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If you’re like most homeowners, you may be concerned about a leaking basement once the winter sets in and the snow begins to melt next spring. According to the Toronto Star, Toronto is expected to have a milder winter, which means frequent cycles of freezing and thawing, which usually means basement leaks.
There are several proactive steps you can take during the fall which will help to keep your basement dry and leak-free during the oncoming months. Below are several easy-to-follow tips which could help to keep your basement as dry as possible during the winter and spring.
1- Clean out troughs
It’s important to make sure your eavestroughs (gutters) have been cleaned out before the winter months arrive. If they’re full of leaves and other debris they can easily become clogged. Once this happens, water can leak from them to the ground close to the home’s foundation. Having clean troughs will enable the water to drain properly during rainfalls and thaws.
2- Check basement windows and window wells
Since your basement windows are typically below ground surface it’s a good idea to make sure they’re in fine shape heading into the winter. Take the time to inspect the windows and window wells for broken, cracked or rotting frames as well as cracked caulking and clogged window well drains. Be sure to clear all of the debris out of the window wells so they can drain properly. If there are any faults in the windows and window wells it’s possible that water could leak through them.
3- Check perimeter grading of home
If the area around your home isn’t graded away from the building it could lead to water damage. If the grading slopes towards the home water can easily pool in areas close to the foundation. If you’re grading does slope this way, you may want to do a little landscaping work to make sure the grading slopes away from the structure. In addition, try to keep all sewer grates free from debris and leaves.
4-Ensure sump pumps and basement drains work
A sump pump is made to keep your basement dry in case water leaks into it. However, if it’s not working then there’s not really much point in having one. Check your sump pump to make sure it’s in working order and also have some type of backup power plan in place in case the electricity goes out during a storm. There are several types of sump pumps available which can operate on their own independent power supplies. In addition, make sure all of the drainage systems are unobstructed and working properly.
6- Check basement for moisture
You should always have a good look at your basement to see if there are any signs of moisture or water in it. You can inspect it for damp spots as well as a white, powdery crystalline substance on the wall, which is known as efflorescence and is a sign of a moisture problem. If you find any evidence of a leaking basement, it’s better to be safe than sorry and to contact a professional waterproofing company and schedule a free inspection. You can also install water monitors which will alert you of a leak and will shut the main water supply off if there’s moisture detected in the basement. These are ideal in case of burst water pipes during the winter.
The downspouts of your home should direct the water at least six feet away from the foundation of your home. If they currently drain into the sewer system, disconnect them and aim them away from the house. Try to keep a distance of at least eight inches between the bottom of a downspout and the finished ground level or consider putting in window wells. Be sure to check for leaks in the downspouts and repair them when needed.
The above fall maintenance tips should help to stop or at least lessen the amount of water getting into your basement. It is important to be proactive with basement leaks as consistent water in your basement can lead to other issues such as crumbling foundation and even mold.
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