Winters in Ontario can produce a real miss-mash of weather that can wreak some serious havoc on your home’s foundation. Over the past few years, we have noticed that foundation repairs have become more difficult to troubleshoot due to the crazy weather we’ve been experiencing. Here are the top three things we recommend you do in order to help your basement brave the upcoming winter.
Step 1 –Window Well Readiness
One of the biggest problems we’ve seen over the past few years is the high volume of window well floods that are happening in our area. The first thing you need to do is to ensure your window wells are free and clear of debris such as leaves, garbage, dirt etc. Second thing is to ensure there is a clean layer of gravel at least 6” deep below the window and the third is to make sure the window well drain is working and allowing water to flow down into the weeping system.
Once you have checked those three things off your list we would advise you to install a cover over top of your window well. The reason we suggest this is we’ve experienced some pretty nasty thaws over the past few winters which result in water flowing into the window well area during the day and freezing at night. When the warm temperatures come back the next day the water now goes down into your window well, fills it up to a point where it begins to run in through your window…leaving you with a flooded basement.
Step 2 – Inspect Your Sump Pump System
After being in this business for as long as we have we find that one of the most neglected systems in a home is the sump pump system. In fact, some people don’t even realize they have a sump pump… That being said if your home has a sump pump system in place you should ensure it is operable and the basin it sits in is clean.
If your sump pump system has an auxiliary or backs up pump attached to it you should make sure the power source for it is in good shape. Some of these systems use a 12-volt battery to power this pump, some will use an inverter with a built-in battery. In either scenario, you want to make sure the power source is working properly so it will pump out water in the event your power goes out or your main pump fails to work.
Step 3 – Snow Removal
Not many people look at snow as a threat to their basement but as we mentioned earlier we’ve had some pretty crazy weather over the past few years which has resulted in foundations leaking in ways we aren’t privy to seeing. In fact, it’s the late season snowstorms that cause the biggest problems as we are usually sick of shoveling snow by then and we tend to give up and say “screw that I’m not shoveling any more of that white stuff”
Well… don’t let that be you! Not moving that snow away from your foundation can cause water entry into your basement especially if you have a high grade around your home. We’ve been seeing a lot more cracks leaking that have never leaked before as well as water entering in through the weep holes located along the bottom brick line. You can thank the change in our weather for that but you can also thank yourself after you’ve removed all that snow so it won’t cause your basement to flood!