How to Keep Your Basement Dry During Rain and Snow Melt Season

Tuesday, January 4th, 2022 by Harrison Hallowell


We’re about to enter the heart of the winter season, a time when Midwesterners are looking forward to the warmer weather more than ever. However, now is the most crucial time to begin preparing for the damage that the transition in seasons can have on your home. From winter into spring, a basement is extremely vulnerable to water intrusion from the thawing of ice and snow. We have some tips for you to help prevent water from infiltrating your basement when it rains and thaws this spring.

Check All Your Downspouts and Sump Pump Discharge Lines

It is certainly not uncommon for snow to pile up on top of a downspout and prevent the water from escaping – we see it pretty frequently. This issue can become much more severe when it simultaneously rains, and the snow melts. Now you’ve got your hands full. The removal of snow from around your downspouts will ensure your gutters can do their job, capturing all water and redirecting it away from the home’s foundation.

Like downspouts, above-ground sump pump discharge lines can struggle in the winter. If the snow isn’t cleared from around the discharge lines, the pipe itself can freeze, leaving no way for the water that enters your sump pump in the basement to escape. This could put stress on your sump pump by forcing it to run constantly, eventually leading to it burning out.

Reading this, you may ask yourself, “well, how do I know my if sump pump discharge line is frozen?”. It’s quite easy to tell. You will hear it running constantly, and it’ll feel warm to the touch due to overuse. If your sump pump or the water inside is warm, there’s likely an issue you'll need to address promptly. In addition, you could also look at your discharge lines outside to make sure water is exiting properly or look inside to ensure there’s no ice buildup. If your discharge line is frozen, there’s a high chance water could seep into your basement.

At Thrasher, we use a product called IceGuard that fits the sump pump discharge line on the home's exterior and allows water to escape even if the drainage line is frozen.How to Keep Your Basement Dry During Rain and Snow Melt Season - Image 1

Create Paths for Water to Drain Away from Your Foundation

If there is saturated soil around your basement, hydrostatic pressure will build, and water will begin finding its way through the path of least resistance. This is crucial to understand when assessing a wet basement and foundation issues. These paths of resistance include porous concrete foundation walls, form ties on poured foundation walls, foundation cracks, the cold join where the foundation wall and footing meet, and more.

Remove the Snow Away from Your Siding

If snow is piled up against your siding, it needs to be removed before the melting occurs. In most homes, there is a wood sill plate that sits on top of your foundation wall, and the water from the melting snow can seep underneath your siding, coming in between your sill plate and foundation wall.

Preventing Future Water Issues in Your Basement

The most effective way to guarantee your basement stays dry year-round, regardless of the season, is by having fully functional drainage and sump pump systems in place. Emphasis on “fully functional”. Not all basement waterproofing systems are designed to last long into the future, including the one that may have been installed when your home was first built. Additionally, because of the mechanical nature of a sump pump system, even the best basement waterproofing solutions require regular maintenance to ensure everything is working perfectly.

With a properly working basement waterproofing system, water is collected, directed to a sump pump, and removed from the home. If your home needs a basement waterproofing system or an update to the existing system, Thrasher Foundation Repair is here to help in any way we can. We offer free in-home inspections with a same-day estimate to make it as easy as possible for you as a homeowner. Our basement experts will diagnose your problem and walk you through all the possible repair solutions. Contact us online or call 1-800-827-0702 to schedule your inspection today.