During a storm, it may seem like there’s little we can do to prevent Mother Nature’s fury, but beforehand, there is a lot that can be done to stave off potentially disastrous water damage to your house, business, and
Water damage from rain can wreak havoc on homes and buildings, ripping through roofs, ruining siding, and causing catastrophic sump pump and drainage overflows. Repairs can be costly. Typical water damage can cost between $1,000 and $5,000 for a homeowner. But it goes up in cases like sewer backup, which can run as high as $20,000 (source: Fixr).
The effort involved in preventing water damage beforehand definitely beats the cost of repairing it afterwards. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Clear gutters. One of the first steps is to make sure all that water the storm is sending your way has someplace to go. Clear your gutters and scuppers of any clogs so there is a conduit for the rainwater on your roof to go someplace other than your house. In general, check for debris twice a year, but it can’t hurt to give them an extra once-over before a big storm. Do the same for any storm drains you have on your property.
2. Align and aim gutters. If your gutters have standing water, adjust the level so the water slides towards the downspout. Likewise, make sure the downspout endings are pointing away from your house and other buildings; otherwise, the water collected from your roof may just pool around your foundation, risking water damage and flooded basements.
3. Trim trees. Clearing the roof of any overhanging branches removes a potential source of debris from your gutters. It also prevents the roof from prematurely aging and leaking.
4. Check your roof. Your roof is your first line of defense for rainwater, so you need it to be as secure as possible. Check for missing or cracked shingles, which could let in rain. Also, seal loose flashing on the roof or at the chimney with caulk or waterproof tape.
5. Secure air conditioners. If improperly installed, an air conditioner window unit can let in a lot of rain. Make sure it’s sealed tightly with caulking and weather stripping. Tilting the air conditioner outward at a very slight angle also will help keep the water out (just about 2 degrees will suffice).
6. Avoid sump pump surprises. After a storm, few things are worse to clean up than a backed-up sump pump. Every three months, check the sump pump to make sure it is working properly. And, once a year, clean out any dirt, gravel, and debris. This will extend the life of the sump pump, avoiding damage to the foundation and basement.
Source: Adapted from Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Companies.