Did you know that September is water damage prevention month? No? Well, maybe that’s just a local thing in West Chester. Or maybe just a thing in my house!
With the temps still threatening to flirt with the 90-degree mark, it’s hard to believe that fall officially starts on Monday. However, it does, so I’m back with my annual reminder to prepare your house to help prevent water damage emergencies. As the weather cools in the next few weeks, here are the areas to focus on:
- clean your gutters and check to ensure your downspouts are positioned to move water away from your house
- clean any debris out of your sump pump pit and pour some water in to test it
- inspect your roof for any loose or missing shingles (hint: check on a windy day to look for any movement)
- check that attic roof vents are unobstructed, and your insulation is in place with no gaps
- replace any failing caulk (or gaps) around windows and doors
- set up a calendar reminder to either shut off older outdoor faucets or remove hoses and quick connect couplings from newer frost-proof sillcocks
- inspect the interior ceilings and walls for water stains
- look for damp spots on your carpet (after the next heavy rain)
- check your basement for signs of water infiltration (puddles after rain, wet boxes or drywall, etc.)
You can find details on the items above in last year’s post on avoiding common water damage restoration emergencies. And most importantly, note the caveat about safety. Before attempting any of these tasks, make sure you are comfortable that you can perform them safely. If need be, hire a professional.
As you scan the list, I suspect you’ll agree that the first task on the list is the worst project. Cleaning gutters is messy, involves being precariously perched on a ladder, and requires you to contort your body in ways that nature never intended for anyone over the age of 6.
Unfortunately, keeping your gutters clean is one of the most important actions you take. As the weather turns cooler, we will likely see storms, just like last October when we had warnings calling for near-record rainfall in West Chester. In a previous post on flooding, we discussed how an average storm deposits 600 to 2,800 gallons of water on your roof. If your gutters are clogged, you run the risk of water backing up under your shingles, similar to what happens with ice dams. The other issue is that if the water can’t drain, it will overrun the sides and spill down next to your foundation, which is exactly where you don’t want it. Once water builds up next to your foundation it will look for any crack or crevice into your basement.
For those that want to clean the gutters themselves, there are a variety of tools and gadgets that claim to make it easier. Some attach to a hose or even a pressure washer, using water to blow out gunk, while others are mechanical devices meant to scoop out debris.
I don’t have personal experience with any of these devices, so I reached out to a friend who has a penchant for DIY gadgets, and he said he has used one. He calls them his gutter salad tongs. The image on the right gives a good hint as to why he calls them that.
The concept is straightforward. The “tongs” screw onto an extendable pole, and you pull on a rope to close them. This allows you to stand on the ground and “grab” clumps of debris to clear the gutters.
I asked him how well they worked, and he said they were “better than nothing.” The upsides are you don’t need to work on a ladder, and there is less mess that ends up on you. The downsides are that you can’t really see what you are doing, it takes some strength and stamina to do long sections, and it can be hard to use around obstructions like gutter spikes.
These work for him since he doesn’t have many tall trees around his house, so his gutters tend to be fairly clear. With a two-story house, he isn’t a fan of climbing that high, so the “tongs” offer an easy solution to clear build-ups at the downspout. He said he probably would not recommend them for someone who has heavy debris all along their gutters unless they are looking for a great upper body workout. So, if you have a similar set-up around your house, a gadget like this might work. Otherwise, another option might be better.
The good news is that the rest of the items on the list are much easier and, as a whole, can help avoid some of the preventable issues. But, as we all know, sometimes we are hit with things we can’t avoid.
If you find yourself in need of water damage restoration services, please call us. With 35 years of water damage restoration experience, you can trust Extra Effort to work with your insurance company to return your home or business to its original state.
Questions? I am always available to answer your stain removal questions and concerns. Call us today at (513) 777-8770 to learn more about our carpet and upholstery cleaning services. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about this month’s cleaning special.
Elliott S. Fishman, Co-Owner
Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.
About Elliott S. Fishman
Elliott Fishman, along with his son Brian, is the owner and operator of Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc. We serve the residents and businesses of Greater Cincinnati to include West Chester, Mason, Maineville, Loveland, Wyoming, Fairfield, Indian Hill, Montgomery, Hyde Park and Anderson Township. Elliott started this company in 1984, based on the belief that it takes Extra Effort to make each job a success. The father/son team puts the extra time, extra care, and extra effort go into every task they undertake – no matter how large or small the job. Extra Effort’s quality equipment, trained technicians and safe products have made the company a top choice for residential and commercial carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, water damage / water extraction, fabric protection, odor control and spot removal.