WHY IS A CONTROLLED WATERING PROGRAM NEEDED?
Think of the soil under your home as a living thing. In the rainy seasons, the soil soaks up water, like it takes in a deep breath and swells. But in the hot, dry summer, it exhales and lets go of the water, shrinking back down. This swelling and shrinking can make your house move a bit, like a little nod to the changing seasons.
This movement is usually fine and things like cracks in walls or sticky doors may go away and reappear with the seasons. Too much movement can lead to foundation damage. To safeguard your home, we recommend a controlled watering plan.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The goal is to keep the moisture levels around and under your house as balanced as possible. One of the best and least expensive methods (versus installing a sprinkler system) are soaker hoses placed about 1-2 feet from your house. Soaker hoses are covered in small pinholes that release the water into the ground slowly and gradually. Regular lawn sprinklers just water the surface.
You want to avoid putting the soaker hose too close to the house. When the soil dries and develops those deep cracks, water can follow along the cracks, allowing too much water under the foundation. Imagine a brick is sitting on a stack of dry, stale bread on a plate. If you add water to one side of the plate, the bread on the bottom is going to soak it up and that side will no longer hold up the brick. When you water directly on those large cracks around your foundation, the soil can become hyper-saturated deep below the dry surface and lose its load-bearing capability, potentially causing your home to shift.
WHEN AND HOW MUCH DO I WATER?
In hot, dry times, the soil needs more water. Besides the heat and lack of rain, did you know one large tree can absorb up to 150 gallons a day (that’s three times the amount an adult camel or elephant drinks)? On the flip side, properly landscaped beds with a layer of mulch can help maintain surface moisture. Even so, you might find you need to run soaker hoses daily. Most North Texas cities have watering restrictions in place in the summer. Typically, soaker hoses can be used at any time but be sure to check with your city’s water department to see what’s allowed in your area.
WHEN DO YOU CALL US?
What you ultimately need to consider is, do you want to pay a little more for water now or much more later for foundation repairs? If you think you’re watering enough and something still feels or looks off with your house, call us and schedule your free evaluation. Our experts will tell you whether you need repairs, or simply monitor your home and schedule a follow-up visit if recommended. We’re here to help you keep your foundation healthy!