It’s November and that means a lot of cool stuff – Thanksgiving, Bears football and the approaching holiday season. Unfortunately, it also means that another Chicago winter is on our doorstep.
Once the cold and snow and ice start, nobody wants to do anything outside, including Chicago homeowners. However, if you want to avoid basement water problems this winter and next spring, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the remaining fall weather to take some preventative steps outdoors.
Managing water outside your home is one sure way to prevent it from coming inside your home and there are several easy and cost-effective ways to accomplish that.
Clean your Gutters – You know all those autumn leaves that your kids played in and you, willingly or otherwise, raked and bagged? I’m willing to bet that a bunch of them that didn’t end up in one of those giant paper bags are still lurking in your rain gutters and on your roof. Think you’re in the clear because the trees surrounding your house are evergreens? Think again. Needles from evergreen trees are worse than leaves when it comes to clogging gutters.
If you don’t clean your gutters, winter rains and snowmelt will cascade over the gutters and all that water, as much as 1500 gallons from one inch of rain, will end up saturating the soil next to your foundation. Next stop? Your basement.
Check Your Downspouts – Downspouts generally don’t clog but they can create an even worse basement water problem if the downspout discharge is right next to your foundation. A surprising number of homes in the Chicagoland area have downspouts that are nothing but a straight pipe coming down from the gutters or, at best, ones that have a short elbow on the end. Either of these configurations will dump water right next to your foundation, resulting in the same over-saturated soil in the “zone of failure” that can be created by overflowing gutters.
The best way to ensure that your downspouts are doing their job properly is to extend them at least 10 feet away from the foundation. Sure, you can do this by purchasing a bunch of those cheap three- or four-foot plastic extensions from the big box store and trying to link them together. Even if that worked, you’d have an unsightly mess of plastic snakes all over your lawn, just waiting to be knocked loose.
A better solution? Underground downspout extensions, properly installed by a Chicago basement waterproofing professional who understands the proper slope and installation technique. These underground extensions will carry the water to a bubbler pot that will disperse it safely on the lawn or, if permissible, can be connected directly to a storm sewer. In either case, you’ve eliminated a major source, not only of basement water problems, but also of structural foundation damage.
So, why not take to heart the old saying about an “ounce of prevention” and take some simple steps to ensure that your Chicago home won’t suffer from basement water problems this winter or ever. The experts in yard drainage at U.S. Waterproofing have helped thousands of Chicago homeowners keep their basements dry since we were founded in 1957. Why not ask for a free consultation before the cold winds start to blow?
Want to talk about preparing your home for winter? Start the conversation in the Comments box below.