photo of a windowsill with snow covered trees and landscape outside

Preparing Your Basement for Winter

 

Fall is upon us. In the midst of the beautiful weather and pumpkin spice lattes, it’s important not to forget one key fact: winter is coming, and winter can wreak serious havoc on your home if you’re not prepared. Basement flooding is an issue usually associated with springtime, but your home is still susceptible in the winter due to melting snow and ice. If you have a basement, there are things you can do to keep your home protected during the winter months and even prevent potential damage when spring rolls around:

  • Fix existing leaks. This is crucial when it comes to preparing your basement for winter, as any existing problems will only become worse (much worse) when the temperatures drop. After it rains, check the perimeter of your basement, both inside and out, for pooling water, foundation cracks, and any other visible issues. During the winter, water can seep into cracks in your home and then freeze. The freezing water will expand, causing the cracks to become larger, thus allowing more water into your home. If you notice any foundation issues, call a contractor and have them fixed ASAP.

 

  • Clear your drainage systems. As the end of the fall season draws nearer, give your gutters a thorough cleaning to remove any leaves or other debris. Blockages in your gutters may cause precipitation to overflow and then leak into your basement. If you have a sump pump, get it inspected to make sure it’s in proper working condition. Pooling water around your sump pump hose may freeze during the winter and cause permanent damage to the sump pump.

 

  • Protect your pipes. Frozen pipes are bad news; frozen water puts pressure on pipes and can cause them to crack or even burst, resulting in serious basement flooding. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to insulate your pipes using special pre-molded sleeves, heat tape, fiberglass, or other insulation methods. For more information about how to keep your pipes from freezing, contact a local professional.

 

  • Check humidity levels. Basements are prone to moisture and mold growth, especially when humidity levels are high. This is mainly an issue in the summertime, but it’s not uncommon for basements to remain humid during the winter months. Check the humidity with a humidistat, and if it reads over 50, consider running a humidifier. This will remove some of the moisture from your basement and prevent mold and other bacteria from growing.

 

  • Service your HVAC system. Have a specialist come out to inspect and repair any issues in your heating system and air ducts. An efficient heating system will keep you warm and save you significant money on heating costs all winter long.

 
 
As winter approaches, it’s important to prepare your basement for the wrath of snow, ice, and freezing cold temperatures. With the proper maintenance, your basement can be a comfortable living area all year long. For foundation and drainage inspections and repairs this fall, contact the experts at Epp!