8 Ways to Protect Your Basement from the Harsh Winter Weather

Are your home and basement ready for the freezing winter weather? Heavy snowfall, ice dams, and sub-zero temperatures can instigate problems. Take action now before it’s too late.

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As cool autumn slowly gives way to the freezing winter, you have a short window to prep your home and basement for the snowy weather ahead. Plummeting temperatures and melting snow can take a toll on your foundation and basement. The damage that follows may set you back thousands of dollars. 

Waterproofing your basement can help solve part of the problem. Among sealing leaks and insulating your pipes, there are other measures you can take to shield the basement from water damage. 

clean drains and gutters

1. Insulate Your Water Pipes 

If your pipes are exposed to extreme cold, the water in them freezes then expands, leading to the bursting of the pipes which potentially can cause flooding. To prevent this problem, wrap the basement pipes with insulation and heat tapes. If the temperature drops below freezing, open the cabinet doors to allow warm air to flow around them. 

2. Seal Leaks and Crevices 

Cold and snow can cause crevices and leaks in your foundation, opening the way for water to enter your basement. Inspect your home inside and out for small crevices that may become larger as a result of freezing and thawing water. Hire a professional to seal all the cracks in your foundation as soon as possible. 

3. Clean the Gutters and Downspouts 

Clogged gutters interfere with the free flow of water. Clear your gutters of any sticks, leaves, or any other debris so that melting ice can flow easily. This helps to prevent ice damming, cracking gutters, and melting ice leaking into the basement. It’s also important to make sure your gutters are free of clogs and angled down and away from your foundation, or even placed in the ground and in good working order. 

4. Maintain Your Sump Pump System 

Your sump pump system has a discharge line that can potentially freeze during cold weather. Water stagnating around the discharge line may freeze and damage your sump pump. FreezeGuard™ Discharge Line is the best solution to the harsh cold winter. It has a grated adapter on the outside, where the discharge line exits your house. If the underground pipe freezes during winter, you can still pump water out without worrying about backups in the basement. 

5. Grade Your Yard 

The ground around your home should be positively graded, meaning it slopes away from the foundation so water won’t flow back. Make sure the ground slants two inches for each foot you move away. This ensures rainwater or melting snow flows away from your home’s foundation. 

6. Trim Plants and Dead Branches 

Trim trees and shrubs that stand close to your home as they can collect snow and release them to your foundation as water when it melts. The closest trees and shrubs should be at least 12 inches away from the foundation perimeter. This will discourage pests from using the trees as staging areas as well. 

7. Invest in Backup Power Sources 

In the event of a power outage, a power back-up like a portable generator will ensure your appliances never go off. A battery-operated sump pump will protect your basement from potential flooding by moving water out fast. 

8. Install pressure release valve 

Plummeting temperatures will cause water to freeze and expand in your pipes. The freezing water will exert pressure on the water pipes, causing them to burst. This causes leakage and eventual basement flooding. To avert this problem, you should install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. It will decrease the pressure in the pipes. Winter is fast approaching and most homeowners in Washington, DC, fail to realize that snow, wind, and ice dams can wreak havoc on their homes. To be on the right footing, you should partner with a local basement contractor. Contact JES Foundation Repair for a free basement waterproofing inspection and quote. We can help you carry out those last-minute basement repairs and waterproofing so you won’t wake up to a burst pipe and a flooded basement.

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