Many are predicting El Niño rainfall in the winter months. While this may provide some much needed drought-relief, are you ready for the potential drenching rainstorms? Although no one knows what this season will bring, we can be sure to better prepare our homes for whatever is thrown at us. Here are some tips to get ahead of the game and be ready for the unpredictable season:
1. Fix leaks before the rain hits. Dry heat can cause changes in wood structures which opens itself up to potential leaks. Call your local roofer to check out trouble spots (especially metal flashings) and to repair any old leaks.
2. Clean out your gutters and downspouts – and continue to clean and check after rainy days. Inspect gutters for breaks and make sure they’re tight to rooflines. Don’t forget any holes that need patching from wiring that penetrates the exterior walls.
3. Invest in a generator. Many older neighborhoods in the Bay Area are susceptible to power outages. Consider buying a portable generator or permanent back up generator that’ll kick when the power goes out.
4. Install a sump pump. Below grade spaces, such as basements or garages, can be invaded by groundwater during heavy rains. If you already have one, have a plumber service it.
5. Paint the exterior wood trim. This will help seal cracks in paint to avoid moisture damage that promotes dry rot and termite infestations.
6. Inspect your windows. Hot, dry weather can cause the window glazing to shrink and pull away from the window pane. Re-caulk as needed.
7. Check balcony and deck slopes. Make sure the water is flowing away from the walls into a drainage system.
8. Preemptively strike for an ant invasion. If you’ve had issues with ants and other bugs taking shelter in your home due to wet weather, call an exterminator before it happens again.
9. Store emergency repair materials (such as sandbags, heavy plastic sheeting, etc) in a safe dry place.
10. Put together emergency disaster kits in case of power outages and/or floods. Store in an easily accessible place.
11. Make sure your yard drains properly.
12. Turn off any automatic watering systems.
13. Loosen compacted soil to provide better water absorption. Ground that has dried out too long will initially repel water.
14. Call a certified arborist to assess your trees. The drought has caused trees weigh less with decreased moisture, and they’re also weaker. A sudden onset of heavy moisture may be too much weight for branches to bear.
15. Store outdoor furniture and tie down anything that may fly away in strong winds. If it’s too large to store, use plywood to make sure they’re lifted from the pavement. Reinforce glass tabletops with plywood secures with cords.
16. Have materials on hand to divert water away from structures and walls (i.e. sandbags, concrete edgers, etc).
17. Talk to your neighbors about their drainage system. If you have a home above yours, make sure they have proper drains. They can be liable for water runoff on your property if they’ve altered their natural water flow path.
18. Consider floor insurance, even if you’re not in a flood zone. Twenty percent of claims come from people in non-high-risk areas.
19. Store any important documents in the cloud or on a thumb drive.
20. Prepare now. It’s harder to find solutions for rain-related problems during and after a rainstorm.