Is Your Home Ready For a Houston Winter
Bloomberg didn’t mince words when it declared, “Texas isn’t ready for another deep freeze.”
On top of the other confusion 2020 brought to the Lone Star State and the world, the effects of the February 2021 deep freeze are still being felt. During the freeze, millions of people were left without power. In addition, natural gas wells were frozen, preventing any relief.
Hundreds of people died. And it could happen again.
When most folks think of Houston, they think of the sweltering heat of our 101°F summer days. But Houston has a full range of temperatures and generally distinct seasons. We’re used to drying, cool winters, but the potential exists for them to grow much more volatile.
The now-famous Texas freeze is widely looked on as a “one in a million” event. But this kind of event is happening more and more where weather is concerned. So it’s imperative to make sure you’re prepared for this winter, which experts say could rival the deep freeze in its intensity.
The Fast-Changing Face of Houston Winter, Your Roof, and Your Home’s Foundation
Perilously cold temperatures may be on the way again.
If they arrive, they could seriously damage your foundation.
Historically, January is the coldest month for Houston, and snow is virtually unheard of. But in February 2021, the temperature dropped as far as 15°F. As a result, the Houston area got several inches of snow. Unfortunately, while kids got to play, it was still enough to snarl traffic and add more challenge to the already tough conditions.
Not all Houston homes are properly prepared for the extreme winter cold. In addition to the discomfort and the potential danger – especially if power is lost again – there’s also a high degree of risk to your home’s foundation when precipitation turns to a wintry mix or snow.
The close relationship between your home’s foundation and the roof is not to be underestimated. If your foundation is damaged, your floors, walls, and the roof will all be affected. But the chain of events often goes the other way: Problems that started on your roof can devastate your foundation.
That’s especially true if it snows.
As temperatures change through the day, snow may melt and refreeze multiple times if it is not able to run off your roof. And if your gutters are loose or leaking, it can cause that water to drain directly down into the foot of your home. That can be the start of significant water damage to your foundation.
Concrete is porous, like a sponge, so it easily absorbs water. In fact, all concrete will absorb a small amount of water based on the ambient temperature and humidity. This, alone, is not enough to cause a problem. However, add extra water from storm rain, hail, or snow, and you have the makings of a crisis.
Protecting Your Foundation From a Ferocious Houston Winter
To support your foundation in winter, be sure you:
- Clean your gutter and verify that water is flowing
- Make sure the gutter is fully intact and free of leaks
- If necessary, level your yard to a minimum 2% downward slope
No matter what the weather is like, water should drain away from the foot of your home and be free to run downhill. It should never be exposed to conditions where it will pool near the house. This happens most often when water encounters an uphill slope.
If winter storms strike, be sure to keep an eye on your gutter and roof. Ice dams can cause water to flow off the roof in unexpected ways. At the same time, water can freeze over in the gutter and render it inoperable. Thaw the gutters as fast as possible to defend the foundation from run-off.
Some methods for doing this include:
- Hot water – connect a garden hose to the hot water supply from your water heater
- A roof rake – use this shortly after a snowfall to prevent new ice dams from forming
One storm typically isn’t enough to cause foundation problems on its own. Instead, damage develops and spreads over a longer period of time. As a result, many homeowners are taken completely by surprise when they see a heavy crack in the foundation or start to notice stair-step cracks around walls and windows.
If you notice signs that you need foundation repair, don’t delay getting expert help.
Allied Foundation Is Your Houston Foundation Repair Company for All Seasons
If you spot foundation damage symptoms in winter, you might think you need to wait until the weather warms up before you get foundation repair. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here at Allied Foundation, we work in all weather conditions, so you don’t have to wait. We are dedicated to fast turnaround, providing same-day estimates whenever possible.
Contact us now to get started.