Winter’s Coming to South Dakota! Be Prepared!
Dealing with home repairs in the summer is bad enough, but when something happens in the winter, the problems multiply. Take the time while the weather is bearable to prepare your home for the South Dakota winters.
Make sure your foundation is protected against cold, snow, ice, and water. Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation, so make sure that you are ready for Old Man Winter.
Take Care of the Outside First
You should probably work on the outside of your home first, that way, if the weather does turn, you can work on the inside in relative comfort.
Make sure that your gutters are clear and running freely. Remove any leaves or other debris from gutters and downspouts and make sure that the downspouts empty far from your foundation. If the gutters spill over the side, the water can run straight down alongside the foundation walls, saturating the soil. The soil can expand, pushing against the foundation walls, causing them to bow or lean. If there are cracks in the walls, the water can enter and if it freezes, it will expand, causing the crack to become bigger.
Once the snow and ice start, try to keep the snow from piling up on your house. Once it starts to melt, it will go down along your foundation walls and it can cause problems.
If you have outdoor faucets or a sprinkler system, make sure they have been prepared for winter. A frozen pipe can burst anywhere, including inside your house, causing a lot of damage. If you have hoses, make sure they are disconnected and stored. If possible, turn off water to outside water sources.
Having good windows will go a long way to keeping your home comfortable while lowering your energy bills. If you need to get new windows, it’s better to do it before winter starts. If new windows aren’t in your budget, you can buy plastic sheeting at your favorite hardware or DIY store. You can also apply caulk or weather stripping to help keep the cold out and your heat inside.
Work on the Interior Now
Once the exterior of your home is ready, it’s time to start on the inside.
Make sure that your pipes are protected. If they are on an exterior wall, you may want to wrap them to insulate them. If the pipes are inside a cabinet or closet, open the doors during extreme cold, so they can have some heat from your house. A hidden leaking pipe can cause a lot of damage before it is noticed. If you have a good waterproofing system already installed, you will be better off. A sump pump system can keep water from flooding your basement.
Check on your heating system. Now is a good time to change your furnace filter and turn the heat on to make sure it is working. The first cold day is NOT the time to find out your heater is on the fritz. Make sure vents and cold air registers are clear and free of obstacles.
While you are checking your vents, check your electrical outlets for a draft. Many of them are on outside walls and air can blow through them. If you find drafty outlets, you can pick up insulation at most hardware stores that fit behind the wall plate.
Make Sure You Are Ready
Winter comes every year, but it still seems to catch us off guard. Make sure you have snow shovels at the ready, along with salt or sand. Stock up on canned foods, batteries for flashlights and weather radios. Have winter coats, gloves, hats, and boots ready.
If you protect you and your home during the winter, you can enjoy it when the warm weather returns. Rapid Foundation Repair can help with any foundation problems you have any time of year, but we want you to be safe and secure. Contact us to learn more about preparing your home and foundation for a South Dakota winter!