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4 Reasons Why Your Basement Leaks in The Winter

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Don’t let the holidays be ruined by a flooded basement. You don’t want to spend time cleaning and mopping up water in your basement instead of spending time with your family and friends. More importantly, you don’t want to spend money on costly repairs instead of great gifts for your loved ones.

Many people think that their basement will only flood during periods of heavy rain, but it’s important to understand that basement flooding is actually a year-round risk. Snowy weather is quickly approaching which means inches of snow will fall right next to your home.

Over time, some of the snow melts, causing water to drain next to the basement walls. When snow melts, it has nearly identical effects on your basement as the rainy season. But what is happening below the surface? Here are four reasons why your basement is likely to leak in the winter.

1. Frozen Pipes

In winter, any water inside your pipes has a higher higher chance of freezing due to extremely cold weather. When water freezes, it expands—leading to an increase in pressure within the pipe. This increased pressure generally causes pipes to burst, causing water to continuously leak into your basement.

Frozen water can also cause the pipes to rust over time. This causes further problems, making the pipes less functional when warmer months roll around. You may have to replace your entire water pipe system if they freeze in the winter.

leaking gutter

2. Inadequate Gutters or Window Wells

Basements rely on these exterior drainage systems to keep water away. As a quick review, window wells create a space between the window and the surrounding soil or ground level. This space helps prevent soil or debris from accumulating directly against the window (which could lead to water infiltration, damage, or obstruction of the window).

Meanwhile, gutter systems capture rain (or snow) in a trough and allow the water to flow away from your home’s structure. Downspouts are part of this system too, making sure water doesn’t drain too close to the foundation.

If your gutters or window wells stop functioning properly, water will drain too close to your basement. Water draining right next to the foundation creates hydrostatic pressure: when water and gravity create an increasing force on basement walls. Eventually, the walls crack and allow snowmelt to leak inside.

3. Freeze-Thaw Cycle

The freeze-thaw cycle refers to the repeated freezing and thawing of water in the soil. This causes the ground next to your basement to repeatedly swell and shrink, leading to structural instability for the basement walls. Eventually, cracks will open up in the basement walls, allowing for easy water intrusion.

The freeze-thaw cycle also leads to ice dams on your roof, which block proper drainage and make water leak into your home through roof openings. To prevent these leaks, ensure proper insulation, check for and fix any cracks, and maintain your roof to avoid ice dams.

4. Faulty Sump Pump

Many basements have a sump pump to keep water out. Make sure to check your sump pump to make sure it’s working properly to avoid flooding. Sump pumps are designed to collect water and pump it out of your basement, keeping it dry. If a sump pump is installed incorrectly, has not been maintained and/or has clogged drains it will stop working.

Winter months can further exasperate a faulty sump pump. The mechanisms can become frozen, water inside the sump pump could freeze, or the drainage pipes leading away from the sump pump could also become frozen. NO matter the case, your sump pump won’t work properly and will allow water to flood inside your basement.

Avoid Basement Leaking This Winter With Basement Authority of West Virginia

Winter will be here before we know it. If basement leaks are a problem you face every year, don’t wait to fix it. Basement Authority of West Virginia offers a whole-home basement waterproofing solution that is proven to stop basement leaks for good — no matter the season.

When faced with basement flooding, don’t hesitate to contact us for expert guidance and assistance. We’ve been serving homeowners in West Virginia since 2003, and we’re always ready to help. Let one of our specialists come out and inspect your basement for a free, no obligation estimate! Take the first step toward a dry, frost-proof basement today!

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