Raleigh, NC, is known for wet and wild fall seasons and cold winters. This can put a lot of strain on your property, but no part of your home is more vulnerable to dampness, cold, and ice than your crawl space. Depending on the age and layout of your home, your crawl space can be incredibly open to the elements and this poses a risk not just to the structure of your home, but to any exposed pipework which runs through this area.
Why Worry About Ice in Your Crawl Space?
It may seem to you as a homeowner that the North Carolina winters hold far more pressing concerns for your home than ice getting into your crawl space, but this isn’t entirely true. You see, while frozen gutters and ice weighing down your roof may be very visible issues, ice in your crawl space is an insidious issue that can undermine the stability of your home.
Some of the most common problems that ice in your crawl space can cause are:
Frozen or Burst Pipes
The most immediate and pressing danger is that the ice in your crawl space will be inside exposed pipes. This will not only wreak havoc on your plumbing system, but it will also cause a flood under or in your home when the spring thaw comes.
Water, of course, expands in the cold so if you have long-standing dampness in your crawl space, it may have seeped into wooden joists and your floorboards. If this is the case, a snap freeze could cause the water in the wood to expand, thereby warping it.
Cracking or Bowing Walls
Ice in or around your crawl space and foundation could lead to cracks in your foundation and walls. This could, in turn, lead to leaning or bowing walls and serious structural issues in your home.
So, with all of this in mind, it’s easy to understand why it’s important to keep ice out of your crawl space as much as possible.
How to Keep Ice Out of Your Crawl Space
Keeping your crawl space ice-free is easier than you might think; these simple tasks will help you to keep water and ice out of your crawl space and even maintain a more stable temperature.
Clear a Path
When the snow does fall, which it is prone to doing in Raleigh, NC, you can protect your crawl space by shoveling the snow away from your perimeter, especially around your vents. This will prevent snowmelt from seeping into your crawl space and re-freezing if there are temporary thaws.
Clean Your Gutters
Cleaning out your gutters is a simple thing that could protect your home from many different issues in the long run. Making sure you have no debris or buildup blocking your gutters, drains, and downspouts will prevent icicle formation, overspill, and water pooling by your property’s foundation as well as water and ice in your crawl space.
Check Your Sump Pump
Your sump pump is one of the hardest-working appliances in your home. If it fails you, you could face flooding and standing water in your crawl space. This is bad enough in fall, of course, but in winter a failed sump pump in your crawl space could lead to serious ice buildup and a lot of damage. As such, scheduling yearly sump pump maintenance is all-important.
Cover Your Vents
Crawl space vents are fairly common in older homes. They are also the most vulnerable points of your crawl space; if water, ice, debris, or pests are going to get into your crawl space, it will be via these vents. As such, covering them in winter is all-important to the health of your property.
The Benefits of Professional Encapsulation
Professional crawl space encapsulation and waterproofing may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it could save you thousands of dollars in repairs in the long run. There are some people who encourage DIY encapsulation, but we recommend letting professionals undertake this work because of the many issues that could arise if it is done improperly.
For example, you could trap dampness in your crawl space and cause mold formation, or cover up pre-existing damage, thereby allowing it to escalate without treatment. If you entrust a professional, however, you can rest easy knowing it is under control. It all starts with requesting a free crawl space inspection and repair quote with Tar Heel Basement Systems. Our expert team will evaluate your home and recommend the best solutions suited for your home’s unique repair needs.