These are dreaded words in the homeowner’s circle, too much destruction from an unmodifiable element. Until humans are successful in controlling the weather, the problem of water damage to property which largely comes from heavy rainfalls is here to stay.
Heavy rainfalls are common in the coastal region and spring season. Although not every part of the world frequently experiences such, there would always be that one time, the outlier and since the weather is equally unpredictable, it is best to anticipate such a possibility and go forward with a line of action.
The problem is not that there is heavy rainfall, it is frequent and consistent heavy downpour which can lead to flooding, which can cause loss of property, livestock, and crops; threaten human life. The damage can be wrought in many ways.
· Foundation damage- When the soil becomes wet it expands, pushing against your foundation. The constant moistness of the soil causes progressive expansion and when the pressure becomes too much, you would start noticing cracks and leaks on walls and foundation.
· The overflow of gutters- It can clog up gutters with the debris that is swept away with the heavy downpour
· Leaking roofs.
· The dripping of water from cracks on walls can also ruin the foundation and result in water damage to the house.
· Mold growth- The wetness and dampness indoors tend to aid mold growth which can reduce the aesthetic value of the home and cause furniture, carpet, mattress damage.
These can ultimately lead to getting indoors, mold growth occurs soon after, and several structural damaging processes proceed. Mold can cause the destruction of structures and has its health complication too. Exteriorly the foundation is under serious attack, the cracks and dampness facilitate mold growth also and termite colonization which further breaks the house down.
To control the extent of your loss, you are advised to ensure the following steps to guarantee the safety of you, your family, and your property.
Before the Storm
1. Roof Inspection
The roof is one of the first lines of defense against the elements so if compromised, you leave your home open to attack. Check if your roof is missing, cracks, loose shingles, soft pivots, and surface divots. When detected, promptly see that they are fixed.
2. Gutters and Other drainage systems
To avoid the headache of having to deal with a water-damaged home, it is important to have a well-functioning gutter to channel the overflow of water and guide it to a garden, vegetation, or irrigation purposes. Cleaning out of clogged gutters, the direction of the downspouts from the home foundation should also be done. Installing one if you do not have would go a long way in keeping your home safe from water damages.
3. Ensuring a Solid Foundation
When rainwater collects on the soil surrounding your home, the water can seep into the ground and the progressive accumulation of this can crack the foundation. Once cracked, the defense is gone and water slowly leaks in with increasing quantity due to the amount of damage with each time rainfalls and water enters through the foundation. This can lead to the dampness of your basement, attracting mold and bugs which would then cause more structural damages. The key is to ensure you direct rainwater runoff from your foundation. The ground surrounding your property should slope at least six inches to funnel water away from your property.
4. Use of Sandbags
They are just burlap sacks filled with sand. They help divert the flow of water away from buildings. They are not used as a form of the barricade but should be arranged in such a way that it does its intended purpose.
5. Sump pumps
Maybe a bit costly but investment in this offers further protection. It helps drain water from the inside of a structure to the outside, through a small pipe. Having a battery backup one is good as well because heavy rainfalls are often accompanied by power outages.
6. Purchase Flood insurance
Apart from the basic homeowner’s insurance, If you are in an area prone to flooding, getting this insurance would be very useful and would save you a lot of stress in the long run.
During the Storm
· Be safe
Safety is not a mere watchword, it should be imbibed in anything suggestive of the elements and home damage. Before the heavy rains, it is important to inspect the home, but during the downpour, do not venture out of the house to inspect the roof and so on or you put your life at risk. If there is electrical wiring compromise, switch off the mains, and so on. Instead, if the rain becomes threatening, getting you and your family safe should be your number one priority.
After the Storm
Tread carefully when about to inspect your property. Avoid broken glasses and nails. Wear protective clothing like rubber gloves, boots even a face mask.
2. Inspect your property
After the heavy downpour, your first instinct is to check if your property is in one piece. Go for it, but be safe also while you are doing this. Any roof damage, roof leaks should be promptly fixed and if you have insurance, urgently report your claim. Important aspects of the house to be examined because they are more susceptible to undetected water damage
· The basement or crawlspace- Prolonged heavy rainfall can be a nuisance and can turn your house to a swamp. Usually, the basement is not often inspected, until it starts giving off a damp, malodorous smell and may contain all types of harmful microorganisms. In this case, call a water mitigation professional for immediate evacuation and clean up, because these organisms cause all sorts of health problems, from skin diseases to gastrointestinal problems.
· The Attic
· Gutters and downspouts
· Roofs if they are leaking
· Walls for any discoloration, peeling wallpaper, peeling paint.
3. Report your Claim
In case of any damages, despite all your efforts, report your claims as quickly as possible to fix the problem. If you do not have insurance to protect against the problem, repairs should be made as soon as possible and insurance should be purchased to make you better prepared for the storm or flood to come as these forces of nature are almost inevitable.