Monday, April 20, 2009

Animal (cats & Dogs) Feces in your crawlspace

Ok, ok, I know this is an unusual post, but I need to rant for a few minutes. I will come to anyone’s home and inspect their nasty crawlspace for free -- usually with a smile on my face. Nothing and I mean nothing turns that smile into a frown faster than when I find out they let their pets use the crawlspace as shelter. I love animals, don’t get me wrong, I have a chocolate lab named buddy and gray long haired cat named prissy. They are like family to my wife and I.
However; I do not let my pets run rampant in my crawlspace. If you do not realize that this is a bad idea, I’m here to tell you it’s a bad idea. Why, you might ask? The majority of crawlspaces have some type of vapor barrier (plastic) on the ground. The pet (dog or cat) will urinate or defecate on top of the plastic. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that this will stink, and it will cause your whole house to stink because up to 40% of the air you breathe on the first floor came from the crawlspace. The urine will sit on top of the plastic for months until it all evaporates. You would be surprised of the amount of homeowners that call me out to their home complaining of an odor coming from their crawlspace when they let their dogs and cats live down there.

In one crawl I inspected, I saw a decaying dog lying on the ground next to a pipe. Its head was suspended up on the pipe, because his collar got stuck on the pipe. I asked the lady about the dog and she said 3 years ago their dog went missing. Now this was very unusual, and the way he hung himself was even stranger. Just another reason to keep your pets out of your crawlspace.
Can you imagine crawling through urine puddles and feces to inspect a crawlspace? It’s not fun, in fact, if you knowingly let your dog or cat into your crawlspace, it’s rude. Now, I’m not complaining about the homeowner that opens their crawlspace access and the dog or cat gets down their accidentally. I’m just on a rant; I’ll be over it tomorrow.

Thanks for reading the rambling thoughts and rants of a crawlspace inspector,

Larry Ralph Jr.


  1. Wish I had something clever to say about this but nothing comes to mind except "wow, I've never thought about it..definitely something to rant about! and why am I reading a heading that states "Feces in your crawlspace" Ummm..

  2. I can imagine this would be gross! We shut our cat in the basement at night, and he has started peeing in the crawlspace and your right, our whole house STINKS!!! I am so mad about this, but trust me, i'd never willingly have a crawlspace inspector down there knowing that there is cat piss on the plastic.

    One question for you (if you ever read this post again) - the cat has actually moved the plastic aside and is peeing in the rocks. Can I pour water on the spot to facilitate the catpiss smell moving down into the ground? of course we would use a dehumidifier as well...Or would that be a really bad idea....

  3. I normally never would agree of adding water to a crawlspace, but that's probably a good thing to try. Just make sure you dry the atmosphere of the crawl with a dehumidifier.

    You could also try excavating some of the soil in the area you knew they were peeing.

    If the smell is too bad, you could look at installing our encapsulation system to seal the ground odors from coming up. (shameless plug, I know, but it will stop the smell).


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