How to Get Into a Crawl Space

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Some crawl space accesses are built directly into exterior house frames.
Some crawl space accesses are built directly into exterior house frames. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Crawl spaces not only serve as the foundation of a home, they also provide an easily accessible area perfect for running all of the various heating and plumbing pipes, ducts and wires needed in today's modern houses. Of course, you're going to need access to your crawl space if you're going to store all those vital components down there. Fortunately, regulators and lawmakers realize this -- most building codes require a crawl space access hatch of at least 18 by 24 inches, according to contractor and nationally syndicated columnist Paul Bianchina.

Search the exterior of your home for an access hatch. Examine the foundation near ground level. The access hatch should be covered with some sort of insulated and weather-stripped door or panel, but more rarely it could just be an open hole leading under your house.

Check inside your house if you can't find an access hatch outside. Look for a hatch inside the basement or in the bottom of a closet or pantry if no obvious hatches are visible.

Open the hatch or door covering the access point. You may have to unlock a basic lock or latch before you can swing the door open.

Shine a flashlight into the crawl space before you enter it. Avoid entering the crawl space if there are signs of mold, vermin or snakes, standing water, chemical odors or any other possible health hazards.

Tips & Warnings

  • Inspectapedia.com recommends you wear gloves, a respirator, eye and head protection, knee pads and some sort of full-body protection whenever you have to enter a crawl space.

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