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How to Get Your Home’s Basement Ready for Winter

November 23, 2020

Want to protect your home and your wallet from winter weather this fall? Following through with a few winterizations this fall will help you reduce energy costs, protect against basement leaks and flooding damages, and minimize pests and mold growth this year. Whether you live in sunny North Carolina or snowy Colorado, homeowners from coast to coast are completing these nine simple tasks to prepare their homes for a warm and dry winter this season. From basement waterproofing to insulating windows, here’s what you can do to prepare.

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What’s a homeowner’s biggest fear when winter weather comes? For those in the Northeast and across the Midwest, winter weather can bring tumbling temperatures and damaging flooding from burst pipes. Water damages are some of the costliest home repairs to complete, and even a small leak in your basement or crawl space can cause a major headache and a hole in your wallet. From stopping mold and mildew growth in its tracks to minimizing pest and water damage, protecting your basement this fall with these winterizing tips will save you time and headaches throughout the holiday season.

Check For and Repair Leaks and Cracks

First, as we move into the colder winter months, it is important to check for water leaks throughout the home, from the attic to the basement. Even a small water leak can attract pests, cause mold and mildew to grow in your home, and turn into a much larger issue in the future. Basements with damp, moist areas attract pests in the cold winter months, so removing this water source will help reduce pest activity and the resulting damages this winter.

If your basement has a mildew smell or you identify standing water or moist conditions in the basement without finding the source, you may have a leaky pipe or foundation damage. Identifying and fixing cracks and small foundation issues is another important step to winterizing your home before winter. As temperatures fall and winter weather comes, foundation issues can grow worse. It is best to fix even small cracks as soon as possible to reduce costly repairs in the future.

Insulate Windows, Doors, Pipes, and Ductwork

Winter can also mean higher heating costs for many homeowners across the country. One way to reduce costly energy bills is to insulate windows and doors and seal them with caulk. To identify air leaks where cold winter temperatures are getting inside your home, run your hand along windows and doors to feel for a change in temperature. If you can feel colder air inside near doors and windows, you may need to fill gaps and holes nearby. Adding curtains and covering basement windows with plastic film can also help keep in the heat and reduce heating costs.

With winter weather comes an increased chance for flooded basements due to burst pipes. To reduce the chance of frozen pipes this winter, add foam insulation to pipes in your basement or crawl space. In addition, seal exposed ductwork with aluminum tape to keep the heat inside. Updating your crawl space insulation can also help protect pipes from freezing. One upgrade to consider, thermal insulation, can help improve temperature control in your basement and waterproof the home by keeping damaging moisture out.

Invest in Waterproofing Measures

For areas experiencing extreme weather this winter, insulating pipes might not be enough. To protect your home against flood damages from frozen pipes, waterproof your basement with the professional installation of interior drains, flood vents, and a sump pump with a backup battery. Minimizing water damage from emergencies and other events outside of your control can help you save big repair costs in the future.

Reduce Energy Costs with Efficiency Measures

Another winterizing task to complete before the cold weather comes is replacing furnace filters to improve outputs and reduce energy costs. Improving your heating outputs will help reduce energy use, which is good for the environment and will keep your family warm this winter. More than 50% of home energy use in the U.S. is used for heating and air conditioning. You can also save up to 15% by adding an EnergyStar efficient gas furnace to your home. In addition, new smart home heating technologies like programmable thermostats can save 10% or more off your winter heating bills.

Need help with preparing for cold winter weather this fall? Find out how your local basement waterproofing, foundation repair, and crawl space repair experts can help you protect your home this winter.