Extreme weather is here to stay. How do you protect your house?
A couple of weeks ago, a massive storm rolled through our area and wreaked havoc. The Even Made team lives around the Chicago area, and it was slammed. It happens often in cities because everywhere you put an impermeable surface, like concrete or pavement, there’s nowhere for the water to absorb, and in the city itself, there’s not many places for it to go. The city of Chicago has made attempts to mitigate it, but as climate change gets worse, and these storms get more intense and frequent, it may not be the solution it would have been 10 years ago.
Another reason the impacts of these storms is so great is because the rain falls so heavily and so quickly, the earth can’t absorb it, especially if storms happen one after another and the ground is saturated with water. It has nowhere to go.
Except maybe your basement.
Ways to prepare your home
Many basements have sump pumps. I have a crawl space and not a basement, and it doesn’t have a sump pump. Before a storm is expected, if you have one, make sure it is working properly. If you live in a place where your power goes off a lot during storms, you may want to get a generator to power your sump pump during an outage.
French drains are also helpful, but if there’s too much water in the storm drain and sewer system, your drain will have nowhere to go, and water can back up into your basement.
In my opinion, because of the unpredictability of many storms these days, I always err on the side of preparation. Move precious mementos to higher ground. Clear out as much as you can in a finished basement. I’ve seen some people raise their belongings up on metal shelves so it’s not sitting on the ground.
What do you do if you flood?
Because of our blog post on triaging home issues, you know by now that water where you don’t want it = bad. It can cause wood to rot, there can be bacteria and nasty things in the water itself, and it’s gross dealing with soggy shit. Our crawl space was having some foundation issues, and water seeped up when the ground was really wet, so we bought a couple of small pumps to have on hand and a long hose to drain the water we pumped. Those have saved our stuff and our asses a bunch of times until we fixed our foundation.
First thing to do in your home: get the water out of there. Once it’s out, let the area dry as best you can. Check for mold, mud, waste, etc. We set up fans and had them running to dry things out, and since we have an unfinished space, we were able to treat for mold and other issues easily. If you have a finished space, you will need to pull out soft goods and dry or clean them, or throw them away. Once those are cleared out, you need to make sure the water has no lasting impact on your home. Look for rotted wood, as well as damaged paint and flooring. If you have appreciable damage, or sewage backflow, etc. I would recommend not fixing the problem yourself. I would call a company that specializes in emergency clean up or restoration.
This is all going to keep happening, unfortunately, but if you take a few steps to prepare, you can save yourself a lot of heartache when it does. Reach out to us with questions, and come to our homeowner helper class to see just how to handle some of those small home repairs.