Reasons Why Your Basement Might Leak During Winter

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Leaky basements occur due to moisture permeating through the walls. This moisture can either be due to snow, rain, or some problems with your drainage systems. However, a leaking basement in winter needs proper examination as the moisture can significantly reduce the temperature of your house. Let’s look at the reasons why your basement may leak in the winter.

Melting Snow

Melting snow is the most common reason for leakage during the winter. The temperature of your basement is much higher than the temperature outside of your house. The radiating heat from the basement melts the snow outside of your house and causes the accumulation of moisture. Since the melting snow cannot escape anywhere else, it permeates the walls of your basement.  Built-up moisture is the prime cause of leaks. 

Another snow-related leakage problem comes from the snow on your roof. When the snow on your roof melts, it seeps into the soil and causes saturation of moisture. This moisture puts pressure on your basement walls and can cause water to enter the basement. A good way to prevent this from happening is to regularly shovel the snow off your roof. 

Faulty Sump Pump

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You most likely have a sump pump already installed in your house as it is required if you have a basement. A sump pump collects excessive water and drives it away from the house. 

A sump pump works autonomously. It is placed inside a pit, which is dug in the basement. When the pit is filled with water, the pump activates and the water is swayed away from the house. A malfunctioning sump pump will cause a buildup of water near your basement. This water will then permeate through the walls and cause a flood.

Shoddy installation and frozen pipes are one of the most common reasons for a malfunctioning sump pump. Check out if you want experts to ensure a proper and secure sump pump installation. Visit the website to know more!

Clogged drains

Drains require regular maintenance and cleaning. When a drain is clogged, the water has no way to escape. Instead of flowing away from your house, it flows back up from the drain. Or it puts immense pressure on your pipes which causes them to crack. This causes leakage in your basement and can also cause an onslaught of sewage and further damage to the structure.

Clogging can occur in the sewer lines of your home, as well as in the community sewer lines. Take proper precautions to prevent the clogging in your drains by getting them cleaned regularly, as regular cleaning will greatly reduce the chances of any leakage occurring in your basement. Community sewage lines can be kept in check by regularly facilitating thorough check-ups of large drains in your locality. 

Structural issues in your basement

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It is quite obvious that any foundational faults in the walls or floor of your basement will cause water to enter inside. Cracks in your walls or floor are the most common pathways for water to enter.

Whenever water collects between your basement wall and the soil, it puts pressure on a specific area. This pressure then causes the excess water to seep through the cracks of your basement wall or floor. 

Window wells are another route for water to enter your basement. While they allow light to enter inside the area, they can cause water to enter inside. Your window wells should have proper drainage and sealing to prevent water from seeping through. 

Cracks are extremely common in the basement. An aging house will have some cracks because of time and natural factors. However, these cracks are repairable. If they are not repaired properly, these cracks can be a direct route for water to enter your basement and cause a flood. To prevent long-term water damage and flooding, make sure to keep an eye on your basement walls and the floor to prevent any large cracks. 

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure refers to the effects of gravity on water. Every time you have a clogged drain or melting snow near your basement, hydrostatic pressure is the phenomenon that causes the water to seep through the basement. This pressure causes excessive moisture to enter the nooks and crannies of your basement. 

The strength of this force not only causes water to permeate existing faults in the foundation but also causes damage to your basement. A build-up of hydrostatic pressure can cause water new cracks and faults to appear in your basement. There are multiple ways to prevent the build-up of this pressure in your basement. Finding an alternative route of water away from the basement is a good way to prevent a hydrostatic pressure-induced flood in your basement. 

Eavestroughs and roof drain pipes are not installed properly

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The installation of eavestroughs and waterspouts play a huge role in preventing any leaks in your basement. Even though they’re not installed in the basement, their proximity to the area has the potential to cause flooding. It is essential to keep them away from your basement as their main purpose is to direct water away. If they’re installed properly and far away from your basement, the chances of leaks will be greatly reduced. As mentioned earlier, melting snow from your roof can also cause leakage in your basement. Since roof drain pipes redirect this melted snow, it is essential to make sure the water falls away from your basement. 

Improper installation of these essential elements will cause flood after flood in your basement. Make sure that you regularly keep an eye on them and that they are an appropriate distance away from your basement. 


The above are the most common reasons for any leaks in your basement during the winter. Fortunately, they are all preventable and regular maintenance will greatly reduce the chances of leakage. Make sure that the waterproofing mechanism of your house is functioning properly and is in prime condition. A thorough check-up of all your drainage systems before winter will help keep your basement completely leak-free!