Preparing Your House for Winter
With winter just around the bend, preparation for severe weather is crucial. Winter can pose significant danger to the integrity and stability of houses. Because of this, homeowners are given suggestions to help protect their structures, such as removing or trimming back overhanging limbs, as limbs hanging over a house get heavy with snow and can fall onto the roof. But even though these kinds of precautions are important, one of the most crucial winter preparations is protecting foundations.
During the cold months, your foundation is susceptible to a lot of shifting. When temperatures drop and rise, the soil freezes and expands, putting a lot of pressure on your foundation. This movement can cause significant damage, which could potentially leave you without a safe, reliable structure. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to help protect your foundation from the cold. Some of these are:
Signs of water leaking. Image: State Farm. License.
Take a look inside of your basement. If you see any cracks, water leaking in or mold, or if the air is musty, your basement could be suffering from water damage. When it comes to houses, uninvited water is rarely a good sign. One way to help with water drainage is installing a sump pump in the basement, which transfers water away from the structure. Also, for some cases, French drains can be used, which are installed in the yard and intercept water before it has a chance to reach your foundation. More on basement waterproofing at RamJackOmaha.com.
Ensure Gutters are Working
If rain gutters are clogged with debris, they will become weighted down with snow and ice, and will not function properly. If the excess water is not transported away from the house, it can pool around the foundation, causing even more shifting and damage. Ideally, rain gutters/downspouts should extend 5 or more feet from the house to ensure proper drainage.
Slope Soil Away from Foundation
Look around the perimeter of your house. If the landscape slopes towards your house, melting snow and ice will head straight for your foundation, forcing the soil to expand. If necessary, fill in the lower areas with dirt to ensure that water will be directed away from your foundation. More on sloping soil at HomeGuides: Slope Grading.