Happy Groundhog Day 2014!
Not surprisingly, Punxsutawney Phil has emerged from his hole or wherever they keep that cute lil’ rat and has seen his shadow this morning which means 6 more weeks of winter. I don’t think anyone is surprised by this prediction after the winter we have had so far. Just last week, thousands of Georgians were stuck in gridlock on snow-covered streets. One or two inches of snow up here in Ohio doesn’t mean much, but it can be devastating for our friends in the south. Here’s hoping Phil’s weather prediction of a late spring will mean a more “normal” winter for all of us!
The northeast experienced its own shock yesterday when temperatures skyrocketed to 40° F. A heat wave after several days of -20° F to -30° F windchills! No joke, southerners, we were wearing shorts! It also meant all of this snow we have been getting started to melt. Uh oh! Water everywhere!
Water around your home could very well spell trouble. If it seeps into cracks in your crawlspace or basement, it’ll either sit there until it freezes again – causing further damage when it melts again – or if there is a lot of it, it’ll seep its way into your crawlspace or basement. This can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Not a great way to celebrate melting snow!
There are a couple things you can do to avoid this potential disaster. If you don’t have one already, get a sump pump with an alarm. Waking up to a wet crawl space or basement is like waking up in a nightmare. A sump pump is installed in the lowest part of your crawlspace or basement to help prevent flooding. It won’t prevent major flooding, but it will A) alert you (the alarm, ding!) that you’ve got an issue and B) handle most minor flooding – which is usually what you see with a quick winter thaw before spring really hits. A flaw in the working of a sump pump is that it needs electricity to run. If you have a power failure, you’re out of luck. Invest in a generator to keep this from happening!
Keep water away from your home by making sure your gutters are clear and working properly. They should be pushing water away from your home, not allowing it to sit near your foundation. However, if there’s still snow on the ground and/or the temperatures are still pretty cold, then hold off on checking your gutters or call in a professional to do it. This isn’t the best time of year for most folks to be climbing on ladders.
Another option is waterproofing your basement. You can do this yourself with products like Drylok or Xypex for small leaks. These sealers expand as they dry and help keep water out. If you have any major cracks, this will only be a temporary solution. You can also call in a waterproofer to do this for you. Be aware that the term waterproofing doesn’t necessarily mean water can’t still get in. It’s just another means to help prevent water from coming in. People (well, me) assume waterproof means water can’t and never will get in.
We can’t keep the snow from melting, but we can do some things to prevent water damage. Think of it as water control. Although Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t foresee winter ending anytime soon, it will end and with it will be water. Get ahead of the game and get your crawlspace or basement ready to control the inevitable thaw. It will take several thaws before spring has really sprung.