Though the water outside may be frozen, the winter season does not mean that your home is immune to interior water damage and flooding. In fact, the freezing weather can actually present a number of unique water damage risks to the basement in your home: understanding what some of the most common risks to flooding in your basement are can help you take steps to prevent such water damage from occurring.
Ice in the Gutters
Just like in the fall, the winter season brings the possibility that your gutters and downspouts will become blocked – though this time by ice instead of leaves. This can cause water to overflow your gutters during thawing periods, where it can soak into the ground too close to the near of the side of your home and then enter your basement. To prevent this from happening, you may want to install heated roofing cables on the part of your roof immediately above your gutters, or even run a cable through your gutters themselves to melt snow and ice and ensure it is able to run smoothly and clearly off of your roof.
Frozen Sump Pumps
Another reason why your basement may suffer from water damage due to the freezing temperature is because of damage to your sump pump. Water that freezes around the pump will prevent your sump pump from actually being able to pump water out of your basement, leading to flooding. You can prevent the sump pump from frozen by disconnecting the extension hose that the pump uses to move water out of your home: this will prevent water from freezing in the hose and damaging it. You can simply reconnect it to your sump pump when the temperature warms up again to ensure that your basement is still protected.
Exposed Concrete Walls
Finally, one of the most common ways that water can enter your basement is through the exposed concrete walls in your unfinished basement. Cracks and holes in the concrete itself can act as pathways that allow water to enter your basement, where it can cause damage and mold growth, though water can also pass through concrete walls that are not broken in any way. Holes and cracks should be patched over with new concrete, which is best done by a professional contractor. To prevent more passive seeping of water into your basement, you can apply a waterproof sealant specially formulated for concrete (available at most hardware stores) to your walls with a roller: two thin coats should be enough to prevent residual water damage throughout the winter season.