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What Effects Does Winter Have on Your Foundation?

Winter is Harsh on Home Foundations

Winter and your Foundation Infographics

What causes foundation problems during winter? 

The two main culprits for damage to your foundation during winter are frost heaves and frozen pipes.

Essentially, the cold mixed with water is not a good combination when it comes to foundation health. 

Frost Heaves

Frost heaves is the upward swelling of soil during freezing conditions caused by the presence of ice forming in the soil.

Water expands as it freezes, so it forces the soil in various directions.

The pressure from the soil on your foundation is what can cause the damage. 

Frozen Pipes

You may be thinking, how do frozen pipes cause foundation damage?

Well, let’s go through what happens when your pipes freeze.

First, the temperature will drop to at least 20°F, which will cause your pipes to potentially freeze if they are not properly insulated.

Next, the water pressure will build in the pipes.

When the pressure becomes strong enough, the pipes will burst.

Your burst pipes will then begin to leak water very quickly. If this goes unnoticed, in the basement or in your walls, the water will begin to deteriorate the walls.

Foundation cracks could occur if the water damage remains unnoticed or ignored. 

How to Protect Your Foundation During Winter 

Now that you understand the potential cold weather has to cause foundation problems, let’s discuss different things you can do to help prevent these things from happening. 

Clean Gutters

Many homeowners first think that their roof is essential for proper water drainage, while this is true, your gutters are a vital tool in your foundation’s health as well. If your gutters aren’t clear, the water will not be drained properly. Instead of the melting water being directed away from your home, it will drop straight down to the foundation of your house. 

Slope Soil

As mentioned earlier, throughout the winter, the soil is constantly expanding and contracting. This is important to remember for landscaping purposes. The soil around your home should be sloping downward, away from the foundation. 

Insulate Pipes

Keeping your pipes from freezing can be tricky when you live in certain areas of the United States. Insulating your pipes is one way to help your pipes from freezing. You should also keep your home at a minimum of 55°F during winter, especially if you are going to be out of town.

Inspect Foundation

Make sure you stay on top of your foundation’s health. Examine your foundation regularly, especially if you see any warning signs. When in doubt, bring in a professional to assess your home.

Pay Attention to the Warning Signs

Warning signs could be cracks in your walls or floors, doors that used to open and shut with ease now get jammed or won’t close properly, and windows that won’t close all the way that used to be fine.

Get peace of mind by contacting a contractor today!

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