Winter weather often spells snow days and fun for kids, but that same weather can present an active danger to your home. If you don’t keep a weathered eye on your basement or crawl space, your foundation can take on damage over the course of the winter that may threaten the overall structural integrity of your home.
Winter Signs of Foundation Damage
Come the colder months of the year, you’ll want to try and keep an eye out for the following problem signs to better maintain your foundation.
Higher Levels of Humidity
If you don’t already have a hygrometer in your home, you may want to consider investing in one. This tool can help you track changes in your home’s humidity levels. If you’re keeping track of that kind of data, you can more readily tell when humidity levels throughout your home start to rise for seemingly no reason.
If your foundation has suffered from damage, for example, your home’s going to see an increase in the amount of moisture in the air. If that kind of damage appears in the winter, that increase in moisture can see a greater flow of damp air through your home and more instances of ice and condensation appearing inside of your windows and along your home’s pipes. While these visual signs will give a leak away, monitoring your home’s humidity can allow you to get ahead of the worst of your foundation’s damage.
Difficulty Controlling Your Home’s Temperature
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the thermostat this winter. A cracked or leaking foundation makes it more difficult for you to control the temperature in your home, as your home will feel cooler. Significant cracks will also draw warmth out of your home, raising your electric bill while also making your home less comfortable to be in.
If ice starts to gather in your home or moisture starts to wreak havoc on your basement or crawl space, then your pipes are going to suffer. The sensitive materials making up your pipes can rapidly expand and contract when exposed to rapidly changing temperatures. As such, they can spring leaks of their own. In doing so, not only will your water bill rise, but you’ll have to contend with even more moisture in the air.
Uneven Floors or Bowing Walls
High levels of moisture throughout your home can cause your structural supports, from your floor joists to standing support beams, to fail. As such, drywall can start to separate from your walls, walls can begin to bow inward, and your home’s floors can start to sag.
A Tilting Chimney
A cracked and leaking foundation spells trouble for more than just the inside of your home. If you leave that kind of damage unattended for an extended period of time, you may find yourself facing down a tilting or damaged chimney. You’ll need to act quickly if you notice your chimney starting to lean, as that sort of trouble can result in an expensive repair job, especially if your chimney gives way.
You can’t always tell that your home’s slipping from the inside. Step outdoors, though, and you can often tell when the soil around your home’s been disturbed or when foundational bricks have shifted out of place.
Excessive levels of moisture throughout your home can cause your foundation to crack, at which point the slab will no longer be able to bear your home’s weight. At that point, your foundation and home will start to sink more quickly into any gaps or uneven soil. Note, of course, that this sinkage or settlement will not happen quickly. Instead, you’ll want to make a point to regularly inspect your home from the outside as well as the inside to make sure nothing’s gone amiss.
While it’s more difficult for mold to flourish in the winter, you can still find it throughout your home if you have a problem with your foundation.
Mold thrives when it has regular exposure to moisture, darkness, and warmth. If you’re running your HVAC system to keep your home as warm as possible, and a crack in your foundation is allowing moisture to get into your home, then all manner of mold types can start to appear in your basement or crawl space.
The good news is that you can readily follow mold growth to the most evident site of damage in your home. However, do not try to remove these growths without assistance from a mold remediation professional.
How Can You Protect Your Home from Foundation Damage This Winter?
If you want to get ahead of winter precipitation, or if you think you may have a damaged foundation to contend with, you can reach out to the professionals serving Winston-Salem, NC. Together with a Tar Heel Basement Systems professional, you can conduct a thorough home inspection and discuss what foundation repairs or waterproofing measures might best help you in the coldest months of the year. Reach out today for a free services quote.