If you live in the Northeast, Ohio Valley or Midwest, get ready. According to Accuweather, you will have several rounds of strong thunderstorms in June and July. Meanwhile, the Atlantic coast from Florida through the Carolinas faces an above-average hurricane season. As usual, Gulf Coast residents should prepare for summer tropical storms.
Heavy rain brings the threat of leaks and flooding. If your home sustains water damage from a storm, act immediately to minimize the impact. When there is significant damage, call a water cleanup and restoration company. They have the equipment and expertise to save your belongings, work with your homeowners’ insurance and handle mold remediation.
Essential Tips for Homeowners in High-Rainfall States
It’s easier to protect your home from heavy rain and flooding than it is to repair it. Here are steps you can take to ensure your home stays safe and dry.
Outside Your Home
Start by assessing your home’s exterior. Correct issues that allow leaks or standing water.
- Inspect the Roof: an annual roof inspection lets you find and repair holes or cracks before a heavy rain causes damage. Many homeowners choose to pick up supplemental home warranty coverage to help cover the costs in the event of a major roof repair.
- Check the Chimney: while you’re looking for cracks, examine the chimney.
- Clean the Gutters and Downspouts: this is not a fun chore, but it’s an important maintenance issue. Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause water to flow down the walls of your house or puddle at the foundation.
- Grade Your Lawn: if the land around your home tilts toward the house, rainwater will pool around your foundation. Use soil with clay and sand to regrade the lawn so that runoff flows toward the street. Some yards have low-lying areas that hold standing water when it rains. Consult a landscaping professional if you have wet spots that need a drainage system. Or for a natural approach, plant trees. Plant large shade trees, like silver maples, 20 feet away from the house. This prevents foundation cracks caused by roots.
- See if Drains Flow Properly: look at drains in outside stairwells and window wells to be sure they are draining properly.
Inside Your Home
While most of the ways to protect your home from heavy rain involve sealing the exterior, you’ll also need to waterproof your home from inside.
- Test the Sump Pump: when groundwater near your home reaches a certain level, the sump pump kicks on and pushes water outside and away from your home. Be sure you have a battery backup so that your pump will work during a power failure. Also inspect the discharge line, the pipe that leads from your home to the yard. Make sure the line is not obstructed and that water is pumped far enough from the house.
- Install a Backwater Valve: if your plumbing is linked to city water, a flood can cause sewer water to back up into your home. To prevent this, have a contractor install a backwater valve. All homes built after 1988 have this valve. If you are unsure whether your older home has one, have a plumber inspect your system.
- Check Window and Door seals: if the seals around your windows and doors are in poor condition, use caulk to make them water-tight. Keep wood trim painted to avoid wood rot.
- Seal the Basement: when foundation walls leak, you’ll see wet streaks along cracks and in corners. Apply a sealant to fill the cracks. If you determine that water is seeping in through the wall, use a masonry waterproofing product and apply it like paint.
When Water Damage Occurs
If you are in a high-rainfall state, severe storms can cause leaks or flooding despite your best efforts. Respond quickly to minimize damage to your home and belongings.
SERVPRO shares the following tips for a water damage emergency:
- Mop up or blot excess water
- Wipe down wood furniture
- Turn on the air conditioning to help things dry
- Protect furniture legs by putting aluminum foil or wood locks beneath them
- Hang up wet fabrics.
- Don’t leave magazines, throw rugs or anything else on wet carpet that could discolor it
- Avoid using household appliances
- For extensive damage, or if you suspect mold growth, call in a cleanup and restoration service as soon as you are aware of the damage.