Early in 2014, the residents of Paris, a small town in Missouri, experienced a phenomenon called cryoseism or frost quake. Frost quakes are caused by sudden freezing temperatures and produce noises ranging from cracks to rumbles and, sometimes, loud booms. A few months later, the Casebolt family in Indiana heard loud cracks and booms inside their home, but for a different reason. They experienced truss lift, which is another phenomenon caused by extreme temperature changes during winter. It's important to understand how these phenomena can damage your home and property.
Your home's foundation is susceptible to the changes in the ground around it. During the winter months, water in the ground can freeze and cause cracks to appear in your foundation and can cause damage to other structures on your property.
When water freezes it expands. This expansion can cause rocks to break and soil to move. When this happens suddenly, such as when temperatures drop below freezing rapidly, the sounds created by the cracking rocks can cause frost quakes. The movement of the soil can cause the soil to heave in all directions, which puts pressure on your foundation.
Ice lensing is another phenomenon that can happen; however, it rarely causes foundation damage. Ice lensing occurs when water that is parallel to and near the surface of the ground freezes. The expansion of the ice in ice lensing moves upward and causes the soil to heave, which can damage structures that are near the surface such as your driveway and utility lines.
As the soil expands, it can damage the waterproofing membrane on the exterior of your foundation. In some locations where frost quakes and frost heaves are more common, basement waterproofing contractors typically drape a polyethylene plastic layer over the waterproofing membrane. This plastic layer acts as a slip joint to protect the waterproofing membrane from the movement of the soil.
The sub-foundation of your driveway should be made of materials that allow for compensation of the expansion of water as it freezes, such as gravel. Your water and gas lines should be insulated to prevent breakage from soil expansion.
Heat rises, which is why most people insulate their attics. Unfortunately, improper placement of the insulation could cause disastrous problems to your home's roofing structure. Not only can the trusses break, cracks can appear on the walls and ceilings throughout your home.
Insulation placed on the attic floor often covers the bottoms of the trusses. This causes the temperature at the bottom of the trusses to be much warmer than the temperature at the top of the trusses. Additionally, moisture that is blocked by the insulation may get into the bottom of the trusses. When the truss bottoms are moist and warm but the truss tops are cold and dry, it can cause the trusses to flex outward and lift the trusses from the structure of the home. This lift can cause cracks to form in your home's drywall.
Careful placement of attic insulation is necessary to prevent truss lift. However, it's important to anchor down the trusses to the exterior walls of the home instead of just to the ceilings below the attic. This prevents the ceilings from being lifted by the trusses due to flexing.
If you hear booms and cracks inside your home or on your property during the winter months, don't dismiss them. You may be experiencing frost quakes or truss lifts.
Does your heating bill send you into a state of shock? If so, now is the time for you to begin making changes to your home to bring the cost of heating your home down. In years past, my heating bill was actually more than my mortgage was. It really made getting through the winter difficult for my family. I decided to do something about the high bills. I started with insulation, then invested in some new windows, and I also changed the way that we used our utilities. You can learn everything that I did to reduce my heating bill so that you can cut your heating bill as well.