Like many homeowners in Colorado Springs, CO, you may not see the cooler and damper conditions in autumn as a threat to your home. The truth is the weather changes can still impact the basement negatively. A bit of preparation and cleaning can help you avoid the frustrations of dealing with water damage due to moisture buildup or leakage.
Remember, basement moisture is likely to go up during autumn. Your cement block walls can turn into a breeding ground for mildew and mold spores. These organisms flourish in dim, warm, and poorly lit environments. With time, they will grow and cover your walls and produce a musty smell. Your biggest concern should be dirt and grime. Left unchecked, these can encourage bacteria to grow.
Cleaning and disinfecting your basement is necessary as it eliminates mold and grime and improves the appearance and safety of your basement. Let’s look at the steps of cleaning up the basement walls, as well as autumn and winter preparation tips.
Autumn Preparation Tips
Cleaning Cement Basement Walls
While cleaning the cement walls might not be on your to-do list for autumn, it’s necessary for a cleaner, healthier basement. You may have to scrub the walls, rinse them away with clean water, and dry them with a towel.
Note: You’ll need a step stool to clean and disinfect the hard-to-reach areas of the wall. Also, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from scalding water.
With cleaning out of the way, you can now focus your energies on preparing your basement for winter. Some of the preventive measures you can take to minimize internal damage and make the basement comfortable include:
Clear your gutters
The condition of the gutters determines the overall health of the basement, especially in autumn. Falling leaves can clog up the gutters and cause water to pool around the perimeter. As water pools, hydrostatic pressure will start building up and this can affect the structural support in the basement. To avoid this problem, clear out the leaves regularly.
Reposition the downspouts
As the temperatures start cooling, you can expect precipitation to increase. You’ll want to make sure the downspouts point away from your home. Repositioning the downspouts helps channel rainwater away from the foundation walls. If you’re worried about downspouts shifting in winter, ask your local contractor to install underground downspouts. They are less likely to shift.
Re-caulk basement windows
While the basement windows bring in natural light to the basement, they also can be potential conduits for moisture. Check the windows and reseal any that are leaking with caulk before the weather gets damper.
Waterproof the basement
Now is a good time to implement waterproofing measures in the basement. An interior drainage system will collect water, the sump pump will eject the water, and the dehumidifier will dry out the humid air. A vapor barrier on the walls also will help curtail moisture issues and vapor intrusion. All these solutions work together to prevent moisture buildup, which can foster mold growth and create secondary problems.
Winter Preparation Tips
Before winter arrives, do the following:
- Insulate your exposed water pipes with electric heating tape as they’re vulnerable to freezing cold.
- Check and clean heating vents and replace dirty air filters with clean ones to facilitate clean airflow.
- Replace old windows with double glazed ones and get SMART appliances.
- Prune your trees and weed the flowerbeds, then water them properly.
- Cover the patio furniture if they’re too heavy to move indoors.
- Seal your wooden deck to protect from the winter weather.
- Protect your AC unit from debris and falling leaves.
- Weatherstrip the windows along the sashes’ sides or double tape them with shrink film to prevent drafts.
- Check your fireplace for debris or birds’ nests.
- Ensure the roof has no broken shingles, moss/lichen, or worn rubber boots.
Get in touch with Complete Basement Systems for a free basement inspection and waterproofing quote before autumn arrives. We’ll help you protect this low-lying area so it can withstand the damp and cold weather conditions.