Although the “basement leak season” mostly coincides with spring and fall rains, basements can leak any time of year. A leak won’t check with the calendar and won’t care that it’s the night of the holiday party or that you’ve just installed new carpet. But don’t think that you are defenseless against basement leaks. Take advice from our Baltimore waterproofing experts, because we know what we are talking about. Here are a few things you could do to reduce the likelihood of a basement leak this winter.
Clean or Replace Gutters
If you don’t have a french drain around your home, your gutters and downspouts are the only line of defense between the roof water runoff and your basement. We often take gutters for granted—you have them and that’s all that matters, right? Actually, there is a lot that can happen to gutters over the years. Screws come loose, metal rusts, leaves and twigs pile up—you get the picture. All this can cause your gutters to not do their job as designed, which means the roof runoff from rain and snow goes straight to your foundation and basement windows, resulting in leaks.
Check your gutters periodically and keep them in a good shape. Clean them every fall and spring to remove accumulated debris. Thinking about installing a gutter guard to be done with cleaning once and for all? Carefully research the available options, because they can actually worsen the problem. If leaves stick to the top of the guard and block the holes, your gutter will be useless. If your gutters look bent or broken, consider installing new ones.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
Although we often think of a basement leak as something external, don’t forget that there are water sources in your basement that can also leak. We are talking about pipes. If your basement is unheated, take care to wrap any exposed pipes with proper insulation. If your basement us heated, keep the heat at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. You may still need to insulate the pipes closest to the outside walls.
Remember to attend to your garden hoses as well. Disconnect, drain it and put them away for the winter. A frozen garden hose is capable of creating pressure that can burst an interior pipe. This means you will have a lot more to replace than a torn hose.
Remove Snow Around the House
When it snows, it’s tempting to spend the snow day wrapped up in a warm blanket next to a fire. You may think your neighbor is crazy for going out and shoveling in this weather, but they are not. Besides cleaning your driveway, also push the snow away from your foundation. This way when it melts it won’t go straight down the side of your home and into your basement. If you have a deck, try to clean it too for similar reasons and also to reduce any moisture damage.
If you do these 3 things in a timely fashion, you will have a much lower risk of basement leaks. And don’t forget to check your sump pump too if you have one to make sure it’s working. Does it have a battery backup? This is something to consider if you live in an area prone to power outages. You will need either a battery backup or a separate power generator to keep the sump pump on if there is an outage.
Have a current basement leak or want to take even more precautions? Call our Maryland basement waterproofing experts for professional help.