Watering your house

posted Apr 30, 2013, 5:57 AM by A Stone   [ updated Apr 30, 2013, 5:57 AM by Amy Stone ]
Did you ever wonder why your parents watered the house?   I remember visiting my grandparents in the Rio Grande Valley during the summer and seeing the hose around the house.  I thought they were trying to keep the house cool.
Well, now I know.  Foundations on expansive soils - which are most of the house foundations in Texas, are based on keeping the moisture level of the dirt directly beneath the foundation about the same as the dirt around the edges.  The dirt under the foundation is kind of medium wet.  Your house should have been built that way and hasn't changed much since.  However, during the summer and our periodic droughts, the dirt around the outside of the house dries out.  Too much difference between these two areas and you get differential settling, also known as cracks in your house.  
New house warranties are written so that it's the homeowner's responsibility to monitor this situation and not doing so may void the warranty.  
How much water?  Not surprisingly, that's one of the reasons we plant bushes around houses.  If the bushes are healthy, the dirt is probably wet enough.  Just a handy rule of (green) thumb.
So, to keep your house happy, make sure it has plenty to drink this summer.
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