Cleaning the gutters in your home may not seem as important as it is. Accumulation of water and debris in you gutters can lead the water to seep to your basement making it wet and moldy. Making sure the pipes drain away from the foundation of the house and are clear of debris, is an important step you need to take to make sure your basement is dry.
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An unfinished basement or crawl space can be quietly undermining the integrity of the home and life within it. The crawl space—like many unfinished basements—tends to be quite humid. The excessive moisture in a basement or crawl space poses a number of threats to the home. It provides an environment for mold to thrive—mold that can eventually make its way up into the rest of the home. The moisture can also attract wood-boring insects that destroy the wood sub-structure. The presence of insects may also draw rodents and other pests into the crawl space. Solving the basement or crawl space moisture issue is the first priority in a finishing project.
Feel like your list of important tasks to get done in that precious-little time between boiling-hot summer and frigid fall is getting longer every day? The kids are starting school, your boss just got back from vacation, football season is starting how many of those “critical” maintenance items are you really going to check off your list? If it’s around 10 or more, good for you. Your house probably looks a lot nicer than mine.
For the rest of us, five is a reasonable goal. But in the interest of being realistic, let’s prioritize further and shoot for four. We’ll be sure those four count. And while late summer may seem premature for a few of these, they’ll likely save you money and headaches if you tackle them early.
1. Fixing Gutters
The drought not only affects crops and plants. It also may cause problems for your home.
“Sticking doors or windows and cracks in walls or ceilings may be indications that the building is shifting due to soil shrinkage,” says Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural engineer.
As clay or other fine-particle soils dry, they shrink, creating gaps around the basement wall. This space exposes more of the soil to airflow, which increases the amount of moisture removal. A gap along the wall, through time, may allow airflow that will dry the soil under the foundation. The foundation’s support is removed as the soil shrinks, which may stress the concrete enough to cause a crack to form.