If you live in the upper Midwest, you know that the humidity is not to be taken lightly. Because of the weather conditions throughout this area, you’ll want to regularly check over your home for signs of moisture, water damage, and structural damage.
If you’re not sure where to begin, you can use this 2021 home health checklist to make your way through your home and identify any spots that may need repairs.
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Assess Your Home’s Structural Health
Living in Minnesota or North or South Dakota, the structural supports of your home protect you from all the ups and downs of the Midwest’s weather. In return, you’ll need to make a point of checking on them during each season to better prevent water damage.
The structural health of your home directly correlates with the state of your foundation, joints, and any piers you may have in place. Unfortunately, your foundation may start to slip out of place if any of these features start to suffer from damages. Similarly, you may fall victim to more frequent leaks or even pest infestations if the warning signs go unnoticed.
All of these foundation issues are a direct result of hydrostatic pressure. As rain and snowmelt build up in the ground outside your home, that runoff comes into contact with your foundation. This makes it difficult for your foundation and other supports to remain at a consistent temperature. In an attempt to compensate for the rapid temperature changes, your support materials will start to rapidly contract and expand, eventually fracturing under the stress.
Act quickly if you catch any of these warning signs:
- Popped nails
- Wall and floor gaps
- Uneven floors
- Vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or stair-step cracks in your walls
- Sticking doors
- Bowed basement walls
The outside of your home can also expose signs of excessive hydrostatic pressure. Be sure to check your chimney to see if anything’s cracked, and frequently check your foundation for signs of sinking or settlement. If you notice any cracking or breaking, you can get in touch with the professionals in your area for expert advice and solutions.
Look Over Your Crawl Space
Next, you’ll want to closely look over your crawl space. Although these spaces are small, they can significantly impact the overall health of your home. If you let a crawl space suffer from moisture for too long, it can rapidly become home to several different types of mold. These molds can settle in the drywall on your upper floors and become nearly impossible to remove. Not only will they be an aesthetic nuisance, but they can also compromise your respiratory health and that of your family members.
Signs of crawl space damage include:
- Standing water or moisture
- Wood rot
- Sagging floors
- Open vents
- Damaged insulation
- Unpleasant smells
- Pest infestations
Another sign you may have crawl space issues in your home is if your utility bills rise seemingly without reason. Your HVAC system has to work harder when there is moisture present in order to control the temperature throughout your home. Moisture in this area can also damage your pipes, causing your water bill to rapidly rise as well.
Check Your Basement
While not all homes have them, the many homes throughout Minnesota and surrounding areas have basements. Although your basement may not be as sensitive as a crawl space, that doesn’t mean it can’t deteriorate if exposed to too much moisture. Just as it would a crawl space, mold will make itself at home in your basement, leaving the same negative effects on your family’s health if not taken care of.
Your basement often houses more of your home’s structural supports, and damage done to this area could mean problems for your foundation and your home’s overall stability.
Look for these signs as you inspect your basement:
- Standing water that doesn’t drain
- Water-damaged belongings
- Unpleasant smells
- Damaged appliances, including your sump pump
- Obvious leaks
Unfortunately, foundation issues may have many of the same symptoms, making it hard to determine the actual cause. You’ll want to talk to one of the professional foundation and basement repair professionals working in your area to properly determine where the damage in your home is coming from and what you can do about it.
Get in contact with a basement waterproofing, foundation repair, and crawl space repair professional to appropriately repair and prevent any damage you find during a home inspection. The contractors at Innovative Basement Authority working in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota can walk through your home with you and help you determine signs and sources of damage. They’ll also be able to provide you with a free quote on any services you may need to repair your home.