Electrical Problems in a Crawlspace


The crawlspace inspection continues (Part Five) as we take a quick look at the electrical components down below.

1. Cracked foundation / possible structural problems
2. Leaking foundation
3. Drainage problems / flooding crawlspace
4. Plumbing components issues – leaking water supply lines, drain pipes, crawlspace water heater installation problems
5. Heating system issues
6. Electrical components issues
7. Floor framing and structure support issues
8. Structural pest infestation – those are Termites, Powder Post Beetle, and Carpenter Ants
9. Mold problems
10. Crawlspace ventilation and insulation

6. Electrical components issues in crawlspace area – this should be a quick one.

If you see any exposed, loose wiring and have no experience with handling such conditions, have a licensed electrician evaluate it for you. Always turn off the power when performing electrical work.

Shine your flashlight at the crawlspace ceiling level and look for any hanging conduit. It should be secured to the floor framing along its entire length. Loose sections of electrical conduit put too much stress on connections and connectors attached to the junction boxes, which often results in conduit sliding out of the couplings and connectors. Remember that all types of conduit must have an appropriate type of connector installed at any electrical enclosure / junction box wall penetration.

The weight of a conduit that comes out of the connector might also separate wires inside the junction box. So, simply pull them out of the so called “wire nut”, or splices. Keep that in mind, because you might electrocute yourself when trying to push that conduit back into the connector, especially when standing on the crawlspace wet floor.

make sure that the power is off when attempting such repairs, or hire an electrician.

All electrical junction boxes should have covers installed and secured so that any arching or sparking will be contained within the box.

Make sure that electrical conduit (any metallic type) doesn’t touch water pipes – if it does, corrosion will most likely develop, followed by the water pipe leaks, and sometimes cause conduit / wire permanent damage (potential fire hazard).

One more item, which is a required component of the house electrical system and very often located in the crawlspace area – ground wire and clamp on the main water feed line. Clamps and screws sometimes become loose, and you should make sure that it is securely attached to that water pipe, preferably below the main water shut-off valve (usually that would be between the valve and the area where your water main penetrates floor or foundation wall).

Pay special attention to the conduit, junction boxes, and any electrical fixtures located directly below the plumbing installations. They are often severely corroded, compromised by water leaks, and getting them examined by a licensed electrician is always a good idea.

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