When winter rolls around, you may begin preparing your home by making sure your heating system is working properly. You may even take steps to insulate your pipes to protect them from freezing. However, do you think about your home’s foundation? If not, you should. The winter means shifting foundation becomes a greater possibility.
- Understanding frost heave
- While your foundation can shift at any time, it is more likely to do so whenever temperatures are at their lowest. This is due to frost heave. This phenomenon occurs when water around and inside your foundation begins to expand as it freezes.
- How frost heave can affect your foundation
- Water is very dangerous to your home. When water enters tiny cracks around your foundation in the winter, it can cause a lot of trouble. If this water freezes, it will slightly expand. This expansion, no matter how minimal, can put more pressure on the foundation, leading to further damage.
- Foundation problems that can arise
- Any pressure on your home’s foundation can lead to shifting foundation. When your foundation begins to move, structural damage may occur both inside and outside your home. Cracking walls, ill-fitting doors, and unstable windows may be a result of the shifting.
- Other problems inside your home
- If an unstable foundation isn’t enough, frost heave can also lead to a higher energy bill for your household. This is because a shifting foundation may make it easier for cold air to enter your home, thus increasing the demand on your heating system. If you suddenly notice an increase in your heating bill, it may be time to have your foundation examined.
There are ways, however, to prevent your foundation from shifting. Adding waterproofing around your foundation is one of the best ways to ensure your home isn’t susceptible to frost heave. If water can’t reach your foundation, then the effects of frost heave will be of no concern to you.
It’s also very important to repair all foundation cracks, no matter how small they may seem, as soon as you notice them. Even seemingly benign, hairline cracks may cause damage to your foundation during the winter. A professional foundation inspection is recommended to all homeowners on a regular basis.
Your foundation is the main structural support system for your home. Keeping it in good shape, no matter what the weather is doing outside, is vital. The earlier you repair any damage to your foundation, the less likely you are to experience the truly devastating effects of a failing foundation.