The vast majority of homeowners don’t realize just how crucial their homes’ foundations are. They know, of course, that it is never good to see cracks in their foundations or to find pools of standing water nearby, but they don’t necessarily know all of the issues the condition of the foundation impacts. Your utility bills all year long, for instance, are affected by your foundation. If this has never occurred to you before, don’t worry! This guide is meant to help you understand how this concept works.
What problems can a damaged foundation cause?
Air sealing issues are among the most common problems to result from foundation damage. When your foundation has cracks, holes, or other unsealed areas, it can lead to air leakage. This, in turn, causes your home to become less energy efficient and, ultimately, leads to higher utility bills in both summer and winter. In addition to obvious issues like cracks, other structural problems can also impact your household’s energy usage.
Sloped floors, for example, are common in historic Carolina homes. While slight sloping may not have an effect on a home’s structural integrity, if you notice a slope, you should have your foundation inspected. In many cases, sloped floors indicated cracking or crumbling foundation stone. It is natural for old houses to settle, but a strong foundation should withstand this phenomenon. If you discover that yours has begun to give way, it’s important to have it inspected before serious air leakage occurs.
If you allow foundation damage to fester for years, whether by choice or inadvertently, it will only get more serious. In extreme cases, foundation damage can actually lead to HVAC system malfunctions. Your home’s ducts, for instance, may start pulling apart, which can cause hot and cold air to stop flowing entirely. A situation like this could eventually result in thousands of dollars in repair costs between paying an HVAC professional and a foundation rebuilding crew.
What can I do to improve my foundation?
In addition to having your foundation inspected annually, paying for your foundation walls to be insulated can greatly improve energy efficiency. Even if you live in a temperate region of North Carolina or South Carolina, foundation wall insulation can help you pay less in cooling costs over the course of any given year. If you choose to go this route, make sure you hire reputable professionals to do the job. Incorrectly installed insulation won’t perform well and may have to be fixed later.
Caring for your Carolina home’s foundation doesn’t have to be a challenge. All you need to do is partner with a reliable contractor who will notice problems before they cause serious damage. Most general contractors who do foundation work offer annual inspections for nominal fees. Make sure you do your research first to feel confident that you’re getting the best deal in your area. Often, word-of-mouth recommendations are the best way to find a trustworthy local contractor. Talk to friends and family members who have also had foundation work done to find out who they hired.