As you well know, weather events can have a significant impact on your home. From top to bottom, roof to foundation, severe weather can wreak havoc.
There are, of course, severe weather extremes from flooding to drought and hurricanes to tornadoes. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information tracks these extremes. They recorded 14 separate billion-dollar disasters in 2018 and the same number in 2019. Hurricane Dorian led this notorious list in our area.
Trying to prepare your home for a once-a-decade weather disaster can appear overwhelming, and it probably is. But you can and should prepare for seasonal weather events that happen in the Carolinas year after year.
Spring is the most active from late snow to flooding, not to mention lightning, hail, tornadoes, and perhaps a hurricane or two.
Summer brings its own special weather, including heatwaves and possible drought conditions. Then there are winter cold snaps that can freeze pipes and coat everything with ice.
Here’s how those natural weather events can affect your home and what you can do about it.
Landscapes, Shrubs, and Trees
No matter the season, storms can bring those beautiful trees down on your home. So it’s best to keep them trimmed to avoid any disasters from high winds, heavy rain, and even ice formation. While you’re at it, it’s a great idea to ensure you have the needed drainage away from your foundation. Gutters and downspouts should also be clear of leaves and blockages.
Likewise, roots can grow under your foundation. That can lead to stresses and cracks not only as they grow but also in the summer when things start to dry out. The roots will pull water out of the soil, which can lead to stress and strain on your foundation.
Make sure your watering system is operating correctly and providing the right amount of water in every season. It should also be adjusted as needed during extremes in the weather.
Spring Rain and Flooding
Time to turn off your watering system when the floods arrive. Here’s when your drainage systems come into play to essentially save the day.
Basement waterproofing is critical to help prevent water from entering your basement. Likewise, a fully functional basement drainage system including a sump pump can remove any water that does enter. Plus, a dehumidifier can reduce humidity as well as help prevent mold and mildew formation. Make sure to take care of any leaky windows and especially basement window wells.
Flooding can also severely impact crawl space or slab foundation homes. With crawl spaces, you can rely on flood vents, sump pump systems, and the sound landscaping practices noted above. Slab foundations similarly rely on sound landscaping practices.
Slab foundations often have more of an issue with heave than other foundation types. Foundation heave is when moisture causes the clay soil beneath the slab to expand, pushing up and causing cracks. This is compared to foundation settlement where the soil compresses and the foundation settles. Heave typically shows up in cracks within the home rather than the outside walls.
Summer Heatwaves and Drought
Just when you thought the problems were over as the rains stopped, you find heatwaves and even drought arriving. These can be just as troubling since the soil can actually shrink over time shifting your foundation. This, in turn, causes cracking.
The key aspect here is to pay close attention to your landscaping, and in particular, your watering system. Ideally, use a smart irrigation system that takes into account changing weather conditions, providing just the right amount of water to your lawn year-round. This keeps your plants happy and prevents shifting around your foundation.
Winter Snow and Freezing Temperatures
Here in the Carolinas, it’s somewhat unusual to see snow, but freezing temperatures are possible. Make sure any pipes in your basement or crawl space have sufficient insulation to prevent freezing, bursting, and subsequent water damage.
Plus, your HVAC system should use a smart thermostat, and ideally, you’ll have sufficient installation to help save energy costs, both for winter and summer.
What About Fall?
Fall can be somewhat benign, but it’s not without its own weather events, including rain and flooding. Even so, it’s the ideal time to check your home from top to bottom and prepare it for weather events throughout the rest of the year.
That’s where help from the professionals comes in. The expert team at Mount Valley Foundation Services provides homeowners with free inspections and repair estimates to identify any issues that could lead to weather or foundation damage.