It’s that time of year again when the winter season is rapidly approaching and everyone is starting to prepare for the snowy weather.  As people unpack blankets and cozy sweaters and start to decorate for the season, it can be easy to forget how important it is to prepare the basement for winter as well.

Although winter is usually not rainy on the East Coast, the temperatures fluctuate a lot and the snow falls and melts in a matter of days. This may cause all kinds of incidents in your Maryland basement from frozen pipes to flood.  Luckily, we here at Guardian Basement Waterproofing know all about how to prepare your basement for a safe, flood-free winter.

1)  Be Aware of Preexisting Issues

First and foremost, hopefully you already know if your basement has any problems.  And, hopefully, you have already fixed all of them. Winter is clearly not the best time for dealing with a flooded basement. It’s harder to resolve basement issues when the ground is frozen, covered with snow, and it’s just plain cold outside. Even if the basement doesn’t flood, all those cracks and gaps are still contributing to heat loss, which leads to higher energy bills.

2)  Inspect Everything

If your basement has never caused you trouble, it doesn’t mean it never will. Some issues just take a long time to develop, so it’s a good idea to conduct regular inspections even if everything is seemingly fine. If you haven’t had your basement inspected in a while, call your local Maryland basement waterproofing company to schedule a thorough inspection and fix any problem areas

Inside. Check over every inch of your basement.  Look for telltale signs of foundation issues or leakage, like windows or doors that don’t close properly, spots of mold or mildew, areas with excess moisture, or even cracks in the floor or walls.

Outside. There could be issues that haven’t become visible inside yet, and they are just as important to fix.  Cracks or holes can let unwanted guests into your basement – moisture, insects, even rodents.  All the little critters will be looking for a warm place to spend the winter, and your basement is like a resort for them. Seal up exterior basement entrances and crawlspaces and make sure they will be safe and secure if you cannot get to them once snow falls.

3)  Get the supplies ready

Make sure you have a good supply of winter necessities like shovels and window scrapers or brushes.  If you have a snow blower or a plow, it’s best to make sure that it’s functioning properly before the snow comes.  Move everything to places that are easily accessible in snowy conditions. Have the number of your local Maryland waterproofing contractor on hand in case of emergency (our number is 410-265-8888).

4)  Keep it Clean

Outside, clear up the border around your foundation. Move away things like leaves, dead flora, branches, or other fallen debris around your home.  This can help expose unseen issues around your foundation and will eliminate soggy rotting vegetation – not to mention how much nicer your lawn will look when the snow melts again in spring!  Clean out gutters, downspouts and drains after the leaves fall off the tree to make sure nothing is clogged.

Inside, cleaning around your basement can help you spot things like mold growth or cracks that might be hiding behind furniture and boxes.  Peek into forgotten areas, too, as they can be the biggest culprit in surprise basement issues.

5)  Protect Your Plumbing

Check your pipes for any problems and have them addressed by a professional.  If you know your pipes are prone to freezing, wrap exposed areas to prevent this from happening and to ensure the safety of your basement.  In case of emergency, know where your main water shut-off is located.

Detach, drain and put away hoses or other outdoor water equipment; inside, properly drain and put away air conditioning units or appliances; if your basement has humidity issues, make sure your dehumidifier is up for the task.

Love or hate the winter weather, it is on its way and will be sticking around for a while.  It’s always better to be prepared, and following these precautions will help you have a winter free from serious basement issues.  Of course, if an emergency does arise, your local Maryland basement waterproofing professionals will be on hand to help you with your needs.