LESLIE: Larry in Wisconsin needs some help with a possibly leaky water heater. What’s going on?
LARRY: Our house is roughly three years old and in our utility area we’ve been noticing damp spots on the floor.
LARRY: And when it does get a lot of humidity outside too, I’ve noticed some on my garage floor also but it’s just in those certain areas.
TOM: Yeah, and the fact that you’re noticing it in multiple places and it’s consistent with moisture outside …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Moisture.
TOM: … leads us to believe that this is a problem with drainage and not a leak.
TOM: And so what’s happening is water is collecting around the outside foundation. It’s pushing down that outside foundation wall. It can actually push up under the footing or certainly be drawn through the concrete or drawn up into the floor and you’re seeing the evidence of that in this staining.
So the solution here is outside the house. You need to check the gutters; make sure they’re clean, they’re free-flowing, they’re not dumping water anywhere near these areas. And secondly, you need to check the grading and make sure the soil slopes away. And you want it to drop about six inches over four feet and you don’t want it to be done with a lot of topsoil or mulch but clean fill dirt that you can pack and tamp down so that any water that hits it runs away.
LARRY: Alright. Sounds good. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.