In the previous blog, we talked about the drought and how if affects our homes. O.K., what can we do about it? Well, let’s first recap how the drought is affecting our homes.
There are a lot of clays in the soil in this part of Texas. As the moisture content of the soil changes, the clays in the soil will expand as water is added, and the clays in the soil contract as it dries out. Therefore, the key to keeping the houses from moving so much is to keep the moisture content of the soil consistent around the perimeter of the house.
This can be done in a variety of ways. An automatic sprinkler system is usually the easiest. If it is good working condition, you may need only to adjust it slightly as the amount of rainfall you get changes.
Another method that I have used for many years is a sprinkler on the end of a hose and we move it around the house to get all parts properly watered. This is a little more time consuming plus I never get an even amount of water to all parts of the yard.
Another very useful method is the use of a soaker hose. Putting a timer on it makes it a little bit easier and it does put out a even flow of water around the perimeter of the house. I still have to use a sprinkler at the end of a hose for the other areas like near trees that require much more water that just a little drip from the soaker hose. I will talk about trees and some of the water requirements in future blogs.
But since we talked about soaker hoses, I want to talk about what not to do because you can cause more problems than you solve and you may not even know that you are causeing harm to your house!!!
You should keep your soaker hose about 12 inches to 18 inches away from the perimeter of your house. You may have noticed a little gap between the soil and your home’s foundation if the soil around your house is very dry. Never put your soaker hose in this little gap. If a lot of water goes down this space between the foundation and the soil, the ground could get so much water the soil will start losing it’s load bearing capacity and you can increase the rate of settling of your house, causing more cracks showing up, doors sticking, etc.
We are trying to pervent the settlement of your home, so one way is to keep the soaker hose 12 to 18 inches away from the perimeter of the foundation. I have also read a report saying that as much as 50% of the water coming out of a soaker hose will evaporate on a hot or windy day. They suggested you place the soaker hose below the mulch in your flower beds. If it is in the grassy area that needs to be mowed, they suggested placing it in a perforated pipe and putting it just below the surface of the soil.
To sum up, keep the moisture content of the soil consistent around the perimeter of your home, and you will reduce the movement of the foundation and your home.