. We do cover quite a large area of the state. Hopefully one day we can have an operating franchise in your area. I hope that information helps you.

  2. HI Michael,
    I do not have standing water in my crawlspace. However, having a french drain and sump pump installed – along with encapsulation. Do I also need a dehumidifier?

    1. Hi Grace dehumidifiers are a great addition to encapsulation and water management so I would recommend it if your crawl space humidity has the ability to exceed 60%. Hope that helps.

  3. Hi MIchael, we have quite a bit of standing water under our house. We had a reputable well known company come out last summer and give us an estimate to install two sump pumps & encapsulation only in the affected areas. It seems to me that with such a major water issue, there would still be humidity after the work is done. And when encapsulation is done, isn’t it advisable to do it in the entire area of the crawlspace?

    1. Hi Sandy, you are absolutely correct. We would recommend waterproofing the full perimeter of crawl space and install humidity control measures for the entire space. Not sure if you know this but I wrote about a bunch of myths and bad advice contractors say in my book as well as advice on hiring a reputable contractor. Hope this helps. Here is a link to the book if you are interested.

  4. I contacted crawlspace ninja to look at my crawlspace. I have very clay-ey soil that holds water. Underneath our fireplace, the dirt floor goes down 3 to 4 inches below the rest of the dirt floor grade in a 3×4 foot area. In this 3×4 ft area, water collects up to as high as 2 inches. I contracted crawlspace ninja to seal my vents, encapsulate, add a dehumidifier and a crawlspace vent (bronze plan) and they will be installing in the near future. When I asked about this 3×4 ft section that has standing water depending on how bad it rains – the crawlspace ninja technician didn’t seem concerned about it. But I was wondering what your thoughts were regarding this situation? Is it ok that water comes and goes inthis little area as long as its encapsulated? If I could avoid the cost of adding a sump and sump pit (if its not necessary) – that’d be great but if it needs to get done or if leaving it would make things worst or make encapsulation of my crawlspace moot I’d like to know as well.

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