Watering your foundation is not the same as watering your yard. While a yard sprinkler system can be sufficient to maintain the performance of your foundation in some cases, for many home owners, it is not going to be effective in the hottest parts of the summer. For the most effective foundation watering maintenance it is best to use a purpose built foundation watering system.
Watering should be done in the summer months between approximately May through October. Typically, watering can be performed with a soaker hose placed around the outer perimeter of the foundation placed 1 to 1.5 feet from the edge of the foundation. Care should be taken not to place soaker hoses too close to the building’s foundation to reduce the potential for erosion of soil at its perimeter which can result in permanent differential settlement.
Care should also be taken when installing the soaker hoses to ensure there are flow disks installed at the end connected to your hose bibb, or that a pressure regulator is installed at the hose bibb. This will ensure a uniform flow rate in the pipe and prevent pressure damage. It is not recommended that you connect multiple lengths together to prevent problems with non uniform watering due to a typical loss of flow near the end of extended lengths of leaky pipe.
Consideration should be given to large vegetation, such as trees. Where large vegetation exists, you may need to increase watering or install root barriers to limit the vegetation’s impact on the building. If you do not use root barriers, in some cases, your efforts may not be very effective.
The amount of water to add around a building is dependent upon your soil conditions, site conditions, and the vegetation around your building. It is recommended that you follow the following watering program as a starting point and make adjustments as necessary to fine tune the needs of your foundation.
January – April: Most years you do not need to add water to the soil during these months, depending upon the weather.
May – June: 3 times a day broken into intervals of 10 minutes.
July – September: Increase watering some, depending upon the soil conditions. 4 times a day may be necessary. In some cases, you may need to add 5 minutes to the water time. Caution is advised in adding time to watering in that it can waste water in soils which do not absorb it fast enough to prevent it from running away to the yard.
September – Oct: 3 times a day broken into intervals of 10 minutes.
November – December: Supplemental watering is not necessary during these months.
Watering should be monitored every few days. Probing the ground is the best method to determine if watering is being effective over a short time. The ground should be soft, but not excessively wet. Probe the ground with a long bladed screw driver, rebar, or similar tool.