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Why Does My Basement Leak in the Winter?

The cooler months may bring less storms, but that doesn’t mean that your basement is not at risk for leaks. As long as there is a source of moisture present, basements can leak water. Obviously, snow brings moisture in the winter, so if you live in an area where snow is commonplace, you could be looking at a long season. But, there are more factors that can cause your basement to leak. A cold, frozen ground and ice and snow on the rooftop are other causes for concern.


How Basements Become Vulnerable to Leaks


During the winter, the ground is cold and frozen. Basements continue to radiate heat into the soil, which then melts the frozen soil creating a pocket of moisture, much like a puddle would do. The water then becomes trapped between the frozen soil and the basement walls, and it's forced into the basement through hydrostatic pressure, or the downward pull of gravity. This type of moisture generally enters where the floor and walls meet.


The same can happen with a big snowstorm. When the snow starts to melt, it forms a pool of water around the basement walls and leaks into the basement. Additionally, when ice and snow start to build up on the rooftop, it eventually melts and falls onto the ground, which happens to be right around your foundation. The ground becomes saturated and leaks into the basement.


How Can I Prevent Basement Leaks from Melting Snow?


In order to avoid basement leaks, a combination of methods is used. The most effective way to fix leaks caused by hydrostatic pressure is to relieve the pressure, which is done by drilling holes in the bottom row of blocks so that the water can drain. A baseboard system is then installed to collect the water and channel it to the sump pump. Finally, all wall cracks that are 3 inches above the basement floor are sealed.


Additionally, a snow retention and rain gutter system can work together to keep snow on the roof from piling around the foundation. These systems are effective becauase they melt the snow on the roof and then remove water via the gutter system.


When dealing with basement leaks, it’s always best to call in a professional. There are a variety of solutions that can be done, and the above are just a few of the options that may be available to you. Let a professional basement waterproof company identify the problem and offer the best solution.

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