Buying a home is an exciting experience. You save up your downpayment, wade through thousands of listings, find and hire a buyer’s agent, search for the perfect home, make and offer, get accepted and take the plunge. Now, you’ve moved in, repainted walls, arranged furniture, hung window coverings and settled in for the fall season.
Except, you’ve never checked a furnace filter, dealt with a leaky faucet, cleaned gutters or mulched your trees. If you’ve never owned a home before, you may be unprepared for the realities of home ownership. Whether you are a new home owner or you have lived in your home for years, you need to be ready for lots of rainfall this winter. It’s a tough thing to imagine when the summer sun is shining and you’re making plans for the beach or the pool, but Californians should be planning for an onslaught of water that’s predicted to hit their homes this winter.
What to do?
With a strong El Niño predicted this year, remember the four elements: BE PREPARED!
Earth: Here in Southern California, keeping up with your yard is year-round. You do not have to “winterize” for snow, but be ready for large amounts of rain. Rake and properly dispose of leaves, have any trees that appear weakened by the drought inspected by an arborist. Inspect your foundation for cracks that may need professional repair.
Air: One of the most important elements in your home, air, can be a friend or an enemy. Seal windows and add weather-stripping to doors for leakage. Check the attic insulation for the appropriate depth for your region. Inspect your attic fans, gable vents and other air-flow methods for proper ventilation.
Winterize your AC. Remove or winterize your window air conditioners. Wash off the condenser housing of your central AC and remove any buildup of leaves, dust, insect nests, weeds or grass clippings. Have a professional check your central air-conditioning system for leaks.
Fire: Your HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) keeps your home comfortable in all temperatures, so take care of it well. Make sure filters are clean and free of damage. Have your furnace inspected by a certified HVAC technician. Check your ducts check for buildup and have the professionally cleaned if necessary.
Make sure the fireplace damper works correctly so that you can avoid losing warmth through the flue and check the chimney for debris from insects, birds or prior use.
Check smoke and gas detectors to make certain the batteries are new and the alarms work.
Water: This element causes hidden damage in homes and requires vigilance to keep from having massive problems and expensive repairs due to mildew, mold, rot and other water damages. Outdoors, inspect your gutters and downspouts for leaves and debris. Make sure the downspouts are directed away from your foundation. One of the most significant home maintenance jobs you can tackle now is the cleaning of your rain gutters, particularly making sure that water will flow freely through the downspouts. If the rain gutter system is clogged and a downspout isn’t working, the gutter can become heavily laden with water — 7.5 pounds per gallon. If you have a deep gutter of up to 7 inches, the weight will cause so much stress, the seams can crack or the gutters fall off completely.Have your roof inspected to make certain you don’t have potential leaks. This is particularly true after a major weather event such has hail or heavy wind. After it rains, take a walk around the outside and check the ground where the soil meets your house. You’re looking for spots that look soggy—an indication of pooling water. Use your finger to check for waterlogged areas.
Check your faucets for drips and your drains for leaks. Make sure pipes hidden in cupboards do not leak or create condensation. If you have condensation inside cabinets from water pipes you may need to install ventilation into the cabinets. Check toilets for leaking, running or flow problems and have them fixed immediately.
Consider flood insurance. Homeowners policies typically do not cover flood damage. Most flood policies require a 30-day waiting period.
Have an exit strategy
Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare, you may need seek shelter elsewhere. Plan ahead so you know which items you will want to take with you and which items you can leave.
Water is a powerful thing, When it wants to go, it’ll pretty much push through anything to get there.
Contact The Begley Team for any help and information. We want you and your home to be prepared.