Is Your Home Ready for the Rains?

by Dan Krell

With spring’s arrival come blooming cherry blossoms and flowers, nesting birds, and the light yellow haze of pollen on your car. Additionally, springtime means there will be sustained rains and water saturated lawns. Is your home ready for the springtime showers? With regular maintenance and scheduled inspections, your home’s roof, gutters and downspouts, sump pump and windows will withstand the springtime showers (as well as year round rains and snow) and prevent your home from becoming a water hazard.

Obviously, a leaking roof can be problematic. However, with proper maintenance, you can prevent any major leaks; regular checks can determine the condition of the roof system including the shingles and flashing. Roof systems and materials vary from home to home and wear may vary. However, curling, lifting, broken and missing shingles as well as failing flashing should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent ice dams and water penetration through sheaving and membranes.

A common cause of outside water penetration into a basement is due to clogged gutters and downspouts. When gutters and downspouts become blocked, water is not efficiently carried away from the home. Instead the water pools around the home’s foundation. Debris on the roof can not only damage the roofing material, it will clog the gutters and downspouts and should be removed immediately. You should have the gutters cleaned and inspected at least twice a year to ensure proper function.

Water may also enter your home because of a failed sump pump. The purpose of the sump pump is to remove excess water from the home that has collected in the sump pit from excess drainage around the foundation. A sump pump has a typical life span of ten years, and because parts often need servicing it should be tested regularly. If your sump pump is connected to the home’s electric system, you might consider having a battery backup system to ensure the pump is operative when you need it the most.

Windows are often overlooked when there is a leaking problem. However, water can enter around windows and seep down the walls of your home. This can happen if windows are sealed or installed improperly. A visual inspection of the window exterior can determine if the caulking or sealant around the windows is cracked or missing and in need of repair.

If you find that water has infiltrated your home, call a professional immediately- waiting can make the damage more extensive. If it is safe to do so, you may want to remove your valuables from the water. You should refrain from using any electrical equipment in and around the water; don’t use your household vacuum to clear excess water, nor should you use electrical appliances while standing in the water.

Once the source of the water penetration has been repaired, your focus will be on water removal and cleanup. To ensure proper cleanup, you might consider one of the many professional cleanup and restoration services; proper cleanup can reduce incidences of mold and mildew that arise from water damage.

Regular inspection and maintenance can prevent water damage to your home. To prevent injury, it is recommended you hire a professional for inspections and repairs.

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of April 28, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dan Krell.