Is Your House Ready for El Nino?

Winter is coming: Berms will be Built

So for GOT fans winter is coming and for everyone else in the South Bay, El Nino will be here too. Jon Snow has his wall, we have berms.

And if you weren't in town for the last El Nino winter (I was) be prepared for rain, lots of rain. It will be very, very, wet. Here's some things you can do to prepare.

Make Repairs Before it RainsThe recent dry heat may have caused wood structures to shrink and to open up expansion joints, possibly creating leak points. Most roof leaks occur at metal flashing connection points, so make sure the flashing is free of debris. Use your hose to make sure the flashing is directing water off the roof and into the gutters.

Garage and Windows: make sure the garage door is flush all around. We all store things in the garage that we would prefer to not get wet. If your driveway slopes down towards the garage make sure you have proper drainage or even sandbags. Really. Are your windows secure or will they leak? Many people put in replacement windows that have not been tested. Also check any skylights to make sure they won't leak.

Examine your window glazing compound: The persistent hot, dry weather may have caused the glazing compound to shrink and pull away from the glass panes. Loosened panes can allow rain penetration. Check and re-caulk as needed.
Roof: you will not be able to get a roofing company to replace your roof, they are all booked for the next 3-6 months. But you may be able to get someone out for a "tune-up" or to at least arrange for some blue tarp if you are expecting leaks. If you do get any leaks call a remediation company immediately so as not to get any mold or at least mitigate the damage. If you have a flat roof, best to check for potential pooling.

Subterranean: Is any of your home below street level? Best to check that everything is waterproof and you get no intrusion. Loosen compacted soil: Ground that has been allowed to dry out will repel water initially. Tilling in compost and covering with mulch will enable the ground to better absorb rain.
Drainage: Do you have rain gutters Are they cleaned out? You want to make sure that all drainage flows away from your house and not towards it.
Make sure your yard drains properly. If you've substituted impervious hard-scape, rock and decomposed granite for lawn in the last few years, the drainage pattern in your yard may have changed. Water that used to percolate through spongy grass will now flow.

If ponding becomes a problem, consider increasing the percentage of your yard that can absorb rainwater. Changes to the landscape may also have changed your property's grading. Consulting an irrigation and drainage specialist can short-circuit any serious problems a heavy storm might cause.

Power: Lines may go down. Best to have ample battery backup, food, water, and other supplies.
Invest in a generator: If you are in a neighborhood susceptible to power outages, consider buying a portable generator or even a permanent standby generator that immediately kicks in if the power goes out.

Ants:  Do a preemptive strike on any potential ant invasion: If wet weather in the past has sent ants or other bugs scurrying into your house, now is the time to bring in an exterminator. And we just got done with the termite swarming in the heat!

Berms will be built, sandbags placed and precautions taken. Stay safe.

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