Winter is coming, and as your foundation waterproofing experts, we have the basement maintenance tips you need to keep your property dry and protected as temperatures start to drop. Proper basement preparation pays dividends by keeping both the property and the possessions stored in it safer, which, in turn, protects your family from potential health risks created by drafts, pests, and mold. We’ve put together a short basement checklist that will help you make sure you’re ready for cold weather, and if it turns out your basement needs professional help, there’s still time for our foundation experts to help you get your basement repaired and prepared.
Foundations Don’t Take the Winter Off
Your foundation provides support for your home year-round. For basements, that means providing the extended space needed for storage, utility rooms, or more living space. You need to be proactive when it comes to your basement. As temperatures cool and warm throughout the fall before the freezing cold of a Pennsylvania winter sets in, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to ensure your foundation is ready to keep your house warmer and stand strong against sleet, rain, snow melt, and soil expansion. That’s where our basement maintenance tips come in.
Getting Your Basement Ready for Fall and Winter
This basement checklist gives you the basic steps you need to make sure you’re ready for the changing weather. Follow it item by item, address issues you find along the way, and be ready to reach out to the pros if you encounter a major issue that needs an immediate response or seems bigger than your tools and experience are ready to tackle on your own.
- Inspect Your Basement For Any Signs of Damage
Start by cleaning and clearing out any trash, debris, or unwanted property that may be in the way. Now is a great time to take last year’s coats or blankets to your favorite local charity to help keep someone less fortunate warm through the winter. Inspect your basement for cracks, leaks, bowed walls, or any pulling away of a wall from the floor. Keep an eye out for water damage that could point to plumbing issues or seepage, as well as claw marks, signs of chewing, or droppings left behind by rodents or bugs.
- Fix Cracks in the Floor or Walls
Floor and wall cracks may be cosmetic, but if they’re wider than ⅛ of an inch, show signs of water infiltration, or come with other structural deformities, it’s time to call in a foundation repair specialist now. For hairline cracks or spalding, concrete repair can be simple, straightforward, and help you spot whether cracking is a continuing problem or just a minor blemish from the foundation curing over time.
- Clean and Inspect Your Sump, Sump Pump, and Backup Power System
Your sump system collects the moisture in your basement and moves it out of your walls and away from the house, where it can be returned to the land’s natural drainage. Clean out your sump pit and drain, removing debris that could clog up your pump and pipe. Check the pump for proper operation and ensure it is moving water from the pit to the drainage location using a garden hose. You’ll also want to make sure any automatic switches or backup power sources are fully operational to make sure your basement is protected.
- Clean and Repair Gutters and Downspouts
One of the most overlooked basement maintenance tips on our checklist isn’t inside your basement at all. The gutters around your roof and the downspouts that bring the water they collect to the ground can easily become clogged, leading to pooling water, ice dams, damage and leaks to the gutters, and eventually, even basement flooding.
Clean your gutters and downspouts of any debris, and install gutter guards that help keep leaves, sticks, and other debris from getting lodged and causing a clog that leads to pooling water. If your downspouts aren’t moving water far enough from your home or your gutters are damaged, professional gutter and downspout services may be needed.
- Clean out Any Window Wells and Close Windows and Vents to Eliminate Drafts
Drafts can introduce moisture to your basement through condensation, bring in cool air that works its way up through the floorboards to increase heating costs for your entire house, and potentially freeze pipes under your floorboards, leading to leaks and bursts that cause thousands of dollars of damage. Clean and seal all windows and window wells, and ensure that any vents to your basement or crawlspace are closed tight to keep your heating bills lower.
- Fix Any Leaks or Moisture Sources
Whether you have leaking pipes, water seeping through walls, or condensation from a clothes dryer’s warm air hitting the cooler air in your basement, work to eliminate any source of excess water and moisture in your basement.
- Check and Install Pest Control Products
Bugs love moisture, dark places, and plentiful food. By keeping your basement clean and dry, you’re robbing them of the comfortable home they’re looking for. To further ensure they stay away, strategically place bug and rodent traps in areas they are likely to traffic, but make sure they’re accessible enough to check frequently so you can dispose of unwanted guests.
Your Foundation Pros are Only a Phone Call Away
With years of experience protecting the homes of your friends and neighbors, we’ve earned our reputation as trusted basement waterproofing and foundation repair experts. Our work is backed by a lifetime guarantee, and we use American-made parts to keep your basement dry and safe. There’s no cost or obligation for an initial inspection where a pro will look at any existing issues or damage, form a plan that protects your property, and give you a detailed estimate so you can make an informed decision. Schedule your visit from A.M. Wall Anchor & Waterproofing today.