As Southern California’s rainy season approaches it’s once again time to make sure you’re ready. But flooding from heavy rains shouldn’t be your only concern as you prepare your home. Any building leak, regardless of size, can cause serious water damage as well as mold and mildew. So here are our top tips on how to prepare.
If You Haven’t Before…
It’s a good idea to have a professional roof inspection every few years to head off problems before they’ve had time to grow. It can also be worthwhile to have a civil engineer, landscaper, or other specialist perform a flooding risk assessment. That would include making sure that the ground slopes downward away from your home for proper drainage during heavy rains, that there’s no erosion or unstable slopes, and that your combination of soil conditions and paving allow enough heavy rain to soak in.
From the Top Down
Rather than putting it off, get started while it’s still warm and comfortable.
A leaky roof can do a surprising amount of damage, so it pays to do your own inspection at least once a year. If you can get far enough away, a careful look through binoculars is a great approach. Otherwise, you’ll need to climb up onto the roof. Be careful not to do any damage yourself, and if your roof is steeply sloped play it safe and stick to professional inspections. Besides looking for missing, curled, and loose shingles it’s important to check for any sort of unsealed joint. That includes being on the lookout for damaged flashing around plumbing boots and satellite dish installations.
Don’t neglect the chore of cleaning out your gutters, including the downspouts. Their purpose is to keep water away from the wall and foundation. If they’re clogged and fill up water can leak underneath shingles, into eaves and the attic. While you’re at it check for any cracks or other damage to walls. A seemingly small crack in stucco can lead to a surprising amount of hidden water damage. Also, take a close look at all doors and windows. Is the joint between the frame and the wall properly sealed? Is the weather stripping in good condition?
You can also do a simple landscape inspection. Do slopes help drain water away, or allow it to pool near the house? If there are large puddles trenching is a good solution, at least temporarily. Are there any signs of erosion or earth movement? Also, remove all dead tree branches and trim back any that are close to the house.
Extra Tips: Don’t forget to check that any storage sheds are watertight. And with a storm approaching don’t count on the city to keep storm drains clear — make sure that nearby street drain grates are free of debris.
From the Inside Out
To prepare your home for the rainy season you also need to look for interior signs of leaks and water damage, especially around windows and doors. They include stains and other discoloration as well as peeling paint and mold. Go up into the attic with a good flashlight and look for darkened or otherwise discolored wood along with any signs of mold or rot.
Stay Ready, Stay Safe
Every home should have an emergency supply kit. Additionally, here are a few things you should take care of in advance of any major storms.
- Plan on how you would move electric cords and home electronics to “higher ground” in your home.
- Find out where you can go to get sandbags. They’re usually free from local government agencies during severe storm warnings. Work out how many you’ll need as a minimum to block all doors, including patio sliding doors.
- Sign up for automatic local emergency notifications.