A basement often acts as a valuable extension to the rest of your home. Whether you use it for extra living space or simply for storage, regular season-specific upkeep is essential for protecting your home. As fall arrives in New Jersey on the way towards winter, consider making a checklist of cold weather preparation tasks to help protect both your family and your belongings as the temperature starts to drop.

Pipe Care
One of the largest basement concerns when living in a northern area like New Jersey is pipe freezing. When temperatures drop below freezing, the water in your pipes can freeze and expand, causing the pipe to burst. Not only can this cause serious damage to your home, it can also cost you a lot of money in repairs. Use simple methods, such as pipe insulation, to help protect pipes that are exposed to cold winter temperatures, whether they’re running through or into your basement.

Mold Removal
If you’ve had a pipe burst or any other issues with unwanted moisture in your basement, another item you should add to your checklist is mold removal. When mold takes hold, it can quickly spread under trim, carpet, linoleum and across various services of your basement. While not all molds are necessarily harmful, many can cause serious health issues for those dealing with conditions like asthma, allergies or emphysema. While some surfaces like glass, metal or other non-porous materials can simply be cleaned with a mold removal product, other items like carpets, drywall or ceiling tiles will most likely need to be removed and replaced. Click here for more ideas on how to deal with your specific mold situation.

Waterproofing
If you’ve had reoccurring problems with mold, you may want to consider water-proofing your home to help prevent future issues with mold development. While moisture in your basement can come from high humidity, which often results in water condensing on the walls, winter moisture issues are more commonly caused by outside water sources. When outside water is an issue, consider water-proofing your interior or exterior walls. Interior walls can easily be protected by applying a concrete waterproofing coating or a silicate-based concrete sealer. While interior protection helps, it’s typically recommended that you also water-proof the exterior of your home. While this option typically costs more and takes more time, you also fully protect your home from future water damage. When considering a full-scale exterior waterproofing plan, it’s important to contact a professional in your area.

Foundation Repair
Before water-proofing your basement, you may want to also consider repairing any cracks or other issues with your foundation. The older your home, the greater chance you’ve probably experienced issues with stuck windows or creaking walls. These are often signs of foundation problems, that while common, can cause more serious issues over time. During the winter, moisture from rain and snow causes the soil around your foundation to expand. As warmer weather returns, the soil dries and returns to its original size. Often this expansion and contraction can take your house foundation with the soil, causing cracks and instability. A foundation expert can help develop a plan to not only fix foundation issues and cracks, but also help prevent them from occurring in the future.

While the initial costs of some of these items may seem daunting, the price tag is small when you compare it to potential costs associated with removing mold or water damaged surfaces, or the general health of yourself and your family. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. Contact a professional today to see how they can help prepare your basement for the winter, while protecting your home and saving you money.