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How to Prepare Your Basement for Snowmelt Season

Preparing your home for melting snow and rain is crucial for the overall health of your home and basement in spring.

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We can predict with certainty what will transpire in spring. Temperatures will be tolerable, the sunshine will be pleasant, flowers will bloom, and snow will melt. Everything looks and feels good until snowmelt starts causing problems. Yes, melting snow can spell disaster for your basement. 

Melt-offs that happen during this time trigger almost the same problems that Indianapolis, IN, homeowners face in rainy weather. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help mitigate the effects of snowmelt on your home and its foundation. 

waterproofing for snow melt

How Does Snowmelt Affect Your Home? 

During winter, indoor air is heated to create a comfortable living area. When your home is warm, it causes the snow around it to melt. Thawing snow can introduce a significant amount of water in the soil surrounding your property. The excess water exerts pressure on the walls of your foundation, causing it to crack. 

Snowmelt also causes basement flooding. With nowhere to go, melting snow starts pooling around your home and seeping through cracks in the foundation into your basement. This is what causes basement flooding. Spring rain makes the situation worse by speeding up the thawing while adding more water. As a result, your home may suffer water damage, moisture problems, mold problems, and foundation leaks and cracks. 

Snowmelt Preparation During Winter 

To prepare your home for the snowmelt season, here’s what you need to do. 

Interior preparation 

  • Most Indianapolis, IN, homeowners do not realize they have a faulty sump pump until their basement is flooded. To prevent this from happening, test your sump pump to confirm it is in sound working condition. 
  • Cracks in your foundation walls are due to hydrostatic pressure pushing against your walls. The resulting cracks allow water to seep into your basement. To protect your home, seal any leaking walls cracks before they widen. 
  • Waterproof your basement to protect it from water damage. 
  • Fill any gaps and joint spaces between floors and walls. 

Exterior preparation 

  • Shovel away any snow pile on your home’s perimeter so that it doesn’t melt straight into your basement. If possible, create a buffer area of five feet all around your property. 
  • If gutters are clogged, runoff from melting snow and rainwater will dump right next to your property’s foundation. Remove leaves and other debris from your gutters and downspouts during fall to prevent blockages. 
  • Add downspout extensions to channel melting snow away from your property. 
  • Check your sump pump discharge line to ensure it is on a slope and does not have any low points where water can accumulate and freeze. 
  • Ice buildup on the roof can lead to damage that allows melting snow to enter your home through the roof. Take time to remove snow and ice from your roof, window well, egress exits, and stairwells as well. 
  • Keep drainage areas around your home snow-free and ice-free so backups won’t occur. Melting snow will also drain away properly. 

Snowmelt Preparation for the Other Seasons 

Snow can leave your gutters damaged, putting you at risk of basement water damage when the rains start. Make sure to check your gutters and downspouts for damage and have them repaired before the next round of storms arrives. 

Warmer weather means a greater risk of mold and mildew growth in the basement. Mold can contaminate the air you breathe, leading to health issues like asthma and allergies. Inspect your basement for warning signs of mold, mildew, and wet patches. 

Take advantage of the cool fall weather to clean out your gutters and make your downspouts clear. Also, fix any grading problems before the weather becomes too cold to work outside. Improving the grading of your landscape is an effective way to control where melting snow flows. 

Is Melting Snow Leaking into Your Basement? 

Contact Indiana Foundation Service to request a free basement waterproofing inspection and quote. We use industry-approved basement waterproofing solutions that can offer better protection from heavy rain and melting snow.