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Water pooling under house...

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  1. #1
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    Default Water pooling under house...

    Firstly G'day all, I am new to the forum so thank you in advance for any help.

    I have just purchased a new house and among several other jobs on the list one has just popped up that I figure has to be brought to the top of the list.

    I recently noticed a bit of a smell coming from under the house. I cannot find any crawlspace access for the house, so I was limited to peering throught ventilation grills. What I saw was a bit of a bugger! there was what seemed to be grey water pooling under the house!!! It did have a bit of a smell to it but I know it is not sewer, at least not from our house as the bathroom is on the other side of the house and seems to be working fine.

    The first issue is getting access to the crawlspace as I have no access or at least cannot find what is the easiest way to create an access point for now and into the future. I have what seems to be concrete foundations around the perimiter, with a combination of brick support walls and brick pillars for the remaining internal supports.

    Q1. Do I cut through the floorboards or the outer foundation wall to create the access?

    Q2. Once I have pinpointed the issue what is the best way to remove the water?

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Can't really help with the access but as for removing the water:

    1. Find out where it's coming from and fix that. You may need to turn on all the taps and get water flowing down the drains to find the leak if it is a drainage leak as you seem to suspect. The shower is the first one I'd check - leaks involving showers are pretty common.

    Where is the hot water service located? They are notorious for developing leaks and for some strange reason these leaks are often found when the property changes hands. If you can't find the hot water service inside or outside the house then it will be either under the house or in the roof.

    If it's not drains or the water heater then it could be either a leaking water pipe (fresh water) or it could be storm water, probably due to a damaged pipe coming from the roof. A leaking mains water pipe should be easy to spot. To check storm water you'll have to wait until it rains or put the hose up on the roof to get water flowing that way (maybe not a good idea if you live somewhere with a water shortage).

    2. To remove the water you could siphon it using a garden hose assuming there's at least some slope on your block. It will take a while but will do the job as long as you can run it down hill somewhere (otherwise it won't siphon). Only real trouble you'll have here is if it is sewage in which case draining it onto the street or down near the back fence isn't a good idea (and it will block the hose too).

  3. #3
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    Not having access under is pretty unusual, Has there been a porch or deck added that might of blocked the access?
    If not i would put one through the perimeter wall, pick one where the joist are spanning (give you a bit more height)

    When we first moved in are old place it had a tiled bath, use to leak like a sieve. Wall was totally rotted as well.

  4. #4
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    Get under there to determine the cause first mate. Previously I have cut a hatch into the floorboards but in an inconspicuous spot like in a built in robe, under the stairs etc.
    It could be something as simple as a cracked gully under the floor waste or shower, or something more sinister like a host of cracked pipes and a minor blockage.
    A little off topic, I done a job a few weeks ago at gymea where an elderly lady on her own called and said the pest control bloke told her the whole under the house was underwater.
    Crawled under the house to find every single earthenware riser had snapped off just under the slab and dropped two inches.
    To make matters worse, the sewer had been blocked for God knows how long and the front half of under the house was a good foot under raw sewage.
    The immediate area we had to work in was covered in a good four inches of solids and the only way to fix it was bust everything out, drag it out and start again.
    With only 300mm of clearance into the hole to get under the house me and another plumber took it in shifts, we could only fit a black recycling tub under there with a rope at each end to drag it under, fill it up and drag it out again. Armed with disposable overalls, big rubber gloves and special face masks that police and ambo's use (to block out the smell of weeks old dead bodies) it took the whole day to bust it out and cleear all the rubbish away then drag bags of sand under to spread out for when we laid up the new pipework.
    We left it for a few days (the elderly lady stayed at her daughters in the meantime) then went back to lay up the new stuff in PVC.
    Worst job I have ever done, my mate said its the worst one he's seen in almost 30 years of plumbing!
    Sorry about the rant guys just thought I'd throw that in!
    rusa-026.jpg

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    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderplumb View Post
    Get under there to determine the cause first mate. Previously I have cut a hatch into the floorboards but in an inconspicuous spot like in a built in robe, under the stairs etc.
    It could be something as simple as a cracked gully under the floor waste or shower, or something more sinister like a host of cracked pipes and a minor blockage.
    A little off topic, I done a job a few weeks ago at gymea where an elderly lady on her own called and said the pest control bloke told her the whole under the house was underwater.
    Crawled under the house to find every single earthenware riser had snapped off just under the slab and dropped two inches.
    To make matters worse, the sewer had been blocked for God knows how long and the front half of under the house was a good foot under raw sewage.
    The immediate area we had to work in was covered in a good four inches of solids and the only way to fix it was bust everything out, drag it out and start again.
    With only 300mm of clearance into the hole to get under the house me and another plumber took it in shifts, we could only fit a black recycling tub under there with a rope at each end to drag it under, fill it up and drag it out again. Armed with disposable overalls, big rubber gloves and special face masks that police and ambo's use (to block out the smell of weeks old dead bodies) it took the whole day to bust it out and cleear all the rubbish away then drag bags of sand under to spread out for when we laid up the new pipework.
    We left it for a few days (the elderly lady stayed at her daughters in the meantime) then went back to lay up the new stuff in PVC.
    Worst job I have ever done, my mate said its the worst one he's seen in almost 30 years of plumbing!
    Sorry about the rant guys just thought I'd throw that in!
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    Next time we start complaining about the price of a plumber remind us of your post.

  6. #6
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    Ha ha, yep it was disgusting mate but someone's gotta do it! The clothes I wore under my disposable overalls got binned, I couldnt get the stink out.
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

  7. #7
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    Bit off topic again, but whats the problem, if there is enough room, to cutting an access hatch through the wall. If that were my house I would prefer the option of easy access at any time when needed. I honestly cant think of any. But please regard this as a suplementary question rather than an answer.

  8. #8
    Golden Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderplumb View Post
    Ha ha, yep it was disgusting mate but someone's gotta do it! The clothes I wore under my disposable overalls got binned, I couldnt get the stink out.
    I'm sure one of the less glamorous jobs you have had to perform. Certainly doesn't sound pleasant.

    I am wondering how much a job like that would have cost? Do you have to add a bit to the hourly rate (or job in general) for "nauseating work"?
    I'm no expert, but know enough to be dangerous...
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gooner View Post
    I'm sure one of the less glamorous jobs you have had to perform. Certainly doesn't sound pleasant.

    I am wondering how much a job like that would have cost? Do you have to add a bit to the hourly rate (or job in general) for "nauseating work"?
    Not as such Paul, a lot of tradesmen will overquote a job they particularly don't want to do and usually end up with it anyhow!
    It isnt right to up the hourly rate simply because of the pooh factor, after all its part of being a plumber!
    We gave them a price based on X x men at X x hours plus materials etc, taking into consideration stuff like gloves, overalls, tipping fees and actually getting to the tip. Even the clothes I binned, king gee shorts and an embroidered shirt there's $60 in its self.
    We came out in front but in the big scheme of things it was a minor victory!
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

  10. #10
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    Sorry to ressurrect an old thread but I have almost the exact same problem as the OP. I've seen under our house and it appears there is a few inches of water under the house.

    Is there any tips for tracing the source of the leak and how much would something like this cost to fix as I'm running out of money on this house.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Madness View Post
    Sorry to ressurrect an old thread but I have almost the exact same problem as the OP. I've seen under our house and it appears there is a few inches of water under the house.
    Fresh (clean) water or sewage?

  12. #12
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    Well the water doesn't have a noticeable smell so I assume fresh.

  13. #13
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    So I had a quick look under the house today and there is more water than before. As we've been having alot more showers due to the heat I believe the water is from the abthroom. Also I noticed that it appears that our kitchen is attached to the strom water as after I did the dished today the strom water drain outside had alot of foaming water.

    Looks like this house is going to cost me more than I had planned for.

  14. #14
    Diamond Member Terrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nww1969 View Post
    Next time we start complaining about the price of a plumber remind us of your post.
    Quote Originally Posted by wonderplumb View Post
    Ha ha, yep it was disgusting mate but someone's gotta do it! The clothes I wore under my disposable overalls got binned, I couldnt get the stink out.
    and then tell us about the job where you walked under the house, nothing in the way, ran the new pipe, was offered coffee, almost got some dirt on your boots and had absolutely no problem getting paid for the job
    (oh, wait a sec, that was my plumber

    na, seriously, the min floor to soil distance should be at least 1m by law, anything less and the place ought to jacked up to the min 1m

    Back on topic, take the advice form wonderplumb, cut the floor in a cupboard or similar, find & fix the leak, drain the liquid away.

  15. #15
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    Default Underfloor liquid

    Who'd be a plumber?

    When you have no clearance and ...errr ,,, solids under there ... get a plumber.

  16. #16
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    So I had a plumber come over the other day from a large company. His words where "Holy crap thats alot of water" followed by him telling me that he just joined this company and it would be much cheaper to go with someone else as his price was $225 for the first hour and $120 for every hour after that.

    So I've called a second plumber who first said "You're not getting a bunch of quotes are you? I don't want to be wasting my time. I'll be over in the afternoon" with him then never turning up.

    Now finding another plumber to take a look at this.

  17. #17
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    So just to update, I had a plumber come over and it took him 5 mins to say that I had a dam under the house. The gound level under the house is lower than the surrounding ground level.

    He suggests digging a trench and an aborbstion pit for about $2500. That sound about a right price? I'm a complete newbie here.


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