With a cold winter season in full effect, homeowners in the mid-Atlantic should take steps to ensure that any snowstorms do not cause damage to areas of their crawl spaces. While it is rare for solid snow to seep into a crawl space, water from melted snow can penetrate your foundation and cause extensive damage if not appropriately managed.
Preventing snow in crawl spaces can better your foundation’s structural integrity while also controlling the presence of pests and mold. Here are some ways to keep your crawl space safe from melted snow.
Replace Any Cracked or Damaged Windows in Your Crawl Space
When it comes to preventing snow in crawl spaces, the first thing you should take a look at are your windows. Before the arrival of a snowstorm, check your crawl space windows for cracked glass or loose seams, which can allow melted snow to enter and cause vapor damage. Inspect all glass, frames, and seals on all windows to ensure that they are intact and able to protect your crawl space adequately.
Check the Foundation Concrete for Holes or Cracks
If the concrete that makes up your foundation has formed any holes or cracks, you can be sure that snow and moisture will be invited inside. Should you notice an opening in the concrete any time throughout the year, aim to fill it as soon as possible. Not only can you prevent water damage from the elements, but you can also prevent freezing air from entering your home, which can cause damage to any pipes that run across your crawl space area.
If you cannot close any openings before a snowstorm, you can secure a piece of wood or another flat material flush against the foundation wall to cover it as a temporary quick fix. Such a method is not a permanent solution, but it can provide a necessary layer of defense until the snow has passed and you can fill in openings properly.
Remove Snow From Around Your Home’s Foundation After a Storm
The best and easiest way to prevent snow and moisture from seeping into your crawl space through cracks and holes is to directly remove it from your home’s foundation after a storm. Once it is safe to go outside, you can remove as much snow as possible from your foundation using a shovel or snowblower. If the weather conditions permit, you can also remove snow as it comes down so that you don’t have to wait and remove it all at once.
Clean Out Melted Snow With a Wet-Dry Vac
If you do not have a sump pump or another built-in water management system in your crawl space, you can use a wet-dry vacuum to remove any water and clean out melted snow. A trusty wet/dry vac makes it easy to suck up the snow and water from your basement and empty it somewhere else. Alternatively, you can blow any excess snow away from your foundation using the exhaust mode.
Install a Sump Pump
Investing in a sump basin and a sump pump is a vital part of waterproofing the interior of your crawl space. Such a combination works to collect water from your home’s drainage system automatically and redirects any water and moisture out and away from your property.
You might also consider installing a battery backup and activated alarm if your pump fails or loses electricity during a storm. Taking these steps can aid in preventing additional damage to your foundation without having to manually remove it with a device like a wet-dry vacuum.
Install a Dehumidifier
You can further manage moisture levels in your crawl space with a dehumidifier. Installing a dehumidifier can help eliminate unwanted moisture from your crawl space – including water from melted snow. If water is seeping into your crawl space, a powerful and professionally installed dehumidifier will help dry the area faster – and keep it dry – to prevent odors and mold growth.
Encapsulate Your Crawl Space
Crawl space encapsulation is when you line the floors, walls, and ceilings with vapor barriers and other water-resistant materials to create a barrier that reduces moisture and unwanted pests. If water does breach the foundation of your home, an encapsulated crawl space will keep it dry. Encapsulation keeps the water on the peripheral edges without affecting any moisture-sensitive structural elements or pipes.
Taking steps to prevent snow in crawl spaces before the onset of a storm can save homeowners tons of time and money on expensive repairs throughout the year. At DryTek, we provide crawl space encapsulation services to residents of Maryland and Delaware. Contact us anytime if you want to protect your crawl space against melted snow better this winter.