Frost, freezing temperatures, and ice storms – typical weather elements of Indianapolis, IN, winter months. All three can attack your unsealed crawl space or water-prone basement and damage it.
Is winter preparation important?
Yes, it is. As the weather starts warming up, the snow begins to melt and saturate the soil. The excess water finds its way to your exposed crawl space or unprotected basement. In some cases, the snowmelt can be several inches high. Even if water trickles through cracks, a damp basement or crawl space can cause problems such as mold growth and poor indoor air quality. To avert these issues, it’s important for you to prep up your home. Take preventive measures to avoid basement or crawl space flooding after every snowstorm.
Winter preparation measures
Re-grade the soil
Fluctuating temperatures will cause snowmelts. To protect your foundation, regrade the soil around it so water flows away, not towards it. Make sure the ground slopes six inches for every 10 feet. The simplest way to re-grade the ground is to add more soil close to your foundation and tamp it. Ensure the soil stays below the grade so your siding won’t rot. After that, you can plant flowers and shrubs.
Their roots will hold the foundation soil in place. If there are trees, ensure they stay at least five feet from their foundation.
Install an interior drainage system
Interior drainage is an integral part of preventing leaking water from reaching your belongings stored in your basement. This specially designed system sits in the sub-floor around your basement’s perimeter, or just beneath the dirt crawl space floor, and it intercepts leaking water. Then, this water is channeled to a sump pump system so it can be properly removed from your home.
Get a sump pump
These devices are necessary for homes in flood-prone neighborhoods. They sit right on top of sump pits in an accessible part of the crawl space or basement. When water collects in the pit, the sump pump actuates and ejects water from the pit to the outside. This investment will protect your home from melt-offs.
Seal foundation walls
Water can infiltrate your basement through small cracks. Seal the crevices along the basement walls and floors as well as sill plates. If you notice significant cracking, you may need the help of foundation repair professionals with specialized fixes. Don’t forget to weatherstrip the windows and seal off your window wells from the outside so the snowmelt won’t pool in there.
Clean your gutters
Fluctuating temperatures will cause the snow on the roof to melt and flow into the gutters and through the downspouts. Make sure you install gutters to protect your foundation. Without these fixtures, melting snow will pour from the roof and saturate the foundation soil. This water can exert pressure on the concrete walls and cause cracks.
Clean up your gutters by removing dead leaves, twigs, debris, and pine needles that obstruct the natural flow of water. You’ll need a strong ladder, trash bag, garden hose, and gutter scoop. If you’re not confident of your cleaning abilities, hire a roof cleaner to do the job. Also, consider, getting a gutter guard to prevent leaves and debris from collecting on your gutters.
Prevent frozen pipes
Come winter and temperatures can drop below 20°F. At this point, pipes will freeze, burst, and inundate your home with water. You can avert this problem and the resulting water damage by closing the garage door if lines run through your garage. If you have crawl space or basement water pipes, seal and insulate the doors, windows, and sill plates. Remember to insulate the exposed pipes with heating tape.
When the temperature falls below 20°F, let a trickle of cold water run from the faucet. This will reduce pressure buildup, which is responsible for burst pipes. Open your cabinet doors as well so warm air can circulate around your water pipes. If you’re planning to go for some days, set the thermostat at 55°F.
Install a plastic vapor barrier
Moisture can buildup in the crawl space especially if there’s a dirt floor or incomplete plastic liner. Encapsulation helps prevent evaporation and lower humidity levels. Two factors responsible for condensation, mold growth, and stagnant water. Additionally, a crawl space dehumidifier dries out the air and removes pollutants from the air ensuring your home stays dry and dust-free.
While vapor barriers are generally used for crawl space encapsulations, they also can be placed on basement walls.
- Shovel the heap of snow from around your foundation and ensure it stays three feet away from your home.
- Disconnect the garden hose from the faucet and store it.
- Clear ice and snow the collects in your downspouts
- Place sandbags around your foundation to prevent basement flooding
If you’d like to waterproof the basement or crawl space of your Indianapolis, IN, home to protect it from snowfall and melt offs, contact Indiana Foundation Service. Our experts have the knowledge and experience to protect and repair water damaged homes from winter weather. Schedule a free waterproofing inspection and quote to get started.