Spring has sprung, and that old adage that says “April showers bring May flowers” is weighing heavily on some homeowners because we all know what this could really mean, water leaks. Most likely every home has had at least one brush with mother nature when it comes to water getting into places where it is not meant to be.
Weather can play a significant role in helping to create the conditions which lead to water damage, but in reality melting snow combined with spring rains can bring disastrous problems to any homeowner if we are not vigilant in keeping water problems at bay.
The excitement spring can bring soon turns to thoughts of protecting your home when water seems to be rising at every corner. I can not stress enough how easily damage occurs when unforeseen issues with gutters and foundations, plus other potential entry points for water cause costly damage to your home. Spring is a great time to check all the possible entry points for water damage potential. This list of the five most important leak sources in the home should be checked the before the spring rains begin inward to make the coming season enjoyable.
The first thing you need to check is that all your gutters and downspouts have survived the snow and ice damage that winter can bring. You do not always have to get up on the roof but should be able to take a ladder and look for debris clogging the downspouts and gutters. Make sure all the gutters are still intact and attached firmly to the wall. Check along each connection point and note any disconnected of broken sections in the downspouts. Fix or replace any broken pieces of gutter work or down spouts immediately as these can cause water to fall right where the foundations are. Include in this check any drain pipe extensions or tail pieces that should lead the downspout flow out and away from the house.
Second place to check is any flashing or seals around roof or wall penetrations like chimneys, wood and gas burning appliance vents, or secondary roof structures where they meet with the primary roof. There are times when ice damage causes these flashing pieces to separate from the brick work allowing rainwater to penetrate between the brick and the walls. If you are not familiar with this kind of work contact a roofing company in order to arrange repairs before the spring rains begin.
Third location that can cause flooding in any home with a below ground living area can be the basement windows and the wells that are typically installed around them. If the windows have been damaged by storms it is wise to have them replaced or repaired before the thaw and rain can cause further water damage to the home. also make sure any debris is cleared out of these window wells.
Fourth location that can cause a homeowner water problems is where any of the other things which penetrate the roof are. A few examples would be the vent pipe for your waste drain. The attic ventilation devices if you have them, including any cupola, ridge vent, or power attic vent system that may be up there. There are times when the last storm of the season whips through town with a fierce wind and the ridge vent can be torn away in sections, typically near the end of the roof ridge. This is a good time to look at your eave coverings as well. You may also consider an industrial hard water softener installations to make your water system modern and efficient.
Fifth area to check is your roof mounted dish system as wind and storms can cause the assembly to loosen over time which can lead to small leaks around the lag bolts that were put through the roofing to secure the mounting legs. These can often be removed one at a time re-caulked with clear silicone and reinstalled with the bolts snug but not so tight you strip the holes. If it seems really loose contact the company who provided the system and try to get them to repair it.
Finally look at the siding around your entire home especially on the higher walls at the corners where the prevailing winds tend to hit the house most frequently, for those us here in Northeast Ohio that is the northwest facing corner of your structure. If water can get around the siding in places then the walls behind that can become saturated and seepage can cause mold to grow.
If you take the time to perform these checks and repairs it could pay off immediately by allowing you more time to prepare for the things that you want to do instead of repairing your home after water damage occurs. Prevention is the simplest and cheapest method of heading off needless water damage to your home this spring.
Doing these tasks early will give you more time to get ready for planting your garden and for taking care of any other outdoor chores that your partner has lined up for you. Prevention will help ensure that you are not stuck working on fixing something that is not a lot of fun, and it will not hinder your preparations for golf season.