Hot chocolate and warm blankets are just some of the delights that come with winter weather. But did you know that winter can also wreak havoc in your home? From snowmelt flooding your basement or crawl space to frozen pipes bursting, these are just some of the issues that homeowners have to deal with each year. To combat these issues, Minneapolis, MN, homeowners are advised to carry out the following preparations and repairs.
How to Protect Your Home During Winter
Grade Your Yard
As the weather warms up between storms and snow melts, the resulting water has to go somewhere. All too often, this water ends up flooding unprotected areas like basements or crawl spaces. Even if the water merely drips in through cracks in the wall, a wet basement or crawl space is a hotbed for all sorts of problems like mold growth, pest infestation, and wood root.
To stop snowmelt from entering your basement or crawl space, start by improving the soil grading of your yard. Grading the soil will help guide snowmelt away from your foundation rather than toward it. Ensure the ground slopes downward at a total of six inches over 10 feet from your foundation.
Seal Cracks and Holes in Your Foundation Walls
Although those small cracks in your foundation walls might not seem like a big deal now, in the wintertime, they allow melting snow to enter your home. These cracks also allow your conditioned air to escape to the outdoors, making it hard to keep your home warm. Before it gets too cold, inspect your foundation walls for cracks and holes. Should you find any, contact a professional to seal them and fix them with foundation repair solutions if need be.
Inspect and Repair Broken Gutters
Clear away any debris from your gutters to prevent blockages and ice dams, which can cause flooding. Safely trim any branches hanging over your house and repair damaged guttering. Finally, secure your downspouts so they point away from your home.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are a common casualty of cold weather. As the temperatures drop, the water in your pipes starts freezing and expanding causing pressure to build up and break your pipes. The result—thousands of dollars in flood damage, mold growth, and wood rot.
To avert this issue, insulate the pipes in areas in your home where heating is sparse like the garage, basement, or crawl space. When the temperatures dip too low, keep your closet and cabinet doors open to let in warm, conditioned air to prevent your pipes from freezing.
Install a Vapor Barrier
Dirt crawl spaces are prone to moisture buildup during winter. To waterproof your crawl space, we highly recommend installing a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier prevents moisture from entering your crawl space through the dirt floor and walls. This helps control humidity levels, which can lead to condensation, mold growth, standing water, and poor indoor air quality. While vapor barriers are most commonly used for crawl space encapsulation, they also can be placed on basement walls.
Install an Interior Drainage System and A Sump Pump
If winter becomes too cold and harsh, your fixtures may freeze and block, leading to flooding in the basement or crawl space. Proper waterproofing methods play a critical role in ensuring your basement or crawl space does not flood even after a heavy rainstorm. An interior drainage system intercepts leaking water and redirects it to the sump pump, which is designed to remove it from your home. If you have these fixtures already installed, inspect them for damage and have them repaired.
Install a Dehumidifier
As the temperatures drop, you might notice some changes in your home, like condensation forming on your windows due to high humidity in the basement or crawl space. High humidity levels leave your basement or crawl space damp and prone to moisture issues and mold growth. To protect your home, install a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier provides an effective way to control moisture levels in your home during the colder months. It dries water out of the air more quickly, thus helping you avoid mold and air quality issues.
Basements or crawl spaces are ground zero for potential water damage, especially in winter. Should you need professional help protecting your home from the elements, contact Innovative Basement Authority for a free basement inspection and quote today.