According to meteorologists, we are heading into an El Niño year and quite an El Niño year at that. What does this mean for Southern California? Typically an El Niño year will bring heavy rainfall to areas that don’t normally see a lot of rain. What happens is a warm current develops in the central equatorial area of the pacific. This directly affects weather patterns all over the world. Typically on an El Niño year, areas like southern California, the Southwestern States, and Mexico; areas that are normally pretty dry, see an abundance of rain. Meanwhile, areas that a prone to heavy rainfall during the winter see cooler, drier weather conditions. Experts suggest that we are due for a huge El Niño this year, with the last significant El Niño occurring during the winter of 1997-1998.
Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for El Niño. If you are diligent in maintaining a standard maintenance checklist on your home during the fall and winter months, then you may want to take a couple of extra steps just to prepare your home for a wetter winter this year. Don’t wait until it is too late!
#1 Clean those gutters!
Before the rainy season sets in be sure to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned. Any obstructions can lead to major issues. The job of your gutters and downspouts is to deter water away from your home. Over time debris can collect that can mess with the function of your gutters. Inspect your gutters and downspouts to make sure they are in good condition, and make any necessary repairs.
#2 Check for leaks!
You don’t want to enter what is said to be the rainiest winter we have seen in a long time with a leaky roof. The recent dry spell combined with record high temperatures and cause wood to shrink leaving wooden structures like your roof vulnerable to leaks. Call your roofer and have him inspect your roof for any weak spots. Also, make sure your metal flashing is in good condition and free of debris so water is directed correctly to your gutters.
#3 Sump pump!
During heavy rainfall, even areas that have excellent drainage systems can get overwhelmed leading to flooding in below-grade spaces like basements and garages. If you already have a sump pump have it inspected to make sure it is in good working condition. If you don’t have a sump pump you may want to consider having one installed.
# 4 HVAC
It's always a good idea to have your HVAC unit inspected before wintertime. The last several southern California winters have been relatively mild, however with El Niño approaching we could be due for some cooler temperatures then we are used to. Have your HVAC inspected and repaired before you need it.
Be ready for heavy rains and stock up on supplies and emergency repair materials like sandbags and heavy plastic sheeting. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
#6 Make sure your house is well insulated
One of the biggest suckers of energy is a poorly insulated home. One way to ensure that no heat is escaping your home is to make sure all windows and door jams are cracked. Check the caulking and make repairs if needed. Also, inspect crawl spaces and attics for any exposed areas.
#7 Paint wood trim
The wooden trim around your home can be a culprit of leaks as old paint cracks over time. Re-paint the wood trim on your home to safeguard against leaks.
With heavy rains being caused by El Niño you don’t want to be caught off guard. Some other areas you want to consider before El Niño starts is your car. Make sure your breaks are in good working order, the tread on your tires is in good condition, and replace your windshield wipers because you are probably going to need them this year! Also consider purchasing flood insurance, as it is not usually included in standard policies and with a heavy onset of rain, comes unexpected flooding. Remember Courtesy Plumbing is here to help and we can help you prepare your home for El Niño!