Typically the wintertime isn’t when to worry about a leak in the basement. It’s dryer and colder out, so what’s the point? Snow may be solid, but it’s still water, and if you don’t pay attention to it you could be facing a serious leak in your basement.
The most important reason to worry about your basement is dealing with any flaws in your foundation. If there are any cracks and holes in your foundation, you are bound to come across some moisture build up (which is the basic cause of most leaks). When snow melts around your basement, the moisture will build up and get trapped in any frozen soil or your basement walls/floors. If that moisture accumulates and doesn’t have a place to go, problems will certainly arise. The hydrostatic pressure (downward pull of gravity) will push down and trap the moisture and can cause new cracks in your foundation.
Now there are a few steps you can take when it comes to avoiding moisture build up such as this. First, check for any and all cracks or holes in your foundation, and make sure your basement walls and floors are in tip-top shape. Even if it’s the middle of winter, there are still affordable ways to dry up your wet basement that don’t all require you to go outside.
Next, you want to make sure all of your eaves, troughs, and downspouts are at a proper distance from the foundation of your house. Make sure all of your gutters are in perfect working condition, free of excess leaks. The downspout should be at least four feet away from the building to ensure that water doesn’t leak too close to your foundation. If you need to fix up this system outside of your house, here’s how to install gutters for your home.
However, a fixed gutter system and small foundation fixes still aren’t the only way to prevent moisture buildup in the winter. Have you thought about the soil surrounding your foundation yet? Yes, that actually matters. There are certain types of soil that can actually prevent leaks and flooding by absorbing moisture. Clay soil is a great example of this and can help your basement drain properly in the wintertime.
Lastly, you want to make sure that your drains aren’t clogged and your window wells aren’t leaking. Clogged drains can back up your pipes and can cause overflow in your basement. If your windows aren’t properly sealed, water can easily leak into the basement windows if there isn’t proper drainage.
So if your basement is the nice and toasty place to hang out this winter, the last thing you’re going to want is to find a damaging leak. Avoid any future repair or damage costs by covering all of your bases when it comes to moisture buildup.