Michigan homeowners know there are some annual maintenance costs that you can’t plan for. That’s why it’s important to prepare, save, and plan for the home maintenance costs we can expect each year—and to set aside some additional money for unexpected repairs and other costs. Weather emergencies impact homeowners across Michigan each year, from floods to fires and snow to ice storms. As damaging weather events across the U.S. grow in intensity each year, it’s more important than ever to prepare in advance for natural weather events each season.
Insulate the Basement or Crawl Space Before Winter Comes
Michigan homeowners feel the effects of winter long before other areas of the country. That can include damaging repairs caused by leaky roofs and pipes, frozen or burst pipes, and higher heating bills. Before the first winter storm of the season, ensure your gutters are clear and your roof is in good condition. Insulate pipes, especially in the crawl space or basement.
To reduce heating costs over the winter months, ensure your basement or crawl space insulation is up to date. Get your furnace looked at by a professional to ensure it’s working correctly and if needed, install an energy-efficient heating unit to improve your outputs and reduce your costs. Check for air leaks around windows and doors to ensure your warm air is staying inside the home.
Protecting Your Basement from Water Damage
Summer brings more than just sunshine to Michigan’s cities and towns. It also brings damaging lightning and rainstorms, as well as an increase in humidity. Both of these weather events can impact homeowners, and planning ahead can reduce those effects so they don’t harm your home or your wallet. One of the biggest worries for homeowners with basements in the summer months is dampness, which can cause both mold and mildew and attract pests.
How does water get into your basement? The first way is right through the walls and the concrete foundation. Most homes are built with porous concrete, which allows water leakage when the humidity rises or the ground around the home is wet from summer storms. The water leaks right through porous basement walls and concrete slabs if your home isn’t properly waterproofed.
The damage caused to the basement is worse when the home’s foundation is already damaged from previous water impacts, weather, wear and tear, or other reasons. A foundation that is cracking or leaking through joints or other places will allow even more water into your basement over the summer months, causing more mold, mildew, and pest damage.
Finally, leaking basement windows can also cause moisture to build up inside your basement. Waterproofing basement windows, using caulk around the windows, and curtains or film on the window panes, can help reduce water from coming inside. It also insulates the home from temperature changes and reduces monthly heating and cooling costs. On the exterior of the home, adding one-inch round pebbles around the basement windows can help reduce water leaks for a very small investment.
Additional waterproofing tasks before the summer months include installing a dehumidifier and/or fans in the basement, fixing cracks or other problems with the home’s foundation, and finding and removing any standing water in the crawl space or basement. If you do identify water leaks, it’s time to get a professional foundation inspection and fix the problem right away, before it grows.
Waterproofing your home’s basement can also include installing:
- An interior drainage system
- Sump pump system with a backup battery in case of a power outage
Dry Soil Conditions Can Also Harm Your Foundation
In addition to waterproofing your home from summer storms, planning for summer also means thinking about the lack of rain. Dry soil conditions can actually be more harmful to a home’s foundation than wet conditions. If you live in an area that experiences long dry or drought conditions, you can reduce the effects of dry soil damage on your foundation by watering your lawn around the home regularly.
Damage from drought conditions is caused by soil shrinkage around and underneath the home, impacting the foundation and increasing the effects of settlement. Gases and pressure can build up underneath a home and damage the foundation when soil conditions are poor.
In response, don’t overwater the lawn. In addition to being a general waste of water, too much watering can cause flooding, basement water leaks, or poor soil conditions due to oversaturation. Installing a good drainage system in the yard will help ensure water does not pool along the home’s exterior walls, foundation, or basement windows.
In addition, smart irrigation systems can help ensure you only water when needed. Finally, good landscaping and general yard maintenance, including removing dead or dying trees and limbs, will help reduce the chance of damage from summer storms. This includes trimming trees regularly, especially when growing near power lines, roofs, and windows.