Drought is damaging area foundations and plumbing

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Your home could be in danger from drought conditions. FOX19 is "keeping You Safe" on drought patrol.

People need to think about the foundations of their homes.

If you've watered your lawn and shrubs and flowers diligently all summer long, then you may not have as much to worry about. But, if haven't watered, take note, your home's foundation could be in jeopardy.

Walk on any Tri-State lawn and you'll hear the dry, crunching sound of brittle grass and twigs. And, as things dry-up on the outside, underneath your yard, pressure on plumbing and your home's foundation can shift.

"And that movement allows your foundation to crack as well as when we get some rain and the soils expand again," said Wade Weeks with Basement Restoration Technologies. "That puts the pressure back on the foundation, lifting and lowering it."

And causing it to crack and leak.

"Well, it's just as simple as looking for a gap between your wall, your foundation wall, and your soil and when you have a gap there, that's a sign that the ground has shrunk away and that's what you see in these drought conditions," Weeks said.

You'd think the foundation would be used to the pressure being there.

"yes," Weeks said. "It is, but once it contracts, it opens up and allows water in-between the soil and the foundation and then as it expands, that added water pressure between the soil and your foundation pushes through your foundation walls."

Give your own home the test by simply scooping your fingers near the foundation edge, and feeling for any gaps. Even the smallest gaps of an eighth of an inch or less, can let water get under your home's foundation and footer.

"Well there's some separation right there, yes," Weeks said, pointing to a gap under his own foundation. "You've got a gap here."

"When the rains come the water will hit your wall, and run down the side of your wall, along your foundation in that gap," and could cause problems later when heavy rains return in the Spring.

Look for gaps between your mulch and foundation walls.

"You can just pull the mulch back and see the gaps along the foundation," Weeks said finding yet another flaw in the wall we were examining.

Check behind your shrubs.

"Just reach in, there again, there's the gap along the foundation," he said.

Think of what else could be shifting underground.

"It causes water mains to break, sewer lines to crack, when the ground expands and contracts," Weeks said.

And Weeks said, once your footer or foundation cracks, you will need to get professional help, because unlike the clay soil that expands and fills back up, a cracked foundation is forever until it's repaired correctly.

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