El Nino is a weather cycle that occurs about every 2-7 years. The impact of El Nino will vary based on where you live, but Southern California typically experiences temperatures that are warmer than normal along with increased rainfall that can cause flooding, landslides and coastal erosion.
El Nino has struck the country countless times in the past, but the current 2015-2016 El Nino system is particularly harsh. Meteorologists had predicted that this system could be as strong as the worst El Nino systems in history – the 1997-1998 and 1982-1983 seasons. So far we have seen a very active system that has included devastating weather events in California – storms, heavy rainfall, flooding, and mudslides.
El Nino is a concern for all homeowners living in the Southern California region because it puts homes at risk of flooding and other weather-related disasters. To keep your family safe, follow these 6 tips for preparing your home for El Nino.
1. Clean Your Gutters
Gutters are meant to direct water away from your home, and when they aren’t working properly, they can move water toward your house instead, which can cause flooding, foundation problems, and rotting wood.
To clean your gutters, climb up a secure ladder and remove large debris then flush smaller debris out with the garden hose. When finished, do a final check to verify that the gutters are working properly.
2. Learn How to Turn Your Water Valve Off
Every home has a main shutoff valve that will shut off the water from your entire house. If a pipe bursts and water is flooding your home, knowing how to shut it off will help stop the water and, therefore, limit your damage.
In warm climates like California, the valve is typically found outside with the water meter. If you can’t locate it, ask a neighbor or call your water company. Practice shutting the valve off, including remembering how many times you must turn the valve to shut the water off completely.
3. Check for Leaks in the Supply Lines
When El Nino strikes, you want to make sure your water and lines are in good working condition because any issues could be worsened in a weather-related emergency.
There are several ways you can test your supply lines, including looking for dripping water or moisture, checking for water meter upticks when the supply is turned off, and performing the soap solution bubble test on gas lines. For best results, call a professional who will conduct a thorough leak check of all your supply lines.
4. Landscaping that Prevents Drainage Issues
Your landscaping impacts how your yard handles rain, with poor landscaping choices contributing to pooling water, flooding, and water that flows toward your house.
To assess your landscaping, check for depressions in your lawn as well as slope problems, which can be fixed by a landscaper. If you have issues, you can also have an outdoor drainage system installed.
5. Evidence of Rodents in the Attic
Rodents in the attic or crawlspace are problematic because they can take cover in your house during severe weather and chew holes in your water lines.
Signs of rodents include scratching or chewing notices, urine smell (which smells like ammonia), and physical evidence like droppings, debris, and chewed boxes. If you find evidence, get rid of rodents with traps, fumigation, or by calling a pest control specialist.
6. Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage
Finally, you’ll want to check your homeowner’s insurance in advance to understand your coverage. Most policies do not cover all cases of water damage (especially those originating from an outside source), so you’ll want to know what you are covered for and purchase extra insurance if needed.
These tips will help you prepare for the unpredictable weather of this year’s El Nino season – but you can’t eliminate your risk entirely. If you do experience flooding, water damage, or other weather-related issues, call New Life Restoration at (805) 619-5208 to get professional disaster cleanup and restoration.