How to prepare your home for the rainy season

1/06/2010

The rainy season or freak episodes of wet weather can cause catastrophic damage – as the unexpected downpours earlier this year have shown. But there are steps you can take to minimise the effects of water damage and make sure your home is as protected as it can be.

 

Protect your house1. It’s important to check your house regularly for cracks around windows and doors that might let water seep inside. Keep caulk in tip-top condition by checking old caulk every year for chips and cracks and replacing it wherever necessary.

2. Keep a close eye on the trees on your lot and remove any dead branches that could fall during a downpour and cause damage to people or property.

3. Clear gutters and drains of leaves, branches and debris to make sure any overflow doesn’t rot the woodwork of the roof.

4. Make sure that sewer traps are plugged with check valves – these direct water in one direction only and prevent it from backing up into your home. You can find these at a hardware store, or improvise by using large corks or stoppers to plug sinks and tubs in an emergency.

5. If you have a pool make sure that the water level is not so high that it would overflow in heavy rain - chlorinated water can be harmful to grass.

6. If heavy rain is forecast, turn off automated sprinkler systems so they don’t add to the deluge.

7. It’s a good idea to have a supply of sand and sandbags to fill in low areas around your home if the water does start to rise. Some local fire stations provide sandbags to residents during the rainy season.

8. Always make sure you have a flashlight, batteries and a first aid kit on hand in case you are ever stranded in your home.

9. Do some research on the likelihood of flooding in your area. Ask your local planning and zoning office whether your property is above or below the flood level, and find out if your area has a history of flooding.

10. Keep important documents - including insurance policies, birth certificates and passports - in an easily accessible waterproof box so that they would be safe in the event of a flood.

11. Protect basement walls by sealing them with a cement or concrete sealer.

12. Know how to turn off your electricity supply so that you can do it as quickly as possible if your house should be flooded. Remember that it shouldn’t be switched back on until everything has dried out.

13. Keep an eye on the weather forecast so that you have as much warning as possible of any heavy rainfall and to give yourself a chance to carry out final checks to make sure your home is prepared to do battle with the elements.


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