Protect Your Foundation and Pipes under your Slab
Drastic changes in temperature can wreak havoc on your home, particularly its foundation and plumbing. Winter storms don’t have to be problematic, as there are some simple things you can do right now to prevent damage. Here are some tips for winter storm safety for your foundation and the pipes under your slab.
Protect Your Foundation by Taking Preventative Measures
Freezing temperatures are possible throughout the state of Texas, although the degree to which they occur will vary. Since weather can be unpredictable, it’s best to prepare for the worst before winter gets here. When it comes to protecting your foundation, there are a few things you can do such as:
- Clean your gutters so that melting snow will not pool near the foundation of your home
- Plant a “wind break” around the perimeter of your home using evergreen shrubbery
- Add a thick layer of mulch to help insulate your foundation from the cold. Leaves, hay, or pine straw is recommended over wood chips, which might attract termites.
- Close the vents in your home’s foundation to prevent cold air from coming in
- Seal any openings to your crawl space
It’s also important to protect any exposed pipes inside your crawl space. You may do this by adding foam insulation or covering them with heat tape. Even wrapping them with a piece of carpeting or an old blanket will provide them with some protection. If there’s a chance you might not notice a burst pipe, you may want to consider installing an alarm that activates in the event of a water leak.
Protect Pipes under a Concrete Slab
Frozen pipes underneath a concrete slab is a common concern. This could result in significant damage to your slab if the pressure from a burst pipe causes your concrete to crack or break. Fortunately, burst pipes can easily be prevented by leaving some heat on inside your home. Ensuring your concrete floors are warm will go a long way toward preventing the pipes underneath from freezing and eventually bursting. Ideally, you should leave your thermostat set at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, even when you’re away.
In the event you have pipes underneath an unheated area such as a carport, you may have to be a bit more creative when it comes to preventing damage. Fortunately, many of the same things you can do to prevent cold weather damage to your foundation can also be done in these areas, including planting a windbreak and closing off the area so cold air cannot get to it. You may also add a layer of insulating material such as dirt or sand. Always remove snow and ice from unheated concrete slabs as soon as possible to keep the surface from becoming too cold.
Other Ways to Prevent Winter Storm Damage
Allowing your water to drip very slowly will also prevent a burst pipe from occurring. Doing so prevents pressure from building up that might otherwise cause your pipes to swell and burst. You may also prevent burst pipes underneath your slab by:
- Covering all outdoor spigots with foam or an insulted cover
- Draining and removing water hoses and outdoor water features such as fountains
- Opening cupboard doors underneath your kitchen and/or bathroom sink to allow warm air to get to them
- Wrapping exposed pipes along exterior walls with pipe wrap or heat tape
- Placing a battery-operated candle near exposed pipes
By following these tips, you can keep your foundation in great shape this winter, and prevent problems with your crawl space or concrete slab. Should problems develop anyway, don’t panic. Instead, contact Perma-Pier Foundation Repair of Texas for an inspection so we can determine the best course of action.