Water Water everywhere!!!
Do you feel like it has been an endless rainy season in what is notoriously a dry season? You would be right. We have some of the oldest records for weather in the country right here in Mass. Blue Hill records date back to the late 1800’s and as of November 26, 2018 we had achieved the wettest fall on record. With more rain on the way it is shaping up to be a wet one.
This rain can have a big impact on winter storm damage to homes and businesses. How can that be you ask? Here are just a few examples.
Freezing: Water is unlike any other element on the planet. It expands as it cools rather than shrink. This causes all sorts of problems. If you have a small leak in the home from all this rain that is out of sight. When the cold weather sets in it will freeze. Many times, this freezing will occur and cause a lot of damage. Since water expands as it freezes any area that is saturated will expand either allowing more water in or cracking any materials that is stuck inside of. Be it a roof, wood framing, corner of a home or foundation, etc..
So, what can you do: Have a trusted contractor walk around the house look into the attic, basement, crawlspace and work on detecting anything out of the normal. Any edges of your home that show signs of rot, or water damage, Check inside the attic for any damp or wet insulation. Look in the crawl space for any signs of water coming through the foundation. Damage to any flooring, place any insulation over pipes that may have fallen off. Clear out all the gutters so that nothing is blocking the down spouts either from the top or at the output on the bottom.
Saturated soil: Soil that is unnaturally wet for extended periods of time can have damaging effects on trees. Many times, the roots have a hard time holding onto the soil and in high wind events can cause the tree to topple over many onto a home or car. There is also the effect water has on the roots themselves. If the tree is not prone to doing well in significantly wet soil the roots can start to rot. This rot can happen in even a healthy-looking tree causing it too to fall over.
So, what can you do: Walk your property ideally with a tree care professional. Have any leaders removed. Trim any branches that seem precarious. Inspect the trees and roots for any thing that looks like it will not hold during a storm.
Water intrusion: All this water has to go somewhere many times it does not have the ability to run off or be absorbed by the ground at the same rate when frost starts to set it. This allows the water to travel further than it normally would. Meaning there could be flooding events in areas that there are not normally any. It may also travel for a distance then a cold snap will freeze it in place. This causes a crack in a foundation. Allowing the warm air from your home to get out thawing out the water. This water will travel into your home as it thaws if left unnoticed you will have a major problem on your hands
As we continue to see rivers rise during a time of year that they normally slow to a trickle we have to be worried about what will happen. In the spring when all the snow melt, and runoff drains into already overloaded springs, streams, and rivers. We will see a lot more flooding events and now is the time to prepare.
So, what can you do: You can learn where your existing flood zones for your area are. See if you are downhill from any streams, rivers, ponds really any bodies of water. Follow the link below if you are not sure. https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search
It is a great time to look at your insurance policies. Make sure you have flood coverage. This will not be tied to the regular home owner’s insurance you have. It is a separate policy. Look it over, make sure you have both home coverage as well as contents. If you are not in a flood zone that is the best time to get flood insurance, it is much more cost effective. It can also protect you should the zoning change during a reevaluation time.
As our climate changes, storms become more intense and the extreme weather. It is important to know that those hundred-year storms events will be more like 3-year storm events if not more frequent than that. Knowing what water can do the soil, trees, and your home is key. Being prepared is more important than ever. Finding water damage before it becomes a major problem is going to help you keep things under control. Developing good home inspection habits will help avoid costly repairs later.