Fall Maintenance Checklist: Basement Edition
Now that summer is over, it's time to shift our focus to fall maintenance. One area of the house that often gets neglected is the basement. To make sure your basement stays dry and free from potential issues throughout the winter, we've created a comprehensive fall maintenance basement checklist.
Cracks in basement walls and bad drainage around the foundation contribute to a wet basement. Here are some tips to help keep your basement dry.
Check for Foundation Cracks
Seal around pipes or wires to prevent outside elements from entering. Water can enter the basement through foundation cracks, leading to larger cracks, mold growth, and water damage. You should contact a professional for a full foundation inspection if you notice cracks wider than 1/4 inch, bowing walls or windows that are "sticking" or difficult to open and close.
Clean out Gutters, Downspouts, and Window Wells
Did you know that clogged gutters cause wet basements and crawl spaces? Rainwater and melting snow can't flow through gutters if leaves, sticks, and other debris are in them. This can cause water to back up and overflow, leading to water damage and foundation problems. Don't forget to check the downspouts too! They can become clogged with leaves and debris, and this can also lead to water backup and damage. When cleaning out your window wells, make sure to check for any water inside to prevent it from leaking into the basement.
Because basements are below grade, they get humid, damp, or even wet - occasionally or just during the rainy season. Snowmelt can get into the basement, causing damp walls, puddles, or worst-case flooding. Here's how to keep your basement dry.
Check for Moisture and Leaks:
Basements are notorious for moisture-related issues. Take the time to inspect your basement for any signs of water damage, leaks, or excessive humidity. Look for water stains, mold growth, or musty odors. Consider the SaniDry Sedona Dehumidifier. The SaniDry basement dehumidifier controls moisture levels, reduces odors, and helps prevent mold and mildew. You can prevent costly repairs, further damage, structural issues, and health concerns for your family by taking care of these issues right away.
Seal Cracks and Gaps:
Check your basement walls, floors, and around the windows for cracks or gaps. These openings can allow water, pests, and cold drafts to enter your basement. Seal any cracks with an appropriate sealant to prevent moisture infiltration and maintain a comfortable and well-insulated space. Old basement windows are a common source of water and moisture in the basement.
Test Sump Pump and Backup System:
If you have a sump pump, it's crucial to ensure it's in proper working condition. Sump pumps keep rainwater and melting snow and ice out of your basement. Check that your sump pump is hooked up and running before the first frost. Consider a generator or battery backup if you live where there are frequent storms and power outages - sump pumps don't work without power. Make sure the discharge line isn't blocked. Consider installing the IceGuard system if your discharge line often gets blocked by snow or ice. If your sump pump and battery backup need maintenance, call a pro.
Check for Pesky Pests:
A pool of water attracts a lot of pests. Leaks in the basement can also increase humidity, which can lead to termite damage. Ensure your downspouts and grading around your house drain AWAY from the foundation.
Maintaining your basement during the fall is an essential step in protecting your home from potential issues. By following this comprehensive fall maintenance basement checklist, you can ensure a clean, dry, and well-maintained basement throughout the colder months. Don't overlook this often-neglected space, as a little maintenance now can save you from significant headaches in the future.