STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich.--()--Traditionally, homeowners complete their fall clean-ups, settle in for a long, cold, winter, and don’t think about spring thaw until a few months later. Over the last few years, it's become obvious that global warming may be changing our weather patterns. There doesn't seem to be just one Spring Thaw anymore.
Throughout the winter months, homes and businesses are now being subjected to repeated freeze/thaw cycles due to rapidly fluctuating temperatures. During these cycles, ice and frost in the soil begin to thaw during warmer days and then refreeze at night.
According to Don Henry, a seasoned basement waterproofing contractor and member of the B-Dry® Owner’s Association, “As the ground thaws, it becomes more porous, readily absorbing melting snow and ice as well as any rain that falls. Frozen ground, snowpack and ice blockages all begin to melt, interfering with the natural drainage of the land and causing water to collect in unexpected areas. The moisture in the super-saturated soil creates hydrostatic pressure against foundations, potentially causing cracks in the masonry. Those cracks become points of entry for basement water.“ Mr. Henry continues explaining, “Once the water gets into the cracks, the freeze/thaw cycles become even more damaging, as the water expands and contracts inside basement walls.“
Homeowners must now be more vigilant than ever in taking preventative measures to protect their homes from basement water leakage and control the resulting damages.
To help ensure a dry basement, homeowners should remove any snow pack that has piled up around the home. Melting snow and ice drain into the ground and exert pressure against foundations.
Next, keep ice, snow and debris from blocking gutters and drainage pipes. Blocked gutters cause water to spill directly onto the ground around the foundation of a building and possibly seep into the foundation walls. When hydrostatic pressure becomes great enough, that moisture can find its way into the basement and cause flooding.
Professionally installed heat cables can help keep gutters functioning at peak efficiency. Downspouts should empty 10 to 20 feet away from the house, preferably onto a part of the property that slopes away from the foundation and has good drainage.
Many basements are equipped with French Drains or similar systems that can become clogged with sediment over time. If a drain becomes blocked, water can build up below ground level and exert hydrostatic force, pushing up through seams or micro-fractures in the masonry. It’s important to regularly check the drains to ensure that they remain clear and function properly.
Homeowners should also regularly inspect and test their sump pumps. If a pump fails during a snow melt, it may not be obvious until the damage is already done. During peak usage periods, be sure to check the pump daily. It's also important to check the discharge pipe to make sure that it's not frozen or clogged with ice or debris.
Finally, as these freeze/thaw cycles can occur over a period of months, homeowners should inspect their basements frequently for any new cracks that may appear. A visible fracture in the masonry wall is evidence that water pressure may have already damaged or is in the process of compromising the foundation and walls.
If homeowners are confronted with basement water leakage, they can visit the B-Dry® Owner’s Association at B-Dry.com and use the free Wet Basement Analyzer Tool to identify the nature of the problem and find appropriate solutions. Over 45 B-Dry® Licensees, in 24 states, have completed the intensive training program required for proper installation of the B-Dry® basement waterproofing system. Contact information for all Licensed Dealers, as well as information on obtaining free estimates and in-home consultations, is available on the website.
About The B-Dry® System
The B-Dry® Waterproofing System was invented in 1958 and received its first U.S. Government Patent in 1966. Installed by Dealers and Independent Licensees of B-Dry® System, Inc., it carries a lifetime warranty against basement water leakage. Members of the B-Dry® Owner’s Association receive updated training throughout the year. Over 300,000 homes nationwide have been waterproofed with the B-Dry® System.