This year, May and June started out cool and dry—actually too dry at times, bordering on a drought.
Once the warm weather did arrive, it brought with it a good deal of rain. With all the reports of flooding and water damage to homes and properties, it is a good idea to be prepared and know what to look out for after a heavy rainfall.
Here are some ideas to help you prevent your home and property from becoming a soggy mess.
Keep your dehumidifier running: If you don’t have one, consider buying one or two depending on the size of your home. Place the dehumidifier in areas that are damp, such as basements and bathrooms.
July and August tend to be very humid months with lots of moist days. Humidity allows mold and mildew to flourish, causing respiratory problems. A dehumidifier can help dry the air, preventing spores from growing and spreading.
Maintain your dehumidifier by washing the basin out and drying off the coils at least once a week.
Ventilate basements and attics: Add portable fans to a damp basement to supplement your dehumidifier. This will keep the air moving and prevent the air from becoming damp and stale, which leads to mold and mildew.
Open basement windows if you can; fresh air will allow the area to “breathe.”
If you have an attic, keep the windows open at night and install an attic fan, or place portable fans on each side of the room. Since hot air rises, opening the windows and moving the air around will keep the attic cool and prevent the house from heating up. This will also save on the cost of running your air conditioners.
If you have an attic crawlspace, consider installing vents to the outside on each end of the house to create a natural air current.
Check basements, bathrooms, closets and any damp, dark or poorly ventilated areas for signs of mold and mildew.
Clean and dry areas prone to dampness, such as those around your air conditioner, washing machine, shower stalls and shower curtains.
Know your mold: Although mold and mildew are often spoken of as if they were the same substance, mildew refers to specific types of fungus. Molds include all species of microscopic fungi. Mold and mildew are both fungi and can cause similar allergic reactions; however, mildew is easier to clean with a mold fungicide or liquid chlorine. It’s not as invasive, and therefore it’s not as dangerous or insidious as mold.
If you see mold in your home (green, red or black spots; the spots can sometimes be fuzzy) consider calling in a professional to do the removal.
Safety first: Do a safety check after a summer storm. Thunderstorms can cause major damage to your home. Check the electric and telephone wires to make sure they are clear of any tree branches.
Do not attempt to remove branches from live wires; call the utility company and report any debris.
Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks, turn off the electricity at the main circuit breaker. Also check the property for branches that might have fallen on roofs or pathways.
Look for broken windows and check foundations for water damage.
Do an inspection: Check walls and roofs for mildew and moss. If you find some, wash the area with a bleach-and-water solution. If you can’t get to the roof, call a professional.
Also look at your gutters for any blockage or debris after any major rainstorm.
Check the property for any accumulation of water. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes—dig trenches around these areas to allow water to drain downward towards a drainage area.
Consider buying a mosquito-proof rain barrel to collect water—this will come in handy during any dry/drought periods.
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