With nearly 5,000 residents, the Village of West Jefferson in Madison County Ohio is located just 12 miles outside of Columbus.  It is quickly becoming one of the county’s fastest growing industrial communities. In addition to being the home for many large distribution centers including Target, Restoration Hardware, Mars and Petcare, West Jefferson is also home to Battelle, the world’s largest not-for-profit research and development organization.

One member of this growing community was experiencing some issues with her sump pump. She could not reach anyone from the company that installed it and later found out that they were no longer doing business in Ohio. She then contacted our call center to schedule a Free estimate with one of our Basement Doctor experts to have her sump pump checked before more heavy rains hit the area. Jim Shore, one of our Annual Maintenance Service associates, was able to work her in to his schedule that same day.

Once in the home, Jim found that the sump pump was going bad and recommended a replacement. He also noticed that the pump was plugged in to a 100ft extension cord that ran along the inside of the crawlspace. The homeowner explained to Jim that the previous contractor ran that extension cord through the crawl, drilled a hole in the floor of the bathroom and plugged the sump in the outlet there. This was a huge red flag for Jim since Ohio code requires that a sump pump be run on a separate circuit. Jim asked the homeowner if it was OK for him to look at the rest of the work throughout the crawl space that the previous company performed for her. She gladly approved his request and he proceeded with his analysis.

During his inspection, Jim came across some floor jacks sitting on concrete block, which was also on top of a vapor barrier. Certified professionals in our field know that support jacks should be installed first and encapsulation is done after the foundation is secured. He also noticed that the jacks were sinking down into the dirt, pulling the liner down into the soil and revealing that they were unstable. Upon coming out of the crawlspace, Jim showed the homeowner the pictures he took while he was in the area so that she could see all of the issues. She then exclaimed,  “OH! I guess that’s why that is doing that,” while pointing to a wall that had separated from the ceiling. Jim asked what the main purpose of the original work was to focus on and the homeowner replied structural. However, they pushed the encapsulation telling her it would all be OK. At that point, Jim recommended having a 3rd party Structural Engineer come out to re-assess what was going on so that the homeowner could feel more comfortable having another professional opinion on the work performed. She agreed.

The structural engineer met Jim at the home and began inspecting the floor jacks and joists in thewhole-home crawlspace. His finding was that the inadequate jacks were used (those available at Home Depot). They were also installed in the wrong locations, offered no load baring support, and the foundation the jacks were sitting on was not prepared properly. Visually, you could see the floor was not level and that the main beam were cracking under the weight of the home. Jim suggested that the current jacks be removed, concrete bases be poured to ensure structural rigidity, and seven PowerPost crawlspace stabilization jacks be installed in the appropriate locations to properly support the home. The homeowner agreed with Jim’s proposed remedy and was scheduled with our Production Department.

Calvin Sparks, Foreman, went to the home on a Saturday to pour the concrete footers for each jack Mike Jenkins, Service Manager, arrived on Monday to install the Power Post crawl space support jacks. With careful positioning and properly torquing the posts into place, Mike was able to restore the structural integrity of the home. You can actually see the crack in this beam which is now closed due to adequate stabilization.

The stress of dealing with a sub-par contractor, improper products purchased at a hardware store, and a company that won’t stand behind their warranty had caused this homeowner many sleepless nights. The Basement Doctor team was happy to help this sweet homeowner and give her the peace of mind she deserves.