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Climate Change in the United States and How It Affects Your Home

From increased precipitation and flooding to extreme temperature changes, climate change in the United States has far-reaching impacts. These devastating events can be felt in many facets of our lives, including our homes.

As we continue to navigate climate challenges, this article aims to help you understand the threats climate change poses to your home’s structural integrity and provide actionable solutions for lasting protection and maintenance.

Understanding the Impact

Different weather events and trends affect your home in different ways—from leaks and water damage to settlement and wall cracks. Here’s a look at how climate change in the United States can directly impact your home.

heavy rain and flooding is part of climate change

Increased Precipitation and Flooding

Water is a power force that can leave various damage in its wake. Not only can heavy rainfall and potential flooding inundate your yard, but it can also significantly damage your basement or crawl space when it leaks inside.

Water also exerts a great amount of pressure on foundation floors and walls, leading to structural weaknesses. The Northeast portion of the country undoubtedly felt these effects, as the region experienced 47.53 inches of precipitation in 2023, which is 104% more than normal.

Extreme Temperature Fluctuations

The Eastern U.S. also experienced a warming trend. Annual temperatures in the region were warmer than average in 2023, with 35 states experiencing a top-10 warmest January-December.

Continuously changing temperatures not only affect how we physically feel, but they can lead to physical impacts throughout our homes, as well. These fluctuations, coupled with varied precipitation, cause the ground to expand and contract. This stresses the foundation, leading to damage like wall cracks and slab floor cracks.

dry and shrinking soil is an effect of climate change

Secondary Effects

Another end of the spectrum encompasses how the ground reacts to a lack of moisture. Below-average precipitation or drought conditions lead to soil dryness.

Dry soil cannot properly support your home, as voids are created with a lack of moisture. Your foundation can easily shift and settle into these voids, resulting in cracks, unevenness, and other damage.

Throughout 2023, 57.5% of U.S. counties experienced drought disaster incidences, undeniably causing home damage.

Your house is actually a living, breathing thing, and it feels the effects of Mother Nature just as we do. When something is wrong with your home as a result of the combination of soil and weather conditions, you’ll be able to tell.

Here are common signs your home suffers from climate-related damage.

Visual Foundation Symptoms

Problem signs with your foundation are typically easier to spot. They include:

Water Issues

Water problems can sometimes be a little difficult to detect, especially if it’s in a less-frequented area like your crawl space. Here are some signs of moisture problems to keep an eye out for:

Preventative Measures: How to Detect a Problem

Regular inspections and maintenance checks are crucial for the health and safety of your home, and the sooner you notice any of these issues, the better. Early detection allows for lasting, cost-effective repair methods to be installed. Otherwise, the longer these issues are neglected, the more damage can happen, resulting in extensive and costly repairs.

Many of the above symptoms are noticeable, but some can be difficult to pin down. For an accurate diagnosis, trust local professionals like a Groundworks Company serving your area.

Solutions for Protection and Repair

During your free inspection with a Groundworks Company, your inspector thoroughly evaluates your home and recommends repair solutions customized to meet your needs. These may include:

Waterproofing Solutions

Moisture management is key for a safe and dry home. Whether your home has a crawl space or a basement, we’ve got innovative products for lasting repair and protection.

encapsulating a crawl space

Crawl Space Encapsulation

A wet, nasty crawl space can cause all kinds of problems throughout your home. The best way to remedy it and prevent moisture damage is with complete crawl space encapsulation. This controls moisture and humidity, improves air quality, and helps deter pests from invading your home.

To accomplish this, we install solutions, including crawl space drains, drainage matting, and a sump pump to address leaking water. Insulation panels help maintain an ideal indoor air temperature and a vapor barrier fully seals your crawl space from the earth. A dehumidifier further controls humidity levels, and sealing open vents prevents air, water, and pest intrusion.

installing basement waterproofing

Basement Waterproofing

Your basement deserves a similar but unique approach. Interior perimeter drains catch leaking water and direct it to a sump pump that pumps it out of and away from your basement. An energy-efficient dehumidifier addresses humidity and air quality issues, and a wall vapor barrier helps prevent further moisture intrusion.

With these solutions in place, you can use your basement however you want—including finishing it to create additional living space—without the fear of water damage.

installing wall anchors for foundation wall repair

Foundation Repair

A damaged foundation requires specific solutions for permanent stabilization.

If walls have succumbed to hydrostatic pressure, we offer various wall repair methods that halt further movement. These include wall anchors, wall braces, and carbon fiber straps. The anchor and brace systems can potentially improve the walls’ conditions, and the carbon fiber straps hold walls in their current positions.

Settling foundations can benefit from our various foundation piers—helical, push, and slab. These methods permanently reinforce the foundation and can potentially lift it back to its original position. Similarly, crawl space supports stabilize weakened floors and floor joists, possibly lifting the floor.

Preventative Landscaping and Drainage

Exterior water management is just as important as its interior cousins. The more water you can keep away from your foundation, the better.

This includes installing and maintaining properly functioning gutters and downspouts. These essentials should be damage and clog-free, and direct water away from your house. In the same vein, this drainage depends on a positive yard grade (soil that slopes down and away from the house) to be effective.

Trust Groundworks for Lasting Foundation Stability

Groundworks inspector meeting with a homeowner

Climate change in the United States is something that we’ll continue to feel and talk about as we adjust to ongoing shifts in weather trends and impacts. It’s crucial to keep its foundational effects at the forefront of our minds so we can best repair and protect our homes. This includes preventative maintenance, regular inspections, and professional repairs.

If you suspect your home’s foundation is damaged, don’t hesitate to contact a Groundworks Company near you for a free inspection and estimate. Homeowners like you throughout the country know they can count on us for unmatched customer care and trusted solutions. Ensure your home’s safety and longevity by booking a free inspection today!

FAQs

Continual exposure to extreme weather can aggravate existing foundation problems, causing the damage to worsen progressively. This can lead to higher repair costs and may even render the home unsafe.

The soil composition around your home plays a crucial role in foundation stability during extreme weather. For instance, clay soils are prone to expansion when wet and contraction when dry, which can cause significant foundation movement and increase the risk of damage.

Usually no, foundation repairs aren’t always covered by homeowner’s insurance, but you should get in contact with your provider to make sure. Every Groundworks company offers affordable financing with reliable warranties, but read our guide on homeowner’s insurance for foundation repairs for more in-depth information.

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.