When it comes to winter and plumbing, we often picture freezing temperatures and frozen or burst pipes. We get back into our routines of opening up the cabinets below sinks and dripping faucets overnight, but even these preventative measures can fail us sometimes. The reason for this is that these routines are focused solely on protecting the interior drainage system, leaving the exterior to fend for itself in the elements. However, there are some steps you can add to your routines to help protect all aspects of your drainage system during the winter months.
Shovel Snow Drifts Along Your Foundation
During winter storms, the wind can cause the falling snow to accumulate in drifts against the side of your house. When warmer temperatures return and begin melting the snow, the moisture seeps into the ground along your foundation. This can lead to water entering your basement or crawl spaces, resulting in pooling water that is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
Another issue is when the water runs into pre-existing cracks in your foundation. If temperatures drop back below freezing in the evenings, the water can freeze, with the resulting ice widening the cracks. If this happens enough times, this can lead to significantly larger cracks and subsequent structural issues in your foundation. The best way to combat this is by shoveling snow that has drifted against the side of your house away from the area, allowing it to safely melt into your yard.
Watch for Pooling Water in Your Yard
Depending on the layout of your yard and the natural groundwater drainage your landscape provides, moderate to heavy amounts of snowfall can lead to pooling water in your garden. If that water doesn’t have a chance to drain through the soil into the underlying drainage system before temperatures reach freezing points again, the resulting ice can interfere with the root systems of your plants, cutting off essential nutrients and causing the plants to die. If you’re noticing standing water in your yard, that could be a sign it’s time to adjust or replace your current drainage system.
Drainage System Debris
During the winter season, the last thing many of us want to do is spend time outdoors in the cold weather. However, if it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned out your drainpipes and gutters, it’s a good idea to devote some time to get that taken care of. If debris is blocking your drainage system, snow and moisture can accumulate around the debris. When the moisture freezes, the resulting ice expands and exerts pressure on your drains, resulting in leaks and breaks that can go unnoticed until the arrival of the next rainy season. At that point, the water that is usually redirected safely into your water line and ground drains is now escaping through these leaks, putting you in danger of water damage and foundation leaks.
The Right Drainage System is Key
The good news is that all of the above problems have one thing in common: they can easily be averted with the right drainage system. Contrary to popular belief, drainage systems are not one-size-fits-all. There are different types of drainage systems, each best suited to different lawn and home layouts. Some drainage systems work to divert water along your foundation safely away from your home, while others allow for expedient draining of pooling water in your yard. In many cases, a combination of these systems can be used to create the perfect drainage solution for your home.
At All Seasons Earthworks, we have been performing drainage system repairs, replacements, and installations in the Snohomish county area for over 20 years. We work together with you to find the best drainage solution for your specific case that addresses current and future drainage issues, saving you costly repairs down the line. If you’re needing help with your drainage system and not sure where to start, give us a call at 425-263-2075 to schedule a free consultation with our team; we’d love to meet with you and get you squared away.