Wednesday, June 12

How Winter Takes a Major Toll on Your Home’s Foundation

In the tail end of winter, it might be difficult to focus on anything related to your home’s maintenance. But as soon as all that snow starts to thaw, the excess ground water has nowhere to go but into your home’s basement.

What results is much worse than the nuisance of a flooded basement — when water seeps through your foundation, it can cause a fair amount of damage that wreaks havoc on your home’s structural integrity if left untreated.

That’s why February and March may be the best months of the year to purchase a flood insurance plan, according to a Consumer Reports article. National flood insurance takes effect 30 days after the policy is purchased, which means an insurance policy bought in February or March will be activated just as the snow begins to melt.

Getting a flood insurance policy is important even if you live in a low- to moderate-risk area; it’s estimated that as many as 20% of flood damage claims come from these areas.

Another common cause of basement flooding and water damage throughout this time of year? Burst pipes. According to the Southeast Missourian, pipes are highly prone to freezing during the winter. When water freezes, it expands — and causes pipes to burst open, and water to flood into walls, floors, ceilings and basements.

While the water flooding into your basement from a burst pipe won’t necessarily be causing foundational water damage, it can still have some negative effects. Mold and mildew spores can start growing in your basement in as little as 24 to 48 hours after moisture enters it — and mold poses a huge threat to the health of humans and pets.

To keep your home’s pipes from bursting this winter, let water trickle from your faucets overnight, as non-stagnant water will keep pipes from freezing. Heat tape and heat lamps are also effective prevention tools. And if you plan to be away from your home for several days, be sure to keep the thermostat set to 55 degrees or higher.

With the right preventive steps, keeping wintertime water damage at bay can be simpler than you thought.

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