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Your house is only as healthy as its foundation. Minor damages to your foundation can eventually lead to serious problems if they’re ignored. Because of all the extra material in a finished basement like carpet and drywall, it can actually be harder to check for problems compared to an unfinished basement. Here are some tips to help you inspect your foundation.

Test the Sump Pump

Your sump pump is essential for keeping your foundation and basement dry. You should test it every six months. There are many different kinds of sump pump, so check your manual or manufacturer’s website for instructions on how to test it. This usually consists of pouring several gallons of water into the pump to make sure it all gets pumped out successfully, and that it turns off after use.

Check for Leaks and Cracks

Check all the floors, walls and windows for cracks or leaks. If they’re small, set a reminder to check them later to make sure they don’t get worse. Look to see if windows and doors are becoming crooked or uneven, or if the floor is sloping or developing soft spots. This could mean the foundation is settling. If you see any serious issues, contact a professional right away.

Look for Mold, Mildew and Excess Moisture

A little bit of mold can grow into a serious health problem for you and your family. Check the basement for discolorations and a musty smell. Also check for signs of excess moisture — wet surfaces, bubbling or peeling paint. Mold loves damp environments. Make sure your basement is well-ventilated and air-conditioned, as this will reduce humidity. Get a dehumidifier if it seems damp. A little bit of mildew might not be a big problem. Clean it with bleach and see if it comes back. Mold test kits are commercially available, allowing you to test our surfaces for mold.

Look for Signs of Pests

Many pests are bad news for your foundation. Droppings indicate rats or mice. Also look for tiny wings. This is a sign of termites. Also look for chewed wires, or materials gathered for nesting. Infestations can affect your family’s health as well as your home’s foundations, so call an exterminator.

Inspect the Exterior

Walk around the outside of your house, looking for cracks in the walls. Also check the ground. If it slopes downward toward the walls, this will lead to water seeping below the surface, endangering the foundation. Add more soil around the perimeter so that water will flow away from the house.

If you have any concerns about your basement or foundation, call Reliable Basement Services. A family-owned and operated company, we’ve served the greater Chicago area for over a decade. We offer a full spectrum of basement services including crack repairs, sump pump systems, basement waterproofing, basement windows, and floor repair. Our consistently high standards have made us an award-winning Chicago basement waterproofing contractor, so call us at (630) 318-4888 or visit our website.

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