In like a lion, out like a…lion? Sometimes March leaves on a gale instead of a breeze, along with rain, lightning, hail, spring flooding and tornadoes. Unpredictable, extreme spring weather and water events can leave behind a trail of destruction with flooded property, damaged roofs, broken windows and downed trees.
What can you do to prepare your property to prevent spring storm damage?
Clean gutters, drains and downspouts.
Even if you cleaned your gutters in the fall – and especially if you didn’t – get up and make sure that the winter storm events haven’t created blockages that will back up roof drainage. Be sure to check for any damage caused by ice and snow, and that downspouts and connections are secure.
Inspect your building siding and roof for damage. Water damage from leaking roofs can cause a lot of costly damage in a building and become a breeding ground for dangerous mold. Wind-driven water can work its way under loose or missing shingles, cracked or peeling caulk, and even chipped or peeling paint. You might have to call in a roofing professional to do a thorough inspection if your roof is older or if you have experienced a particularly stormy winter.
Make sure your sump pump is working.
If you have one, test your sump to make sure it’s fully operational, and get yourself a battery backup if your area is prone to power outages.
Check trees around the property for damage.
It’s time to get outside and take a good look at trees on and around your property that may have been damaged over the winter. Look closely at any within “falling” distance of any structures and utility lines. If you see any not on your property that might pose a danger to power or utility lines, call the service company. They’ll send someone out to take down potentially hazardous branches or trees.
Look out for loose wires or damaged utility poles.
Utility companies can’t keep track of all of their poles and wires, but they don’t want them coming down any more than you do. If you see anything that looks questionable, call the company to address the problem before you wind up needing property damage repair.
Keep an eye out for signs of animal infestation.
Over the winter wild animals may have invited themselves to stay in your warm cozy property. Look for any signs of squirrels, mice, raccoons, birds and bats: Entry holes near eaves or close to ground, drilling sites by birds or insects, chew marks on wood or wiring, or shredded building materials around the foundation. Check your attic and crawl spaces for animal droppings. If you think you see evidence of a pest, call in a qualified pest control expert to take care of safe removal and infestation remediation and decontamination.
Examine your foundation and walkways for cracks.
Winter’s freeze/thaw cycles can wreak havoc on concrete. This can cause costly leaks or potentially dangerous structural damage in foundations, or leave walkways and steps with hazardous cracks.
Secure outdoor furniture and fixtures.
Spring storms can be notoriously strong when warming winds meet lingering cold. Make sure that you don’t have items outside that can become projectiles in high winds. And while you’re at it, take down the holiday lights, please.
A little prevention will go a long way, saving significant money, time and trouble.