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Extreme drought causing home foundation issues in western U.S.

Posted at 6:55 PM, Sep 21, 2022

If you've ever noticed cracks in or around your home, foundation experts, like Rick Donohoe with Groundworks Colorado, say might be time to call a professional.

"Your largest investment for most people is their home," Donohoe said.

Donohoe is a certified field inspector. He says there are certain signs to look for to see whether the foundation is at risk.

"Cracks in drywall, cracks and mortar joints, cracks in the actual foundation itself," Donohoe said. "A lot of people can see their foundation if they don't have a finished basement."

Many people are aware that flooding can cause shifts in a house's foundation. The nation's leading foundation company says It's been a consistent problem for homeowners in states like Florida, Georgia and Texas, but drought can also be a cause for concern.

"The soils, for the most part are supporting the foundations, supporting your house," Donohoe said. "So as they dry up, you have significant load coming down on the foundation."

Right now, scientist Andreas Prein with US National Center for Atmospheric Research says the southwestern U.S. is experiencing the most severe drought.

"A megadrought is defined as a drought lasts for 20 years or longer," Prein said.

The only time he says states like California, Nevada, New Mexico, or Utah get out of these dry spells is when there is massive flooding.

"So this is also something we see more often," Prein said. "I would say that droughts or dry conditions are ended by very heavy events and then you can have dramatic flooding."

Very dry soil followed by very wet soil likely means more problems for your house. To prevent a couple-thousand-dollar bill from turning into a 50-thousand dollar bill, it's better to fix it sooner rather than later.