This is the time of year when typically we see a lot of rain. So regardless of how much it has or hasn’t rained recently, we know more water is headed our way!
That means it’s time to prepare ourselves and our homes for the coming wet and cold and to start truly putting our house in order.
BE COMMUNITY MINDED
There’s always some natural disaster or another this time of year in our nation or the world. There’s nothing like a large disaster to remind us all that we need each other. And society works so much smoother when we keep “the other guy” in mind all the time — not just during disasters.
One good example of being mindful is when we take a turn at cleaning out the fallen leaves and debris from the sewer grates along the street in front of our house or neighborhood. This will help prevent the sewer grates from becoming blocked, water building up, creating puddles that can make driving treacherous, street parking annoying and the possibility of unnecessary flooding … well imminent.
The city crews can’t possible get to all the grates on all the streets every day — especially during all the coming downpours. So, if each of us can keep an eye out for those street drains near our house — and keep a rake handy to clear them — it’s just one of those ways we can take a few minutes to help ourselves and keep our city crews on the bigger issues.
GET LEAVES OUT OF GUTTERS
A couple of weeks ago we reminded you it was a good time to clean out your gutters. Frankly, even if you did it then, you may have to do it again and again – the leaves they are a falling but we’ll be done soon enough.
So, like before, start by cleaning out any debris you find in your gutters and downspouts, plugging any joint leaks you find with the proper waterproof sealant.
As you know, it’s your gutters and downspouts that convey the rain to the ground. They help prevent water damage to the windows, doors, siding and trim of your house. But they can’t do their job properly when they’re damaged, leaking, missing or blocked with leaves.
If you have trees hanging over your house, you may want to prune them back. However, rollout leaf screens are cheap and effectively prevent clogging. But, they aren’t that great for keeping out needles. (A scoop of a hand or trowel works okay and a blower works great. Use a ladder with a “stand-off” to safely do this chore.)
In addition to cleaning out the leaves, you may want to place splash blocks or pipe extensions at each downspout. They help convey the rainwater well away from your foundation or basement.
They should be at least two feet from the foundation, but 10 feet (a pipe length) away is better.
And, if you haven’t done it yet – and you find a dry day to accomplish it – cutting the vegetation back from your house is another precaution to avoid mold and mildew which can gnaw away at the integrity of your home.
A FEW MORE JOBS
If you want more things to do to prep your house for cold and wet, here are a few:
· Clean out any driveway drain boxes and make sure they drain properly.
· Protect under-house or exposed water pipes with pipe sleeves or insulation.
· Check the dryer’s flapper vent and screen for lint build-up. Does the flapper door work? This is a point of entry for critters.
· Change the oil and fuel in your generator and test it. Get fresh fuel and fuel saver.
· Fill your propane bottles for emergency cooking on the BBQ.
· Check all your outside lights.
· Put away all the yard furniture, ladders and anything that can blow away or be ruined by wind and rain.
· Make sure you have an emergency kit put together and in an easy-to-get-to spot in case of flood, wind storm, earthquake or other disaster. Taking time to do so now, can bring you peace of mind.
Wind storms are also on the way, dropping trees over power lines and leaving many of us in the dark. Many folks have purchased a generator for such times, although most of us haven’t had to use it since Dec. 2, 2007. That because our line crews at the PUD have done a great job identifying and removing most of the worst hazards to the system, but there will be more.
We will talk about generators in the future, but for now a tip: keep your backup cans of fuel fresh by cycling it through your car after a month of storage and keep your cars filled as a secondary fuel source.
As Wilson would say, “Go Seahawks”
Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is the executive director. This is a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for all residents of Grays Harbor County.
Do you have questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Call us at 533-7828, write us or visit us at 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen