Brace yourselves, El Niño has just begun – 5 ways to protect your property

Posted January 07, 2016 by Gabriel Posternak

Californians had it bad this week after several El Niño-related storms hit the state with ferocious force. And though the storm system finished passing through Southern California this Thursday, this winter promises to be filled with heavy rain. If what happened this week serves as an example, there will be flooded roadways and mudslides across the land. For now, the state’s infrastructure has held up just fine but what about private properties?

Officials have been warning home owners to prepare for this series of storms for quite a while now and people followed suit. So, while your home might be safe for now, the only thing that will keep it that way is to keep a vigilant eye on anything that can become troublesome. What to look for, then? Well, you can start with the 5 things we describe below and take advantage of the breather we’ve earned to get into action.

Check your roof

During this kind of storms, your roof is one of the parts of the house that suffers the most. Cracked tiles or mold can appear and let moisture and rain in and starting a rotting process to your home’s structure. Even if you’ve checked your roof before the first El Niño storms hit, take a new look through your roof, as the heavy rains of the season can make new problems appear out of nowhere. If you find something during your inspection, get it fix ASAP. Since we’re looking to an extremely rainy season, the more you postpone it, the more damage your home will take.

Keep an eye on your drainage

Found out that your home is surrounded by small pools after it stopped raining? Then your home’s drainage is failing – and hard. Ideally, the areas surrounding your home should slope away to help keep the water away from your foundations. But if that isn’t your case, then it’s time for you to create drainage yourself. A temporary drainage ditch leading to a pipe, a drain or other harmless area can do you a huge favor by showing a way for the water to run. Already have a drainage system? Check it for clogs that might be preventing it from doing its work. Make test to check for the clogs’ location. Can’t find the problem? Get help before the next storm.

Trim your trees – or cut them off entirely

Having trees in your home is fabulous thing – except when you neglect them. Ignoring a tree might get back at you during a storm, since branches might fall off and cut your power lines or, worse, the entire tree can fall on your home. You should be very careful about that, especially because trees in California can get pretty big and the potential damage on your home (or to your neighbors’) might be devastating. So, take the time to trim and cut your trees, paying special attention to the oldest ones. Additionally, inspect their roots to detect weak rooted trees. Finally, tell your neighbors to do so, as their trees can also damage your home.

Don’t forget your windows and doors!

Your windows and doors are always at risk of letting air and rain through. There are cracks and leaks that you probably don’t notice at first sight that are an invitation for bad weather to come into your home. Sealing them properly is very easy and affordable task that won’t just protect you from the wind, rain and moisture but that will also improve your home’s energy efficiency. So, you might get something extra out of this situation! Don’t know how to check for these issues? Hire an expert to weatherize your home!

Think of investing in a generator

Living a few hours without power may not seem like that big a deal but the truth is that El Niño can knock out your electricity for days or even weeks. Winter without energy can be a tough season to go through, so perhaps you should consider investing in a generator, especially if you live in area where power outages are prone to happen. A generator can help you keep your fridge on, stay warm and, of course, have light during nighttime. It’s not a considerable investment and can be a real lifesaver that you’ll surely use again in the future.

As nice as it is to take a look out the window and see rain falling down after an extremely dry year, El Niño isn’t a reason for relief. The last visit comparable to this one (during the late 90s) was disastrous causing 17 deaths and more than half a billion dollars in damage in California alone. So, being prepared and cautious is more than just a reasonable advice – it should be a living guide for months to come.

Photo credit: bluesbby via / CC BY

Posted January 07, 2016
by Gabriel Posternak.


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