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Three Ways to Protect Your Home From Damage This Winter

exterior basement waterproofingWinter is quickly approaching, and if weather predictions are correct, it’s shaping up to be another rough one. This means more ice and snow this winter, which in turn can mean problems for homeowners.

Accumulating snow and ice can have devastating effects on home structures, and when they begin to melt, extensive water damage can occur. It is important for homeowners to take care of their homes throughout the winter months in order to avoid expensive repairs down the road.

Ways to Protect Your Home During Winter

What are some of the things you can do to protect your home during this cold, snowy winter?

  1. Clear Snow Away From the Foundation – While it may look pretty, snow around your home can mean trouble. When snow melts, it can result in big pools of water around your foundation and can leak into the basement. This can mean water damage and expensive home foundation repairs. To avoid this problem, homeowners should use exterior basement waterproofing techniques to keep melting snow at bay. Some exterior basement waterproofing methods include using basement window well covers to keep snow from collecting and melting in wells around the foundation, and shoveling snow that accumulates around the house to keep it from leaking into the basement.
  2. Beware of Snow Accumulation on the Roof – Sometimes the weight of snow is too much for gutters and roofing structures to hold, and this results in them breaking or cracking. Cracks in the roof can let water seep through to the ceiling and damage walls and other interior structures. Gutters are designed to distribute water away from a home’s foundation, but when they become damaged, they can let water sit around the foundation and lead to costly basement foundation repairs. To ensure your roof and gutters don’t cave under the pressure of snow this winter, consider hiring a snow removal service, and keep an eye on the amount of snow accumulating on your roof.
  3. Keep Pipes From Freezing – When temperatures drop below freezing it can cause interior pipes to freeze. Pipes expand when they freeze and can burst under too much pressure, causing water damage inside your home. There are a few things you can do to keep pipes from freezing this winter. First, you can wrap exposed pipes in an insulating material. This is particularly important in rooms that don’t receive any heat. Second, keep a small amount of water running through pipes when temperatures are below freezing, because water in motion is less likely to freeze. Finally, if you plan on leaving your home for an extended period of time this winter, leave the heat on just high enough to keep pipes warm.

The coming winter may be a cold one, but that doesn’t mean your house has to suffer the consequences. Remember to use exterior basement waterproofing techniques to keep snow away from your foundation, keep an eye on the snow accumulating on your roof and take precautionary steps to keep your pipes from freezing.

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What to Do When Your Basement Leaks

fix basement leaksFoundation repair contractors want you to know that every house is subject to basement leaks. No matter how skilled your home builder was, there is bound to be a few cracks in the foundation of your home eventually, which may lead to basement leaks.

Causes for basement leaks:

  1. Claw Bowl Effect – This occurs when the more porous water around the house collects rainwater and ends up settling, which causes the water to settle with it causing a depression. The water then travels down this depression and pools in areas around your foundation.
  2. Clogged Drain – A footing drain is what you see outside of the house’s foundation and funnels water away from the house. The drain is porous and collects excess water, but if this is clogged, the waters ends up pooling either in the drain or at the entrance to the drain.
  3. Drainage Breakdown – This occurs when the footing drain is still clogged and the water doesn’t drain anymore, so it builds up in the backfill. If the backfill is saturated with water, this can cause hydrostatic pressure that ends up pushing the water into your basement.

Troubles of leaky basements

If a basement leaks, it can damage or ruin your carpet, building structure, and any electronic equipment you have in the room. You should keep expensive electronics off the floor to prevent any further damage. A leaky basement can also create mold problems and the costs for repairing a foundation are expensive.

How to fix basement leaks

If you find yourself in a leaky basement situation, there are a few ways to fix basement leaks. First, you should always call a professional, they will have better wet basement solutions for you and your home.

If you want to fix basement leaks yourself, the first thing to do would be to dig a six foot deep trench around the outside of your house in order to expose the foundation bricks and any pipes.

After pressure washing the bricks and letting them dry, you can then patch the cracks and install or update any necessary drainage to stop basement leaks in the future. For example, installing a french drain can be a great solution because it offers a better way to collect water.

Preventing basement leaks

If you don’t want to fix basement leaks, you should probably consider a few important preventative methods.

Be sure to clear out your gutters regularly — especially after the fall — this will make sure rainwater drains adequately from the roof of your home. Many basements leak due to sump pump issues. Prevent your sump pump from backing up by testing and inspecting it on a routine basis. Other home owners have sewer issues that lead to leaks. A blackwater valve can prevent water damage by automatically closing if the sewer backs up.

Along with cleaning out the gutters of your home, be sure to clear away any pooling water from your home after any snow or ice melts. Do this as winter comes to an end and you will have a much more enjoyable spring.

For any other preventative methods or if you have a leak, make sure you call a professional to get your basement waterproofed.