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Rain, Rain, Go Away…

Tips to Help Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

With the crazy amount of rain we have seen this summer so far and more to come in the forecast,  I thought it would be helpful to pass along some suggestions that you can do to help prevent water damage from happening to your home.  Also as an FYI, most homeowners insurance policies cover basic water damage claims up to the purchased limit.  But you know what’s a lot easier than going through the claims process? Preventing the water damage in the first place!

Check out these suggestions for preventing water damage:

Be careful where you plant

Some plants and trees have pretty invasive roots. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.

Clean Out Roof Gutters

You know it’s on your to-do list anyway, so if you can, take a safe climb up to your roof (or call a professional if you rain gutters are too high) and check out your gutters. You want to make sure they are not blocked.   If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and whatnot up there, your gutters may not be doing the job you hired them for. And on a rainy day, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. That could cause some serious water damage! Gutter guards can go a long way to control debris and leaves from entering but they can still become blocked.  Run your garden hose through them to make sure they drain properly.  Set up a schedule at least two or three times a year to check your rain gutters, clean out any debris and repair any problems.

Extend Downspouts Away From Your Home

Extend your down spout pipes 10 to 20 feet past your foundation. Try to empty them on a part of your property that slopes away from your home.  You can extend your down spouts underground as long as the end of the pipe comes out somewhere. You must be able to see the end of your gutter pipe for it to completely drain out.  Run water from your garden hose through the underground extensions at least once a year to flush out leaves, rodent nests and other debris. Screens don’t work well on the end of underground gutter lines because they can trap leaves inside and become blocked up.

Identify Potential Surface Water Problems

Walk around the outside of your home after a storm to see where the surface water runs or collects.  Surface water should run around your home to a lower point where it will drain off and not cause problems. If water can’t seep below the ground to drain away, you’ll continue to have surface water problems.

An experienced landscaper can usually do some minor surface contouring to control your surface water. Sometimes a contoured shallow trench or swale can direct your water away without a great expense.

Set Your Dehumidifier To Run Automatically

Your dehumidifier should be set at the desired humidity level and left alone. When humidity levels rise, your dehumidifier will automatically turn on and lower the humidity.

If you have a collection pan that requires emptying periodically, you can get a drain hose attachment instead. Adding a drain hose is a minor investment, usually less than $10, and will ensure that your dehumidifier runs as often as necessary during more humid seasons. The water will simply run into a floor drain or sump pump. If you don’t have a floor drain or sump pump, then set yourself reminders to empty the collection pan.

Remember to Shut the Windows & Doors

It is always nice to open the windows or doors to let some fresh air in.  And it is common sense to close the windows and doors during a storm but a good practice is to always leave your basement windows closed.  Because your basement is below ground level, it will stay naturally cooler than the upstairs or air outside.  Warmer air shrinks as it enters the basement and causes a higher humidity level and condensation problems. The higher humidity and condensation are readily absorbed into everything porous, creating unpleasant and unhealthy odors.  Keeping your doors and windows closed will also save you money on electricity because your dehumidifier will run less.
So as we prepare for the next forecast of wet weather be sure to take the time to do these small tasks at your home so that you can feel secure in knowing you have done all you can to prevent water damage to your home…it will be time well spent!

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