How Clever Preparation Can Protect Your Home This Winter

These small changes can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your home safe and dry through winter.

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The winters in Kansas City, MO, can be tough. With cold fronts regularly sweeping in from the north and an average of 15 inches of snow falling annually, this season can be rough on your home. While the cold snaps and snowstorms are bad enough, things tend to be hardest for your home when the snow and ice begin to thaw. The excess water that can pool around your property’s foundation can cause a number of issues and seep through existing cracks in your walls. 

Dampness has many possible ramifications for your health and home with mold formation and increased humidity being at the top of the list. So, with all that in mind, it’s best to take precautions before winter really begins to bite. 

working exterior drainage

Prepare for Winter and Keep Your Home Safe 

Fall is the best time to plan ahead and prepare your home to deal with the onslaught of rain and snow that winter can bring. If you want to avoid the damage (and costs) that a flooded home can bring, here are some simple things you can do to prepare your home. 

Insulate Exposed Pipes 

A frozen pipe can quickly become a burst pipe, and this spells trouble for your home. If you want to prevent this, insulating pipework that runs through your basement or crawl space is a good start (especially if this space is not insulated). Having foam insulation panels installed is easy and cost-effective; most basement repair firms can do this quickly. 

Remove and Store Garden Hoses 

Another common cause of frozen pipes is standing water in pipes that connect to exterior fittings. Some examples are your sump pump discharge line and exterior faucet. Removing garden hoses from their fittings is one way to protect your home. When dealing with equipment that cannot be detached, like a sprinkler system, for example, it is best to blow out the system to remove standing water. 

Improve Yard Grading (and Plant the Right Vegetation) 

Your yard plays a huge role in protecting your property’s foundation from flooding and damage; if it is improperly graded it can funnel water toward your home. A simple way to protect your home this winter is to ensure your yard slopes away from your home. Alternatively, you can plant a mix of seasonal vegetation to improve the ability of your soil to manage moisture. This will also prevent long-term soil erosion. 

Clear Gutters and Downspouts 

Cleaning out your gutters and downspouts is a relatively simple task that has a huge impact on the safety of your home. Sudden cold snaps can cause your gutters to freeze, after all, and if this happens while there is a lot of debris in the system, your gutters can freeze solid. This will lead to water backing up onto your roof or spilling over to pool by your property perimeter. When the ice begins to thaw, this solid mass will take longer to melt than the thin ice on your roof, meaning any water that collects until the gutter has cleared will also spill over. Furthermore, the icicles that form on blocked gutters can damage the gutter and even your roof, so taking the time to clean your gutters is a really good idea. Additionally, make sure your downspouts are angled away from your home or placed in the ground and direct water away from the foundation. 

Maintenance Advanced Basement Waterproofing 

If you have more pressing concerns about the health of your basement or crawl space, it is time to call in a professional. Simply scheduling yearly maintenance for your sump pump, dehumidifier, and/or water heater will go a long way toward protecting your home. Better still, you will be able to ask this professional to check for warning signs and red flags in the space. If water is seeping into your basement through cracks in the walls or floor, it is important that you have a professional assess and address the issue to mitigate further damage. 

Likewise, if you find that the measures described above have not been successful in keeping your home dry in the past, it may be time to consider more advanced waterproofing measures. Upgrading your sump pump, installing vapor barriers and drainage systems, or insulating your basement can have huge benefits, but these tasks will need a professional touch. Don’t worry, however; there’s no reason you can’t schedule waterproofing work in fall and winter. Simply contact the experts at Foundation Recovery Systems for a free inspection and estimate on potential basement, foundation, or crawl space repairs.